Since 2014, resources from the European Structural and Investment Funds can be suspended in case a Member State does not comply with the deficit criteria. In July 2016, for the first time, this sanction mechanism was triggered by the Council against Spain and Portugal. On Monday evening, Members of the European Parliament partook in a hearing, the so-called “structured dialogue”. The European Parliament had been fighting for this right of democratic scrutiny against strong resistance.
Green MEPs Sven Giegold and Monika Vana say:
“It is a must for the European Parliament to show strength and to support European citizens in their fight against one-eyed austerity measures which led to poverty and unemployment. The European Parliament’s rights in regards to the Economic and Monetary Union are very weak, which makes it even more important that MEPs must take advantage of any political opportunity to make their democratically legitimised voice heard in the course of this first structural dialogue. A non-binding hearing, which lacks information, data or a plenary vote is not enough for us.
In the course of the hearing we achieved, that the Portuguese and Spanish government will be invited to a debate. Sanctions against cities and regions raise crucial democratic questions. Therefore, we demanded a resolution and a debate in the plenary of the European Parliament which was rejected. It is a poor mark that Conservatives and Social Democrats reject to make use of the democratic rights of the Members of the European Parliament thereby denying the full potential of this institution.
After the hearing it is clear that the majority of the groups represented in the European Parliament reject the suspension of European Structural and Investment Funds. We need a strong European Parliament which does not fear confrontations, in particular in times of the Brexit.”