One day before a plenary vote on the latest economic governance legislation, dubbed the 'two pack', MEPs took the opportunity on Tuesday to state their views on how the rules should be better designed, not only to improve the management of deficits and debt, but also to foster economic growth, greater accountability and democratic checks.
The debate focused mainly on some of Parliament's most innovative draft changes to the Commission's proposals, such as setting up a European Redemption Fund, which would pool a part of the Eurozone's debt, a growth facility worth around €100 billion for infrastructure investments, a roadmap for Eurobonds, and legal protection for countries on the verge of default.
Jean-Paul Gauzes (EPP, FR), rapporteur for the rules dealing with countries in significant financial trouble, said that had such rules been in place two years ago, the problems currently experienced by some countries would have been avoided, since clear and early action would have been taken.
Elisa Ferreira (S&D, PT), rapporteur for the text which steps up budgetary reporting requirements for all Eurozone member states, said that the legislation needed to be set within a wider context than that of budgetary constraint. "This cannot only be about austerity. We need to rebalance our short term objectives, away from austerity alone", she said.
In the subsequent debate, a majority of MEPs advocated a stronger growth dimension to the legislation, although various EPP MEPs expressed reservations about setting up an infrastructure investment mechanism. Some MEPs on the far left said the legislation was too little too late, whereas Conservatives and those further to the right felt that the changes to the Commission's proposals went too far beyond the original goal.
Watch the full debate on Video on Demand (link to the right)