MEPs hit out at the lack of concrete proposals adopted during the EU summit on 18-19 October, with many criticising the time table for the implementation of the banking union. During a debate in plenary, MEPs also called for quicker progress and said more needed to be done to kick-start growth.
Need for banking supervision
Banking supervision was urgently needed to prevent banking risks and cross-border contagion, according to Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council. "[It] is a first, essential step toward a complete, integrated framework for the financial sector. Other steps also need to be taken quickly, starting with harmonising national resolution and deposit guarantee schemes." If agreed by January 2013, it could become operational during 2013. "This places a huge responsibility on all of us to meet this ambitious timeline. We cannot afford the risk of losing momentum."
Lack of progress
More progress needed to be made, stressed José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. "The reality is that the crisis is still with us. Too many of our member states are facing recession and unemployment remains worryingly high with the potential to further undermine social cohesion. Some progress has been made, but frankly not enough. It is high time that proposals on the negotiation table become reality."
Reactions from group leaders
Joseph Daul, the French leader of the Christian Democrat group in Parliament, commented: "One of the lessons of this crisis is that we can't exclude certain sectors from our shared legislation, for instance the banking sector. This is why [our group] supports the Council's proposal to create a European banking supervisor. Any failure on this front can have an impact on the system as a whole."
The summit had delivered too little on growth, said Hannes Swoboda, the Austrian leader of the Social Democrat group. "It's not a growth-pact but a growth-policy that we want." On the time schedule for the implementation of bank supervision, he said: "This delay is not what we want. Take enough time but don't let the crisis be exacerbated. That is unacceptable for us."
Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian leader of the Liberal Democrats, criticised the summit for effectively freezing progress on banking supervision until German federal elections took place. "I find it irresponsibly that we have to wait nine months before we can start implement something that we shall approve as legislation by the end of the year."
Tory MEP Martin Callanan, the British leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, said: "The only significance of that summit was that it represented yet another missed opportunity. The window created by the actions of the European Central Bank to enable political leaders to get ahead of the curve and reassuring the markets was lost then and it is lost now."
"We need to go beyond mere austerity and deficit policies," said Rebecca Harms, the German co-chair of the Green group. "Economic recovery can only take place through growth policies."
Gabriele Zimmer, the German leader of the Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left, spoke of the need to have a fair distribution of the bailout funds, saying too much goes towards banks and not enough to national budgets. "We've got to restore the balance," she said, "to get a course correction."
UKIP MEP Nigel Farage, the British co-chair of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, told Van Rompuy : "You're even worse than I thought you are going to be. I thought it is just going to be a federal Europe but it actually appears that what you now want is the total subjugation of the states to completely undemocratic structures based in Brussels."