MEPs set to dig deeper into Troika's Cyprus deal
Pressure to reveal how the Cyprus financial plans were hatched would continue, the chair of Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee, said on Tuesday when she closed a debate with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem that left various MEPs less than fully satisfied on the quality of the answers provided.
Responding to critical questioning, Mr Dijsselbloem defended the plan as the "best possible outcome" and said a rethink of Eurogroup decision-making was not realistically on the cards.
Mr Dijsselbloem and the Eurogroup as a whole came in for criticism from all political groups. The centre-right MEP Jean-Paul Gauzès (FR) said that the Eurogroup was responsible for having caused huge collateral damage to the trust in the EU as a result of its poor communication.
Sven Giegold (Greens, DE) slammed Mr Dijsselbloem's responses as being "unacceptable" since they did not provide the details needed to understand how the "bad outcome was reached". He also asked for a full written explanation to be provided. Udo Bullman (S&D, DE) said that the Eurogroup needed more parliamentary control at European level since it had come "very close to causing a bank run with the first plan for Cyprus".
Mr Dijsselbloem defended the intergovernmental structure of the Eurogroup saying that this was what the current political context would realistically allow. He also contested the view of many MEPs that the plan for Cyprus was a bad outcome.
He assured MEPs that lessons had been learnt and that the EU was in a better position to face new challenges now that it had new instruments and a stronger Commission to enforce discipline.
Reacting to Mr Dijsselbloem's replies, Sylvie Goulard (ALDE, FR) said that he was "the most optimistic undertaker". She asked him to deliver an agenda to avoid another Cyprus situation and to end the nationalistic decision-making of the Eurogroup.
Asked by Jurgen Klute (GUE/NGL, DE) whether Cyprus should not be compensated because part of its crisis was a result of the write downs of Greek debt, Mr Dijsselbloem said that there was no case for this since Cypriot banks had chosen to invest in Greek banks and when they did this it was already a risky strategy.
Committee chair Sharon Bowles (ALDE, UK) said it was not fair to place all the blame on the island's banks since they were acting on promises that there would be no write downs and also at the instigation of various European political actors.
On a more general level, Mr Dijsselbloem refused to enter into the debate on whether austerity had run its course when asked this by Dirk Jan eppink (ECR, BE). He simply replied that everyone should take responsibility for what was agreed and deliver on their promises.
The hearing, organised to shed more light on the processes which led to the financial plan for Cyprus, will continue on Wednesday morning when committee MEPs will hear testimony from Commissioner Olli Rehn and ECB Executive Board member Jorg Asmussen.