Parliament’s involvement in EU bailout programmes ‘delayed’

Martin Schulz [SPÖ/Flickr]

Negotiations for the European Parliament’s participation in the evaluation of EU countries under an adjustment programme are “delayed”, but progress is being made, a source close to President Martin Schulz has told EURACTIV.

The involvement of the European Parliament was initially proposed on 19 August 2015, by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. His request was discussed in the Conference of Presidents of political groups in Parliament at the beginning of September.

>>Read: Schulz seeks Parliament role in Greek bailout evaluation

The proposal was welcomed by a majority of group heads, with Socialist and Democrat (S&D) leader Gianni Pittella saying the legal basis already existed, and that it was “a matter of democratising the procedures”.

Martin Schulz was mandated by the heads of political groups to see, together with the European Commission, how to involve Parliament to increase democratic accountability in current and future adjustment programmes.

The delay

EURACTIV was informed that there was a delay in the negotiations due to the escalation of the refugee crisis, as well as the deteriorating situation in Syria.    

Asked about progress made in the negotiations, a source close to Schulz admitted there was “indeed a delay due to various circumstances”. 

The source added, though, that the pieces fell into place at the beginning of December, when the Conference of Presidents mandated coordinators of the Assembly’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) to suggest practical ways for Parliament to participate in overseeing the implementation of macro-economic adjustment programmes, “including, but not limited to Greece”.

First steps

The source continued, stating that coordinators agreed on 17 December to propose the setting up of a ‘Financial Assistance Working Group’, which brings together 25 MEPs from several Parliamentary committees, including ECON, but also the employment, regional affairs, budgetary affairs and budgetary control committees.

They also propose “quarterly dialogues with the various actors involved in the implementation of the relative programme, and at least one plenary debate per year”, the source said.

The proposals will now be scrutinised by the Conference of Presidents next week. 

  • Next week: The Conference of Presidents will discuss the proposals

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