At yesterday’s Eurogroup meeting, finance ministers from the Eurozone countries agreed to make their meetings more transparent. The plan is to provide in future a full draft annotated agenda, a summary of the meeting from the President’s point of view and, to a limited extent, documents on programme countries and discussions on economic policy. In my draft report, I call for strong transparency on the Eurogroup.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group and rapporteur on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions, commented:
“The commitment to greater transparency of the Eurogroup is a positive step but it still doesn’t enable democratic accountability. The Eurogroup’s shady backroom dealings must end once and for all. As the Eurogroup plans to provide only summaries of their meetings rather than publishing full minutes, it will remain impossible to see what positions have been taken by individual governments. Democratic oversight is only possible if citizens can see and understand what position their government is taking in Brussels. The Eurogroup must therefore agree to publish full minutes of its meetings. The positions of individual countries must also be made available and published in advance. At a bare minimum, the decisions taken yesterday on transparency should apply not just to the Eurogroup but also the important preparatory grouping – the Eurozone Working Group.
The euro-countries should also discuss seriously the proposal of a Eurozone Finance Minister. Institutionalising the role of Eurozone finance minister would give its economic and financial policy greater democratic legitimacy. A Eurozone Finance Minister could also function as Commissioner for the Euro and president of the Eurogroup. Furthermore, as a Commissioner the Finance Minister could be held accountable by the European Parliament.
Remarks of Dijsselbloem after Eurogroup:
“We agreed to publish Eurogroup agendas in a more detailed, annotated format, and to publish summing-up letters recapitulating the main conclusions from Eurogroup meetings.
There is also general support in principle to publish documents as much as possible and we have asked the EWG to further fine-tune the practical implementation of that part of the proposals.“
Proposals of Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/binaries/rijksoverheid/documenten/kamerstukken/2016/02/05/bijlage-voorstellen-transparantie-eurogroep/bijlage-voorstellen-transparantie-eurogroep.pdf
Suggestions made by the Ombudsman concerning Eurogroup transparency:
My draft report on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions: