A new balance must be struck in the EU between joint and individual responsibility for better economic governance, said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Tuesday. The EP and national parliaments both have a crucial role to play in legitimising future governance structures, he stressed, adding that a lack of legitimacy had been a flaw in the old stability and growth pact. The Euro Pact would fail if left to the heads of state, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker later said.
Speaking at the start of an EP - national parliaments meeting on economic governance proposals, Mr Van Rompuy stood by the actions taken to date to shore up the Eurozone, saying that financial markets had reacted "disproportionately" and that EU Member States needed to be given time to adjust.
"The Euro Pact will be a failure if we just leave it in the hands of heads of state. We need to have Commission, EP, national parliaments, and different Council bodies at its heart", Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said.
EU legislation the cornerstone
In the afternoon session, MEPs and national MPs discussed economic governance with Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and ECOFIN President Gyorgyi Matolcsy. All keynote guests upheld the centrality of the six-text economic governance legislation proposed by the Commission in September 2010, more commonly known as the "six pack".
"The 'six pack' is the cornerstone of all our efforts in this field" Mr Rehn told parliamentarians.
"By June we will hopefully have all the tools which we so badly need", Mr Juncker said, referring to the target date for an agreement between the EP and Member States on the "six pack".
A new order for a sustainable system
The European Parliament rapporteurs on the economic governance legislative package highlighted the need for a transparent system, based on a sense of "ownership".
"There must be a structured relationship between national parliaments and the European Parliament when co-ordinating economic policies", said Diogo Feio (EPP, PT), who warned against turning "European Semester" co-ordination into a purely bureaucratic exercise.
"The Economic Semester and the dialogue it can provoke can be an excellent tool but Member States must commit to implementing it correctly", said Elisa Ferreira (S&D, PT).
"It is crucial to have a true dialogue at the EP to really understand the effects of national decisions on the EU economy", said Sylvie Goulard (ALDE, FR).
Vicky Ford (ECR, UK), stressed that the EP would be giving a push to "ownership" of economic coordination. "The model's success will depend greatly on the national ownership we can secure", she said. The discussions continue this afternoon, with keynote contributions from Euro Group Jean-Claude Juncker and Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, among others.
In the chair: Sharon Bowles (ALDE, UK)