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

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

18th European Forum on Eco-innovation live from Barcelona: What’s next for eco-labelling?

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

Brexit uncertainty keeps shaking the world’s financial markets

More capital and liquidity for the banks

Yes, together we can make a change! YO!Fest and EYE 2016

Legal Manager – 2050

Yanis Varoufakis in a Sting Exclusive: “Unsustainable debt turns the creditor into Leviathan; Life under it is becoming nasty, brutish and short”

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Employment contracts today are a reducing share of the workforce”, scientists worry in Davos that the 4th industrial revolution threatens employment globally

De Gucht: More gaffes with the talks on the EU-US free trade agreement

Can ECB’s €60 billion a month save Eurozone?

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

European Court of Justice to Google: It is #righttobeforgotten but not #righttoberemembered

IMF: European banks do not perform their duty to real economy

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to embrace unlicensed bands and Wi-Fi

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

TTIP’s 11th round major takeaways and the usual “leaked” document

Appreciation of euro to continue

Germany loves a strong euro; the new Fiscal Councils can deliver despite the Greek chaos and a wider questioning of austerity

Junker for Commission President: What were the stakes in this affair

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Rehn ready to sacrifice part of the real economy

Trump’s Russophiles under investigation, Europe remains ‘en garde’

UN Human Rights Council resolution on youth and human rights: a step forward for youth rights

European Youth Forum welcomes establishment of new Youth Intergroup in the European Parliament

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

Is Eurozone heading for disinflation?

Migration crisis, a human crisis after all

Rehn very reserved about growth in Eurozone

Germany fears that Americans and Russians want to partition Europe again

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

Facebook and Google to treat Europe as the 51st State of the USA

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile has power to tame transaction fees – PayPal CEO

Who cares about the unity of Ukraine?

Medical Doctors in Industry 4.0: pure science fiction

MWC 2016 LIVE: Orange targets VoLTE and Voice over Wi-Fi; strikes Google partnership

What does Tsipras have to offer to the rest of Europe? Is it worth an early advance of €10 billion? Berlin sturdily denies it

EU-US relations on the dawn of the Trump era

iSting: Change Europe with your Writing

Who is to pay the dearest price in a global slowdown?

The EU accuses Russia of bullying Ukraine to change sides

The impact of refugees on the European healthcare system

EU is officially in recession

Commission criticised member states on blocking financial transaction tax

South Sudan’s foreseen genocide: from “Never Again” to “Again and Again and Again”?

EU Summit: Why was Poland isolated in opposing Tusk and the ‘multi speed’ Europe

A European young student speaks about the Youth Policies of the European Commission

Tackling Youth Unemployment

The Next Web 2014, the biggest European conference on Internet so far and the Absence of Brussels from Amsterdam

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