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Wednesday, 24 June 2015 - Brussels Final edition
Review of the economic governance framework: stocktaking and challenges
P8_TA(2015)0238A8-0190/2015

European Parliament resolution of 24 June 2015 on the review of the economic governance framework: stocktaking and challenges (2014/2145(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 472/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on the strengthening of economic and budgetary surveillance of Member States in the euro area experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability(1) ,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 473/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on common provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive deficit of the Member States in the euro area(2) ,

–  having regard to the letter of 3 July 2013 from the then Vice-President of the Commission, Olli Rehn, on the application of Article 5(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1466/97 on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1175/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1466/97 on the strengthening of the surveillance of budgetary positions and the surveillance and coordination of economic policies(3) ,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) No 1177/2011 of 8 November 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 1467/97 on speeding up and clarifying the implementation of the excessive deficit procedure(4) ,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1173/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011 on the effective enforcement of budgetary surveillance in the euro area(5) ,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2011/85/EU of 8 November 2011 on requirements for budgetary frameworks of the Member States(6) ,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1176/2011 of the European Parliament and of the council of 16 November 2011 on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances(7) ,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1174/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011 on enforcement measures to correct excessive macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area(8) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2014 on the enquiry on the role and operations of the Troika (the European Central Bank (ECB), the Commission and the International Monetary Fund) with regard to the euro area programme countries(9) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2013 on constitutional problems of a multitier governance in the European Union(10) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 December 2011 on the European Semester for Economic Policy Coordination(11) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2011 on the financial, economic and social crisis: recommendations concerning the measures and initiatives to be taken(12) ,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 28 November 2014 entitled ‘Economic governance review – Report on the application of Regulations (EU) Nos 1173/2011, 1174/2011, 1175/2011, 1176/2011, 1177/2011, 472/2013 and 473/2013’ (COM(2014)0905),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 13 January 2015 entitled ‘Making the best use of the flexibility within the existing rules of the Stability and Growth Pact’ (COM(2015)0012),

–  having regard to the Commission’s Sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion of 23 July 2014 (COM(2014)0473),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council meetings of June and December 2014,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Euro summit of October 2014,

–  having regard to the speech of 15 July 2014 by President of the Commission Jean‑Claude Juncker at the European Parliament,

–  having regard to the speech of 22 August 2014 by President of the ECB Mario Draghi at the annual central bank symposium in Jackson Hole,

–  having regard to ECB Occasional Paper No 157 of November 2014 entitled ‘The identification of fiscal and macroeconomic imbalances – unexploited synergies under the strengthened EU governance framework’,

–  having regard to OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Paper No 163 of 9 December 2014 entitled ‘Trends in income inequality and its impact on economic growth’,

–  having regard to the IMF staff discussion note of September 2013 entitled ‘Towards a fiscal union for the euro area’,

–  having regard to the ECB's Governing Council proposals of 10th June 2010 entitled 'Reinforcing Economic Governance in the Euro Area',

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: investment for jobs and growth, adopted by the General Affairs (Cohesion) Council on 19 November 2014,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (A8-0190/2015),

A.  whereas the economic governance in the Eurozone which was designed to avoid unsustainable public finances and coordinate fiscal policies started out with the SGP consisting of two simple rules in order to avoid detrimental effects on the EMU as a whole;

B.  whereas immediately after the introduction of the euro, consolidation fatigue set in regarding implementation of these rules, which laid ground for an element of the present crisis in the EMU;

C.  whereas a reform of the original SGP took place in 2005 which introduced a number of refinements and increased flexibility and which did not sufficiently address the problems of the weak enforcement provisions and coordination;

D.  whereas when several countries were at risk of default on their debt, which would have resulted in a world-wide spread of the crisis and depression, the situation could be averted by putting in place ad-hoc mechanisms such as the EFSF and the EFSM;

E.  whereas, in order to avoid a reoccurrence of this kind of crisis, as well as the spreading of the crisis to other countries through the banking sector, a number of measures were taken, which included the creation of the Banking Union, the ESM, improved economic governance legislation in the form of the 6- and 2- packs, the TSCG and the European Semester, all of which must be considered as a package;

F.  whereas, according to the Commission's latest Spring forecast, after two consecutive years of negative growth, gross domestic product (GDP) in the euro area is expected to rise, meaning that the economic recovery is slowly gaining ground and need to be strengthened further as the output gap will remain large;

G.  whereas huge differences continue to prevail between the Member States in terms of debt ratios, deficit ratios, unemployment levels, current account balances and levels of social protection, also after the implementation of the programmes, reflecting differences in the origins of the crises and its point of departure, and in the ambition, impact and national ownership when implementing the measures agreed between the Institutions and the Member States concerned;

H.  whereas investment in the euro area decreased by 17 % since the pre-crisis period and,remains weak; whereas both a lack of future-oriented growth-enhancing investment and unsustainable public and private debt are crippling burden for future generations;

I.  whereas a European investment plan as an important instrument to stimulate notably private investment is being put in place to mobilise EUR 315 billion in new investments over the next three years; whereas if the proposed financial objectives are achieved this plan is only one element destined to overcome the accumulated investment gap, together with implementation of structural reforms to create an investor-friendly environment in Member States;

Stocktaking of the current economic governance framework

1.  Welcomes the Commission Communication of 28 November 2014 on the economic governance review; considers that the assessment by the Commission gives a picture of how and to what extent the different tools and procedures have been used and implemented;

2.  Stresses that at the core of the economic governance system is the prevention of excessive deficit and debt levels and excessive macroeconomic imbalances, as well as the economic policy coordination; underlines therefore that the central question in the review is whether the EMU has been made more resilient by the new economic governance framework, notably as far as its ability to avoid a Member State to default on its debt is concerned, while contributing to closer coordination and convergence of Member States' economic policies and ensuring a high level of transparency, credibility and democratic accountability;

3.  Takes notes of the fact that in some Member States, progress has been made in addressing debt level or in exiting the Excessive Deficit Procedure;

4.  Shares the Commission's analysis that parts of the new framework have achieved results but that the ability to draw conclusions on the effectiveness of the regulations in normal economic times is limited;

5.  Acknowledges that an assessment of the application of the six-pack and two-pack at this stage remains partial and cannot be isolated from the European Semester, the TFEU and the Fiscal Compact;

6.  Welcomes the 6- and 2-Packs' broadening of the scope of the stability and growth pact through the addition of procedures to prevent and correct macroeconomic imbalances inside and among Member States and shift the overreliance on the deficit criterion to attention to both the deficit and the overall debt, thus trying to identify and correct possible problems and preventing the emergence of crises at the earliest stage possible, while at the same time allowing flexibility in the form of clauses for structural reforms, investments and adverse business cycle conditions; recalls that flexibility cannot endanger the preventive nature of the Pact;

7.  Underlines the importance of the scoreboard to identify macroeconomic imbalances at an early stage and the importance of sustainable structural reforms when trying to overcome macroeconomic imbalances;

8.  Stresses that a consistent and fair implementation of the framework across countries and over time contributes to credibility; calls on the Commission and Council to apply and act in the spirit of the changes made to the SGP under the 6 and 2 pack, notably regarding enforcement provisions;

9.  Believes that the current economic situation with its fragile growth and high unemployment calls for urgent, comprehensive and decisive measures in an holistic approach based on growth-friendly fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and boosting investment in order to restore sustainable growth and competitiveness, to foster innovation and to fight unemployment while addressing the risk of persisting low inflation or possible threat of deflationary pressure, as well as persistent macroeconomic imbalances; highlights that the economic governance framework must constitute a key component of this holistic approach to be able to address these challenges;

10.  Agrees with Commissioner Thyssen’s statement that countries that provide high-quality jobs and better social protection and invest in human capital are more resilient to economic crises; calls on the Commission to reflect this position as it moves forward in all of its European semester policy and country-specific recommendations;

11.  Highlights the fact that the current economic governance framework needs to be implemented and where necessary improved to deliver fiscal stability, to favour a proper debate on the overall assessment of the euro area as a whole allowing growth-friendly fiscal responsibility, to improve economic convergence perspective of the euro area and to address on an equal footing Member States' different economic and fiscal situations; insists that it suffers from a lack of ownership at national level and limited attention to the international economic perspective and appropriate democratic accountability mechanism;

12.  Stresses that the current situation calls for enhanced and inclusive economic coordination considering the euro area as a whole and improving the national ownership and democratic accountability for the implementation of the rules (to restore trust, favour convergence between Member States, improve fiscal sustainability, encourage sustainable structural reforms and boost investments) as well as for swift reaction to correct the most obvious fault lines, to improve the effectiveness of the economic governance framework and to ensure consistent and fair implementation of the framework across countries and over time;

13.  Underlines the importance of simple and transparent procedures for economic governance and warns that the current complexity of the framework as well as the lack of implementation and ownership is detrimental to its effectiveness and acceptance by national parliaments, local authorities, social partners and citizens in Member States;

14.  Acknowledges that some progress has been made with a debate on the Medium-Term Objective (MTO) and in terms of a better ownership of the national debate in euro area Member States, also thanks to the contribution of the national fiscal councils acting as independent bodies monitoring compliance with fiscal rules and macroeconomic forecast; calls on the Commission to present an overview on the structure and the functioning of Member States’ national fiscal councils and how these councils can improve ownership at national level;

15.  Considers the economic governance framework to be a key political initiative that underpins the foundations of the Europe 2020 goals and flagship initiatives which are aimed at fully exploiting the Single Market’s untapped growth potential; believes that by unlocking the Single Market’s growth potential, Member States will more easily fulfil the targets embedded in the economic governance framework; furthermore, considers that the primary actors in the Single Market are consumers and businesses;

What best application of flexibility within the existing rules?

16.  Acknowledges that the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) which has been put in place to ensure the fiscal sustainability of the Member States participating in the Economic and Monetary Union, allows Member States to conduct a counter-cyclical policy when necessary and fiscal room for the automatic stabilizers to work properly; underlines that not all Member states achieved a surplus while economy was booming and that some existing flexibility clauses foreseen in the legislation was not put in full use in previous years;

17.  Welcomes the fact that in its interpretative communication on flexibility, the Commission acknowledges that the way in which the current fiscal rules are interpreted is one element in bridging the investment gap in the EU and facilitating the implementation of growth-enhancing, sustainable and socially balanced structural reforms; notes that the Communication makes no changes as far as the calculation of the deficit is concerned but that certain investments can justify a temporary deviation from the Medium Term Objective (MTO) of the concerned Member State or from the adjustment path towards it;

18.  Supports all the incentives proposed by the European Commission to finance the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), mainly by making national contributions to the fund fiscally neutral as regards to the attainment of the MTO and to the required fiscal adjustment effort without modifying it in the preventive or the corrective arm of the SGP; notes the Commission's intention to refrain from launching an EDP if, only because of the additional contribution to the EFSI, a Member State deficit goes slightly and temporarily beyond the 3 % deficit limit; draws the attention on the SGP's vital contribution to confidence building when attracting foreign investments; stresses the importance of the additionality of the EFSI financing since EFSI-funded projects must, under no circumstances simply replace investment already planned and that net investment must, on the contrary, be effectively increased as a result;

19.  Welcomes that the Commission communication aims at clarifying the scope of the investment clause, allowing for a certain degree of temporary flexibility in the preventive arm of the SGP, in the form of a temporary deviation from the MTO, provided the deviation does not lead to an excess over the 3% deficit reference value and an appropriate safety margin, to accommodate investment programmes by the Member States, in particular as regards expenditure on projects under structural and cohesion policy, including the Youth Employment Initiative, trans-European networks and the Connecting Europe Facility, and co-financing under the EFSI;

20.  Believes that a precondition for the application of the structural reform clause under the preventive arm and the consideration of structural reform plans under the corrective arm is a formal national parliamentary adoption of a reform and its actual implementation, allowing more efficiency and ownership; stresses that the reform process should fully involve social partners at all stages;

21.  Calls for enhanced dialogue between the Commission and the Member States on the content and types of structural reforms most appropriate and effective to be proposed by the Commission in the Country specific recommendations, compatible with the Treaty and secondary law, taking into account cost benefit analysis, result-oriented assessment and timeframe impact, and contributing to the achievement of the MTO;

22.  Encourages the Finance Committees of the national parliaments to systematically invite the European Commissioners responsible for economic governance to a public debate in their chambers before the draft budgets of the Member States are adopted;

23.  Believes that structural reforms committed in National Reform Programmes should in the medium and long terms have positive economic, social and environmental returns, and improve the efficiency and efficacy of administrative capacity;

24.  Notes that because it could have led to an exercise to define all kinds of hypothesis with the danger of leaving out the one that will actually happen, the communication does not touch upon the nature of 'unusual events' falling outside the control of a Member State which could allow it to temporarily depart from the adjustment path towards achieving its MTO; underlines the need to treat similar situations in similar ways;

25.  Calls for greater economic and social cohesion to be provided by strengthening the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund in order to preserve and create jobs with rights by supporting measures to combat unemployment and poverty;

26.  Underlines the importance of boosting economic growth and creating new jobs, particularly jobs for young people, for the public acceptance of the European economic governance framework;

27.  Notes with deep concern that long-term unemployment has doubled over the course of the crisis; notes also that this increase was even higher among low-skilled workers; calls on the Commission to ensure that the fight against long-term unemployment is reflected in its policies and country-specific recommendations;

28.  Believes that the rising levels of inequality in Europe should be given the utmost importance in the context of the Union’s economic framework; believes that one of the best ways to combat this rising inequality is to redouble efforts to create more quality jobs in Europe;

Closer coordination, economic convergence and streamlining of the European Semester

29.  Urges the Commission to fully apply the SGP and ensure its fair implementation in line with its recent review of the 6- and 2- pack and the communication on flexibility; believes that, where necessary and possible, the European Semester should be streamlined and reinforced within the current legislative framework; stresses that any such future streamlining and reinforcements should in any case be stability-oriented;

30.  Believes that the Commission communication clarifies where room for flexibility exists under the existing legislation; welcomes the attempt to shed more clarity into this complicated field and expects the Commission to use the flexibility that is built into the existing rules in line with the communication while ensuring the predictability, transparency and effectiveness of the economic governance framework;

31.  Invites the Commission and the Council to better articulate the fiscal and macroeconomic frameworks to allow for earlier and more consistent debate among all stakeholders taking into account the European interests served by these frameworks, the need to increase convergence between euro area Member States, deliberation by national parliaments and the role of social partners or of local authorities regarding the ownership of sustainable and socially balanced structural reforms;

32.  Insists that the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) as well as the country-specific recommendations (CSR) must be better implemented and take into account the assessment of the budgetary situation and prospects both in the euro area as a whole and in the individual Member States; suggests that this overall assessment foreseen in Regulation (EU) No 473/2013 on common provisions for monitoring and assessing draft budgetary plans and ensuring the correction of excessive deficit of the Member States in the euro area should be submitted to a plenary debate of the European Parliament with the Council, the President of the Eurogroup and the Commission prior to the Spring Council and properly implemented throughout the European Semester;

33.  Acknowledges that the European Semester has become an important vehicle to deliver reforms at national and EU levels by ensuring that the EU and its Member States coordinate their economic policies; regrets however the lack of ownership resulting in an unsatisfactory level of implementation of the country-specific recommendations;

34.  Believes that the European Semester should be streamlined and reinforced, without modifying the current legal framework, and that Semester-related documents should be better coordinated, thus increasing focus, effectiveness and ownership to achieve the European goals of good economic governance;

35.  Requests that the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) be, where relevant, better coordinated with the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) recommendations so as to ensure consistency between surveillance of the fiscal position and economic policy coordination;

36.  Favours an enhanced process at EU and national level regarding the elaboration, follow-up, support and monitoring of Country Specific Recommendations also allowing to check their actual implementation and quality against delivery;

37.  Recalls that the legislation requires the Commission to take into account amongst others the 2020 targets when preparing its recommendations and enshrines the principle according to which 'the Council is expected to, as a rule, follow the recommendations and proposals of the Commission or explain its positions publicly';

38.  Is concerned by the debt increase in countries which already have a high level of debt, which is in stark contradiction with the 1/20 rule on debt reduction; asks the Commission to explain how it intends to address this contradiction and to ensure that debt ratios are reduced to sustainable levels in line with the SGP;

39.  Supports the Commission three-pillar strategy (growth-enhancing investments, fiscal consolidation and structural reforms), presented in the AGS 2015 and ask to make it more concrete under the overall assessment of the budgetary situation and prospects in the euro area and in the CSRs;

40.  Recognises the need for independent and pluralistic analysis of Member States' economic perspectives at the EU level; in this context urges to further develop the Commission's Unit known as Chief Economic Analyst to provide objective, independent and transparent analysis of the relevant data, which should be made public and serve as a basis for a well-informed debate and decision-making in the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament; demands that the Chief Economic Analyst be transmitted all relevant documents in time to carry out its tasks; stresses the useful role of national fiscal councils both at national and at EU level and encourages the set-up of a European network;

41.  Recalls that the MIP is meant to avoid crises to happen through the early identification of harmful macro-economic imbalances on the basis of an objective assessment of the development of the key macroeconomic variables; believes that the MIP must be used to assess in an efficient and effective manner the development of key macroeconomic variables in both deficit and surpluses countries, particularly with regard to strengthening competitiveness and better taking into account the euro area as a whole, including spillover effects; recalls that macroeconomic surveillance is also aimed at identifying countries that are likely to experience a future imbalance and to avoid it through the timely launching of sustainable and socially balanced structural reforms, when room for action is still available;

42.  Underlines the Commission's clear differentiation between the preventive and corrective arms of the SGP as regards investment allowing temporary deviation from the MTO, or the adjustment path towards it, within the existence of a safety margin under the preventive arm; calls on the Commission and the Council to be consistent in this domain with the outcome of the co-legislators position regarding the European Fund for Strategic Investments regulation;

43.  Asks the Commission to consider in its analyses all important factors, including real growth, inflation, long term public investment and unemployment rates when evaluating the economic and fiscal situations of Member States, urgently addressing the investment gap in the EU by shifting expenditure towards the most productive, sustainable growth and jobs enhancing investment;

44.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the way in which effective actions are taken into account under the EDP is based on clear, numerical quantifiable and qualitative criteria;

45.  Insists that the focus on structural deficits since the 2005 reform of the SGP, together with the introduction of an expenditure rule with the 2011 reform as well as the concept of output gap which is difficult to quantify, create uncertainty, complexity and margins for flexibility and thus the discretionary implementation of the SGP; fears that the calculation of potential growth and output, which underpins the assessment of structural deficits, and that of the expenditure rule, are subject to several questionable assumptions which lead to substantial revisions between the Commission's autumn and spring forecasts, thereby leading to various calculations and diverging assessments as regards the implementation of the SGP;

46.  Calls on the Commission, when monitoring and evaluating the fiscal positions of Member States, to consider the practical implications of the agreed fiscal measures and reforms; calls on the Commission to aim at predictable and consistent policy making, to base its analysis on hard facts and reliable data and to exercise the utmost caution when making use of estimations in concepts such as estimated growth potential for GDP and output gaps;

47.  Underlines the importance of new growth and job creation for the public acceptance of the economic governance framework and calls, therefore, for the Commission to improve the business environment in Europe with particular attention to SMEs, removal of red tape and access to finance; recalls in this respect the need to provide support to SMEs to enable them to also access non-EU markets such as the US, Canada, China and India;

Democratic accountability and challenges ahead in deepening economic governance

48.  Believes that a deepened and more resilient EMU urgently needs less complexity, better ownership and more transparency, rather than just adding new layers of rules to the already existing ones; underlines that, as responsibilities in the field of EMU are shared between the national and the European level, particular attention needs to be paid to ensuring the coherence and accountability of economic governance at both the national and European level; believes furthermore that a major role must be played by institutions subject to democratic accountability and underlines the need for sustained parliamentary involvement, whereby responsibilities must be assumed at the level where decisions are taken or implemented;

49.  Acknowledges, based on the current situation, that the economic governance framework must be simplified, better enforced and where necessary, corrected and completed to allow for the EU and the euro area to meet the challenges of convergence, sustainable growth, full employment, citizens' welfare, competitiveness, sound and sustainable public finances, future oriented with high social-economic return long-lasting investment and reliance;

50.  Believes that, as parliamentary input on economic policy guidelines is an important aspect of any democratic system, increased legitimacy at the European level can be ensured by the adoption of Convergence Guidelines which contain targeted priorities for the coming years, subject to a codecision procedure that should be introduced in the next Treaty change;

51.  Recalls the European Parliament's resolutions specifying that the creation of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance ('Fiscal Compact') outside of the structure of the institutions of the Union represents a setback to the political integration of the Union and, therefore, demands that the ESM and the Fiscal Compact be fully integrated into the community framework on the basis of an assessment of the experience with its implementation according to Article 16 of the TSCG and consequently made formally accountable to Parliament;

52.  Recalls its request to develop options for a new legal framework for future macroeconomic adjustment programmes, replacing the Troika, in order to increase the transparency and ownership of these programmes and ensure that all EU decisions are, where possible, taken under the Community method; believes that there should be a consistency between the nature of the stability mechanism used and the institution in charge of its mobilisation, while acknowledging that, because financial assistance is guaranteed by MS of the euro area, they have a say in its release;

53.  Requests that a reassessment of the Eurogroup's decision-making process be conducted so as to provide for appropriate democratic accountability; welcomes the Eurogroup President regularly participating in the meetings of the ECON committee in the same way as the chair of the ECOFIN Council, thus contributing to a similar level of democratic accountability;

54.  Recalls that the 6 and 2 pack are based on a strengthened role for an independent Commissioner who should ensure the fair and non-discriminatory application of the rules, believes that further steps in the institutional set-up of economic governance, such as the strengthening of the role of the Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs or the creation of a European Treasury Office must respect the separation of powers between the different institutions and be linked to adequate means for democratic accountability and legitimacy, involving the European Parliament;

55.  Recalls that the banking union was the result of the political will to avoid the renewal of financial crises, to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns as well as to minimise the negative spill-overs emanating from a sovereign debt crisis and that the same will is needed to achieve a deepened EMU;

56.  Asks the Commission to come forward with an ambitious roadmap for the achievement of a deepened economic and monetary union which takes into account the proposals as outlined in this resolution, building on the mandate given by the euro area summit, confirmed by the European Council 'to prepare next steps on better economic governance in the euro area' as well as on previous work such as Parliament’s resolution of 20 November 2012 'Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union'(13) , the communication of the Commission of 28 November 2012 'A blueprint for a deep and genuine economic and monetary union. Launching a European debate' (COM(2012)0777) and the final Four Presidents report of 5 December 2012;

57.  Invites the stakeholders in this necessary next step of the EMU to take into account foreseeable future enlargement of the euro area and to explore all options to deepen and strengthen the EMU and make it more resilient, conductive to growth, jobs and stability, such as:

   (a) enhanced democratic accountability mechanisms at both the EU and national levels, whereby responsibilities must be assumed at the level where decisions are taken and based on the adoption of convergence guidelines under co-decision, while formalising the scrutiny role of the European Parliament in the European Semester in an Inter-Institutional Agreement and ensuring that all euro area National Parliaments follow each step of the European Semester process;
   (b) a social dimension aimed at preserving Europe's social market economy, respecting the right to collective bargaining, under which coordination of the social policies of the Member States would be ensured, including a minimum wage or income mechanism proper to and decided by each Member State and supporting the fight against poverty and social exclusion, the reintegration of workers into the job market, voluntary mobility and flexibility between professions and Member States;
   (c) a euro area fiscal capacitybased on specific own-resources which should, in the framework of the Union budget with European parliamentary control, assist Member States in the implementation of the agreed structural reforms based on certain conditions, including the effective implementation of the National Reform Programmes; welcomes in this regard the work of the EU Group on own resources chaired by Mario Monti;
   (d) increase the resilience of the EMU to face economic shocks and emergencies directly connected to the monetary union while avoiding any form of permanent fiscal transfers;
   (e) on taxation, a commitment to European-wide measures against tax fraud and evasion and aggressive corporate tax planning, cooperation of the national tax authorities in order to exchange information regarding tax avoidance and tax fraud, measures to bring about convergence of taxation policies of the Member States, a common consolidated corporate tax base, simpler and more transparent tax systems and country-by-country reporting for corporates, excluding SMEs;
   (f) completing the Banking Union step by step;
   (g) the inclusion of the ESM and the TSCG in Union law going hand in hand with enhanced economic policy coordination, real convergence, enforcement of common rules and a clear commitment to economically and socially sustainable structural reforms;
   (h) addressing weaknesses in the current framework that enables certain parts of the Treaty to be overseen by the Court while others are excluded;
   (i) an increased external role of the euro area, including the upgrading of its representation;

58.  Requests that possible further step in the EMU be elaborated on the basis of a '4+1 Presidents' approach, including the EP President, who should be invited to all meetings, provided with full information, and given the right to participate in the debates; notes that the President of the Commission has indicated his intention to draw on input from the President of the European Parliament in his reflections during the preparation of the 4 Presidents' reports;

59.  Asks its President, to undertake an ex-ante coordination with the chairmen of the political groups or those Members specifically appointed by their groups or Parliament, to represent Parliament in this upcoming task drawing on the basis of the mandate given by this resolution addressing inter alia the questions in the Four Presidents' Analytical Note on 'Preparing Next Steps on Better Economic Governance in the Euro area';

o
o   o

60.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the presidents of the Council, the Commission, the Eurogroup and the ECB, and to the national parliaments.

(1) OJ L 140, 27.5.2013, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 140, 27.5.2013, p. 11.
(3) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 12.
(4) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 33.
(5) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 41.
(7) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 25.
(8) OJ L 306, 23.11.2011, p. 8.
(9) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0239.
(10) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0598.
(11) OJ C 165 E, 11.6.2013, p. 24.
(12) OJ C 33 E, 5.2.2013, p. 140.
(13) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0430.

Last updated: 5 April 2016Legal notice