European economic governance decisions must not be made by a latterday “Congress of Vienna” – they will succeed only if parliaments across the EU work well together and are closely involved and in control of them, said European Parliament President Martin Schulz on Monday. He was speaking at the opening of this year’s European Parliamentary Week, which brought together MEPs and national MEPs to discuss all aspects of economic governance and policy coordination.
European Commission and European Council Presidents Jose-Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy also addressed the opening session, as did the Speaker of the Greek Parliament, Vangelis Meimarakis.
Mr Meimarakis stressed the need to deliver more tangible results to citizens. He also underlined that more monitoring and supervision were needed to ensure that “European Semester” economic policy recommendations were properly implemented.
Mr Barroso said that EU countries needed to coordinate more closely, because the decisions of each had an impact on others. This in turn demanded that their parliaments work together together better, to ensure that this closer coordination was done with legitimacy and accountability. "It is parliaments that ensure the correct implementation and legitimation of reforms", he said.
Mr Van Rompuy admitted that cumbersome decision-making processes had made accountability for decisions taken difficult and said it was therefore important to ensure that national parliaments had the right tools to scrutinise national decisions taken at EU level. He also encouraged parliaments to take a driving seat and come forward with proposals on how to improve arrangements for accountability.
The European Parliamentary Week will continue until Wednesday with various debates, inter alia on correcting macroeconomic imbalances in Europe, factoring legitimacy into economic reform policies, financing the real economy, and priorities for the next round in of the “European Semester” process.