The banking sector should be reformed so that retail banking activities such as taking deposits, operating bank accounts and granting loans, are separated from riskier activities such as trading with financial instruments and derivatives. That is the message of a report adopted by the EP's economic committee on 18 June. We spoke to Arlene McCarthy, a British member of the S&D group who wrote the report, about why an overhaul of the banking sector is needed.
How can the EU overcome the crisis and boost employment? Today at 16.30 CET the EP's economic and employment committees will discuss the suggestions for reforms the European Commission has made to member states with economic commissioner Olli Rehn and employment commissioner László Andor. The Commission adopted its annual set of country specific recommendations on 29 May, with guidance on issues such as taxes, budgetary cuts, pensions, youth unemployment and investment.
The economic crisis has exposed the fault lines that threaten the functioning of the euro area. Without a closer coordination of fiscal policies of its members and common bank supervision, the existence of the monetary union is at risk, experts warn. The Parliament agrees. That is why MEPs are focusing on legislation that should propel the euro zone towards a true economic and monetary union.
New EU rules on how public authorities use private suppliers to run public services will not automatically lead to privatisation nor will they tell governments how public services should be provided or financed, according to Philippe Juvin. The French member of the EPP group is responsible for steering the new legislation through Parliament and leading informal negotiations on it with the Council. We talked to the MEP about the how and why of the new rules.
From closing banks abetting tax evasion to compiling a blacklist of tax havens, the EP means business when it comes to tackling tax fraud. MEPs have called on member states to step up their fight against tax evasion. We discussed the benefits and challenges of action with Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz and Mojca Kleva Kekuš, who each wrote a report on the strategy to follow.
Concrete actions and not words are urgently needed to fight tax evasion and upgrade the EU's energy infrastructure, representatives from the EP's political groups said during a debate on Tuesday 21 May. They spoke out ahead of Wednesday's European Council, however many group leaders were sceptical about how committed EU leaders were to tackling taxation and energy issues.
Deposits under €100,000 should not be used to prop up failing banks, according to a report adopted by the economic committee on 20 May. Instead, shareholders should bear the losses, followed by bondholders and only as a last resort large depositors. The report is a reaction to a proposal by the European Commission on how to support struggling banks, which also sets out strict rules for using tax payers' money.
When Cyprus applied for financial help from the EU in a bid to sort out its tottering banks, nobody really expected that depositors would be required to share the cost of the bail-out. But that is what happened. The storm of protest that followed was also felt in the European parliament. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, European commissioner Olli Rehn and ECB board member Jörg Asmussen will explain to MEPs what happened exactly . Follow the debates live.
Cyprus, crisis and austerity - there was no shortage of topics to discuss when Sharon Bowles, chair of the EP's economic committee, took part in a chat with our Facebook fans on Tuesday 23 April. The British member of the ALDE group fielded many questions about the EU's economic policy, including how the Cyprus bailout had been handled. Ms Bowles said she worried about the precedent it sets for other small countries, which is why better rules and better oversight are needed
Parliament should be fully involved with deliberations concerning the monitoring of member states' economic performance, MEPs said in a debate on 18 April. They hit out at the European Commission for not consulting the Parliament properly when it modified in late 2012 the diagnostic tool it uses. MEPs stressed the analysis of macroeconomic imbalances is important as it feeds into policy decisions affecting people's lives.