As the working group drafting the “international agreement on a reinforced economic union” reconvened on 6 January, European Parliament representatives Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT) and Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) stressed in their amendments that all decisions must be based on normal EU procedure in order to ensure democratic accountability and Parliament’s legislative role are respected.
They also called for a roadmap with a view to introducing eurobonds.
The European Parliament representatives’ proposed changes to the draft agreement aim at reinforcing the ‘debt brake’. They called on Member States to establish a national debt reduction fund and to adopt a roadmap towards creating the conditions that will allow them to issue part of their sovereign debt in common, with joint and several liabilities.
A “sustainable framework” is needed for the possible introduction of stability bonds, with the aim of enhancing economic governance and economic growth in the euro area, said the MEPs.
According to Elmar Brok (EPP, DE), “The new draft took on board a number of Parliament’s points, especially those re-enforcing the role of the EU institutions, and the request to transfer the substance of the agreement into the EU Treaties within five years at latest has been accepted as well. We still need insurances that no new institutions will be created, and that all measures will be taken by Community legislation according to the rules laid down in the EU Treaties.”
Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT) said, “The European Parliament insists that stability cannot be achieved without solidarity and growth. The proposed agreement must not be at the expense of much-needed public investment. We have added new Articles on the creation of a national debt redemption fund and the introduction of project bonds and a Financial Transactions Tax, all of which would give a huge boost to the budgets and economies of EU Member States”.
That view was reinforced by Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE), who added that “It is essential that the new treaty is fully compatible with the existing Treaty and with existing EU law. It must also fully use the community method including when it comes to full parliamentary scrutiny and democratic accountability. Anything less will make it impossible for the Parliament to agree with the new treaty.”
The three MEPs also have serious doubts as regards the provisions enabling Member States to bring each other before the Court of Justice when failing to comply with budgetary discipline. They question the compatibility of this article with the EU treaties and its proper functioning and will ask for further clarification.
Finally, the EP representatives insisted that the agreement enters into force after ratification by four fifths of the Eurozone members and that its provisions are brought within the framework of EU law as rapidly as possible. Member States shall propose to amend EU treaties to include the agreement within five years of it entering into force. After seven years the agreement will automatically expire.