EU Parliament expects more cooperation from Council on future appointments

Roberto Gualtieri, Head of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

The chair of the European Parliament’s economic committee has written a curt letter to the president of the Eurogroup, asking for “greater cooperation” from the Council when it comes to high-level appointments. EURACTIV.fr reports.

Roberto Gualtieri, the chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), sent a courteous but to-the-point letter, seen by EURACTIV, this week to Eurogroup President Mario Centeno concerning the recent appointment of Luis de Guindos.

The European Council appointed De Guindos as vice-president in-waiting of the European Central Bank and he was then questioned by ECON’s members.

MEPs demand improving nomination process to support De Guindos

The EU legislators requested from the member states on Tuesday (27 February) improvements to the selection process of the bloc’s top posts before giving their blessing to the appointment of Luis de Guindos as ECB vice-president.

MEPs had supported a demand introduced by French socialist MEP Pervenche Berès on making their plenary vote conditional on a change in the selection procedure of ECB members.

“I must emphasise that […] significantly greater cooperation will be expected from the Council by ECON Members ahead of the plenary vote,” Gualtieri wrote in his letter. The vote will take place next week,

The vote could turn out to be more complicated than originally expected as the issue now goes beyond political divisions. It seems to have turned into a bid for power by the Parliament on account of a perceived lack of transparency and abuse of power by the Council.

The letter stated that ‘we look forward to your commitment in particular in the following areas, ahead of the March plenary:

  • Coordinated definition of a timeline of the various steps linked to future appointments in order to ensure sufficient time for the formal and informal consultation of the EP;
  • Presentation to the European Parliament of a shortlist, appropriately gender-balanced, and comprising of at least three candidates;
  • Joint efforts to enhance the transparency of the selection process.”

The Parliament only holds a consultative opinion but regularly tries to impose more women in a very male-dominated institution.

The governing council of the ECB stated that it had no objection to the appointment of Luis de Guindos as vice-president in a press release on 7 March.

“Mr Luis de Guindos is a person of recognised standing and professional experience in monetary or banking matters, as required by Article 283(2) of the Treaty,” the governing council said.

By hiding behind the article of the European treaty which defines the selection procedure of its members for an eight-year period, the governing council, 92% of which are men, raises a counter-argument to the one made by the Parliament.

It is a development that will be keenly watched during next week’s parliamentary session in Strasbourg.

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