Monetary policy is not enough. The EU needs balanced structural funds, solid national budgets and responsible fiscal policies in member states, said MEPs in Monday evening’s debate with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on the ECB’s activity report for 2015. They also cited low interest rates, low inflation and weak demand as priority issues that should be tackled.
Click on the speaker’s name to view the full statement (VOD)
Mario Draghi, ECB President, described the debate as an important pillar of the ECB’s accountability and retraced economic developments in 2015 and the role of the ECB monetary policy in support of recovery.
Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission Vice-President, gave a positive assessment of the ECB’s monetary actions, but assured MEPs that the Commission keeps a close eye on the risks caused by very low interest rates.
Ramon Tremosa i Balcellis (ALDE, ES), the lead MEP responsible for the parliamentary report on ECB activities, called for smart investments and said that negative interest rates should be the first issue to be tackled.
Thomas Mann (EPP, DE) said that to solve economic and financial problems, structural reforms and robust budgets in member states are needed.
Jonás Fernández (S&D, ES) said that ECB policies should focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), demand in the economy needs to be stimulated and ECB profits should go back into the EU budget.
Bernd Lucke (ECR, DE) said that despite ECB measures, markets are distorted and negative interest rates are destroying the culture of saving.
Fabio de Masi (GUE/NGL, DE) stressed the problems of youth unemployment and lack of public investment.
Ernest Urtasun (GREENS/EFA, ES) said that monetary stimuli lead to a dangerous situation and that the lack of democratic control over the ECB is worrying.
Marco Valli (EFDD, IT) was disappointed with the report, which he called a lost opportunity to address the current situation honestly.
Bernard Monot (ENF, FR) questioned legitimacy of the ECB.