A new crop of EU ‘Boards’ override the democratic accountability and undermine the EU project

In its plenary session of 16-17 September 2015, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) discussed the burning questions of the democratic function and the accountability of the EU decision-making bodies. (EESC Audiovisual Services).

In its plenary session of 16-17 September 2015, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) discussed the burning questions of the democratic function and the accountability of the EU decision-making bodies. (EESC Audiovisual Services).

Last Wednesday 16 September the European Economic and Social Committee, an authentic representative of the European organized civil society, adopted an opinion aimed at improving the democratic function and the accountability of the EU decision-making bodies. The EESC acted at the request of the European Parliament. Actually, the Lisbon Treaty contains untapped potential to bring “positive changes to bridge the gap between the EU and its citizens”. The existing Treaties provide untapped opportunities and the EESC notes that they “could be grasped to improve policies and strengthen the EU both internally and externally. Whether exploring deeper policy action or improving implementation, there is a wealth of policy areas and technical instruments which could be tapped”.

In its opinion adopted at the plenary session, the EESC also stressed that democracy and accountability are fundamental to European citizenship and that this dimension of the Lisbon Treaty must be fully and systematically implemented. The EESC underlines that “in future it will be necessary (i) to extend the competences of the European Parliament, for instance through an increased role in European economic governance and the European Semester, and (ii) to put in place a more balanced share of responsibilities and inter-institutional cooperation between the institutions with a view to consolidate the community method”. The EESC reference to the ‘community method’ is a clear hint to what happened in the enactment of the European Banking Union, which has been structured by a multinational agreement only remotely connected with the EU institutions. Let’s dig into that.

New un-European bodies

There is a fresh crop of EU institutions like the Single Resolution Board, the key decision-making body of the European Banking Union. Along those lines the latest arrival is the Advisory Fiscal Board, just proposed by the Commission. This new Board will dictate economic policy to member states. Invariably, all those novel bodies lack any democratic legitimacy and accountability. This is an old story in the workings of the European Union with the notorious ‘democratic deficit’, which was only partially covered by the amplified powers of the European Parliament under the Treaty of Lisbon.

Unfortunately, this gap has started to widen again with the European Monetary Union and more precisely with the European Banking Union. In the context of the Banking Union, the European Central Bank has hosted the Single Supervisory Mechanism under its roof which oversees the euro area banks. This mechanism works as a complete autonomous structure accountable to practically no EU democratic institution. In fact, the entire infrastructure on which the European Banking Union is based has been constructed outside the normal working procedures of the Union, by default banning the implication of the European Parliament. The heads of those new bodies appear before the legislators only to get a benediction while being appointed.

The European Parliament reacts

Those developments have sounded the alarms to the democratic EU bodies which are the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee, which authentically represent the peoples of the European Union. The question of democratic legitimacy and accountability has been posed very loudly since the EU created the euro and the euro area under the historic project of the Economic and Monetary Union.

This edifice proved completely incapable to make sure that the EMU can also promote the economic and social cohesion of the participating member states. The cases of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Cyprus proved that beyond reasonable doubt. The EMU decisively secured the recapitalization of negligent banks in those countries and also saved the imprudent lenders in Germany and France. However, it completely failed to protect the taxpayers and the entire society from the harsh consequences of this exercise.

More unaccountables

The creation of more unaccountable institutions is now bound to widen with the latest Fiscal Councils. The European Sting noted this last week in a statement by the Commission Vice President, Valdis Dombrovskis, after the ECOFIN council. He proposed to “set up an Advisory Fiscal Board which would coordinate the work of National Fiscal Councils and also, as the Minister has outlined, the more effective use of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure”.

It is exactly the same method used to enact the Banking Union, namely by drawing up international agreements ratified directly by the member states bypassing the EU structures. Obviously, the Advisory Fiscal Board will also be created outside the ‘acquis communautaire’ (EU legislation) and its executives will be accountable only to their national governments, swiftly bypassing the European Parliament and the Commission. It should be underlined that, today the Commission is the competent body to check the macroeconomic imbalances of the 28 EU member states. This arrangement will change with the advent of the Fiscal Councils. It seems that the Commission is not any more to the liking of Germany. Incidentally, Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Federal Minister for Finance has just proposed that the fiscal deficit controls be bestowed to a private auditing firm, immune to ‘political influence’ and…obeying only to Berlin.

The legislators oppose that

That’s why the European Parliament asked the EESC to find ways and means to improve democracy and accountability in the workings of the EU’s ‘Economic Governance’ and the EMU. On 18 September the EESC responded with a document entitled “Participatory democracy to the rescue of the EU project “. The very title reveals the EESC’s fears that the EU plan is now in real danger. To save it the Committee demands to reinforce “the Eurozone’s (proper) governing structures and completing Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) will speed up real European economic governance and ensure deeper integration. This should be based on four pillars: a monetary and financial pillar, an economic pillar, a social pillar and a political pillar”.

If the different ‘Boards’ continue unaccountable to the EU political pillar, which is the European Parliament and go on neglecting the social factors, the EU will end up as one more international organization. The real job will be done by those ‘Boards’ outside the EU structures as being directly controlled by the member states, of course under the watchful eye of Berlin.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

European Business Summit 2014: The role of youth entrepreneurship education in EU’s Strategy for Competitiveness

What options the new President of Ukraine has?

From Grexit to Brexit: UK industry now says the in/out referendum is good for your health

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

Draghi rehabs ECB into a tool to support growth and employment; a departure from Teutonic orthodoxy

The US bugged Europe: Is this news?

MasterCard at European Business Summit 2015: A focus on innovation will drive inclusive economic growth for Europe

Commission deepens criticism on German economic policies

Why lay people don’t expect anything good from G20

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

A Sting Exclusive: “Doing ourselves a favour”, Vice President Dombrovskis underscores that this time growth has to come from within the EU

EntEx Organises 5 Summer Schools for Young Entrepreneurs across Europe in June/July 2014

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Pharmaceuticals conceal drug side effects with the EU’s Court blessing

No better year for the EU’s weak chain links

Eurozone needs more than some decimals of growth

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

G20 LIVE: “International communities and leaders have great expectations for 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou China”, Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s special envoy stresses live from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Ukraine undecided over a strategic partnership with the EU

China-EU Special Report: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang endorses China’s big investment on Juncker’s plan at 10th China-EU Business Summit

EU to negotiate an FTA with Japan

A critical European young voice on Net Neutrality: the distance between Brussels and Washington

TTIP’s 11th round starts in Miami but EU-US businesses see no sunny side

The ECB again takes care of the bankers not the people

Commission’s feeble response to financial benchmarks fraud

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

Towards the Rise of the United States of the Atlantic?

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

The EU Commission lets money market funds continue the unholy game of banks

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

Greece’s last Eurogroup or the beginning of a new solid European Union?

Financial Transaction Tax: More money for future bank bailouts?

How much more political is the new EU leadership? Does this include personal bend?

COP21 Breaking News_07 December: “Remove Roadblocks to Climate Action”

Eurozone: Inflation plunge to 0.4% in July may trigger cataclysmic developments

“C’est la vie”? French recession and unemployment to linger in Eurozone

China Unlimited Special Report: The trip to China

May a parody constitute a copyright infringement? European Court of Justice to give the answer

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “It is the implementation, Stupid!”, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble points the finger to Greece from Davos

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate Change needs to be demystified”, Anneli Jättenmäki Vice President of European Parliament underscores from Brussels

MWC 2016 LIVE: Getty chief says one in four new images from phones

The EU pretends not knowing what happens in the Western Balkans

Austerity lovers and ‘relaxationists’ fight over the EU budget

Although Greece is struggling to pay salaries and pensions Varoufakis is “optimistic”; the Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Why the merchant ships can pollute the atmosphere with CO2 quite freely

Do the EU policies on agro-food smell?

An EU Summit without purpose

EU seeks foreign support on 5G from Mobile World Congress 2015 as the “digital gold rush” begins

On Human Rights Day European Youth Forum calls for end to discrimination of young people

Greece may offer to China a European gateway

Court of Auditors: EU spending infested with errors well above the materiality threshold of 2%

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Summer JADE Meeting 2015: We came curious, we left inspired

The Parliament sets the way for the European Banking Union

ECB is about to lend trillions to banks

A Sting Exclusive: why the environment is important to your health, by UNEP’s Head for Europe

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

“If they think they can slave an entire nation, then they will just have the opposite results!”, Alexis Tsipras cries out from the Greek parliament

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s