By Bjarke Smith-Meyer, Politico (www.politico.eu), published on 23 November 2017
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IMPATIENCE OVER GREEK ASSESSMENT: MEPs have lost patience with the European Commission over its reluctance to conduct a “social impact assessment” on the terms and conditions spelled out in Greece’s most recent bailout package that was agreed between Athens and its creditors in May 2016.
The Commission is obliged to come up with a social assessment as part of the so-called two-pack rules, which set a regulatory framework for memorandums and crisis management. Influential MEPs from the left banded together in July and wrote a letter to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the institution’s top dogs in economic and social affairs to remind them of their duties. The letter was specifically addressed to financial services chief Valdis Dombrovskis, economic and financial affairs boss Pierre Moscovici, and social security Commissioner Marianne Thyssen.
But the Commission has so far been non-committal about the impact assessment, Green MEP Sven Giegold told M.E. “I’m annoyed they haven’t answered the letter,” the German said. “We had an internal discussion with Moscovici before the summer … [and] he was evasive [about] … this impact assessment.” The social impact assessment is supposed to figure out how the bailout will impact different income classes across Greece, especially as the government is supposed to make pension cuts and raise taxes as part of the country’s program. “The Commission doesn’t want to deliver [the assessment] because we know it won’t be good,” Giegold said. “But they should do what they are obliged to do.”
Here’s what the Commission had to say when asked by M.E.: “The Commission has been a driving force behind the important measures taken under the [bailout] program to strengthen social policies and protect the most vulnerable,” a spokesperson said. “Throughout the discussions with other program partners, the Commission has also insisted on ensuring that the social impact of reforms was as fair as possible. We will continue to monitor the social impact of the program and will continue to keep the European Parliament fully informed, as has been the case until now.”
This article was first published at https://www.politico.eu/pro/politico-pro-morning-exchange-meps-frustration-over-greece-ecofin-agenda-mifid-ii-warning on 23 November 2017. All rights reserved with Politico.