The President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Henri Malosse, has written to all Heads of State in the run-up to the European Council on 25 June urging them to address the lack of democratic legitimacy and to improve the institutional and political set-up of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
The EESC President's letter puts forward the Committee's Opinion on the political pillar of EMU as a contribution to the forthcoming debate at the European Council on the so-called "Five presidents' report on better economic governance in the euro area" expected later this month. Faced with a fragile and incomplete EMU and the resulting degree of economic uncertainty, the Committee urges the Council to foster sound democratic governance and put in place the necessary institutional instruments to build a solid political framework for the Eurozone and, thus, ensure a stable investment climate and long-term economic progress in the EU as a whole.
The EESC opinion, adopted at the end of May, points out that economic governance in the EU is currently dominated by intergovernmental decision-making and technocratic structures, which leads to lack of democratic legitimacy, accountability, transparency and ownership of the process. To address this, the EESC has put forward simple and clear recommendations - to guarantee parliamentary oversight on EMU matters, both at national and EU level; to establish progressively an EMU executive combining the current Council and Commission powers and featuring a full-time Eurogroup president; and to move away from paralysing unanimous voting. Some of these measures can be implemented immediately under the existing Treaties, while others could be achieved by a more extensive use of the enhanced cooperation procedure, also provided for in the current Treaties. In the long run, however, a Treaty reform would be required, warns the Committee.
The EESC can play a very supportive role in this process - the social partners and civil society organisations should be consulted and involved in the discussions as they are important actors in the different sectors of the economy that are directly affected by EMU decision-making. The EESC can actively facilitate civil society participation and help build a more effective economic governance structure for the euro area and the whole EU.
The rapporteurs for the EESC opinion, Joost van Iersel (President of the ECO section, Employers' Group) and Carmelo Cedrone (Workers' Group), have already set out the EESC's recommendations to the key EU players in this area, meeting notably with European Commissioners Katainen, Dombrovskis and Moscovici, the President of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Vice-President of the ECB Vítor Constâncio, the President of the ECON Committee Roberto Gualtieri and other Members of the European Parliament, as well as representatives of Member States.
Speaking at the EESC plenary in May, Joost van Iersel said that "it has become clear that sustainable outcomes cannot be achieved by intergovernmental decision-making alone. More political integration of the Eurozone is needed". Carmelo Cedrone warned that "we have built a house whose roof is missing: the time is ripe to complete the EMU with a much-needed political structure. The future of the EU as a global player is at stake" and urged all political decision-makers to take swift action.
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EESC Press Unit
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