17 March 2015. The AFCO committee is responsible for producing an opinion to feed into the ECON committee’s text on the review of the economic governance framework.

As the rapporteur for the AFCO committee, I introduced the need to improve the rule of law in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

The Treaty of Maastricht has deprived the Court of Justice from being responsible for legally controlling the actions and decisions of the European Commission and the Council, in the EMU. Article 126.10 expressly excludes the option of bringing failures of a Member State to fulfil an obligation in front of the Court (articles 258 and 259). Nor is there possible action for annulment of the recommendations of the Commission and the Council (article 263).

Although some colleagues needed to be convinced, I ultimately had a majority in favour of this idea, coming from across the political spectrum (EPP, ALDE, GUE, Greens), of MEPs who are not afraid, in a report for the Constitutional Affairs Committee to broach the question of a future Treaty change. We were all convinced that the risk of double standards, according to the size of the Member States concerned, is destroying mutual trust.

The report deals with other important issues as well, such as the need for increased democratic legitimacy of the EMU and for Community solutions and not intergovernmental solutions to be found, unlike as was often the case during the crisis. It is essential that parliamentary control takes place at the level that decisions are taken: national parliaments must scrutinise national governments and the European Parliament must scrutinise the European executives. A mixed parliamentary body is not needed, as it would dilute responsibilities, but rather a clear allocation of responsibilities between the national and the European level. It is of course essential that the European Union lives up to the promises made by its forefathers, and that the social dimension of EMU is sufficiently taken into account and that a competitive social market economy is a reality for Europe’s citizens, as is adequate social protection and the fight against social exclusion.

This report is only the beginning of the story, it does not detail all the Treaty changes needed to improve the situation for Europe’s citizens. It will be followed by a report by Guy Verhofstadt on “Possible evolutions and adjustments of the current institutional set up of the European Union. ”

Result of the AFCO vote: 12 in favour, 3 against and 7 abstentions.


Opinion adopted by the AFCO committee