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The European Parliament is a major agenda-setter in the area of European policy and the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) plays a key role in the work of the Parliament. It has responsibility for such matters as the economic and monetary policies of the EU, taxation and competition policies, free movement of capital and the regulation of financial services (banks, insurance, pension funds, asset/fund management, accounting, international monetary and financial systems etc.). Moreover, as the great majority of Parliament's work is done at Committee level, it is ECON that does most Parliamentary work on these key economic and monetary policy areas. This puts ECON at the centre of the Parliament's work on the current economic and financial crisis and gives ECON significant influence on the policy agenda in the EU and internationally.
As regards the monetary policies of the Union and the functioning of EMU and the European monetary system, the accountability of the ECB vis-à-vis the Parliament plays a key role, as it acts as an important counterbalance to the central bank's independence.
ECON plays a key role in making EU law, because the Parliament is, together with the Council, the EU's co-legislator in most EU policy areas. EU law often determines the national laws and regulations in Member States, especially in financial services and, after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, in the area of EU economic governance. This allows an ECON Members to shape EU law in these important areas of EU policy.