Great! The country-specific recommendations from the EU Council to the member states regarding public finances and growth-enhancing reforms are becoming more transparent in one respect.
Eurogroup and ECOFIN
The latest European Council 28-29 June 2012 continues to cause wildly different interpretations (EUCO 76/12), as Edward Hugh pointed out in a detailed article on A Fistful of Euros. The Eurogroup Monday and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) Tuesday have a lot of clearance work to begin.
Despite the need to explain the eurozone issues to the public, the advance information from the Eurogroup ahead of the 9 July meeting was exceptionally lousy even by its own low standards. The press release did not even mention that the mandate of president Jean-Claude Juncker ends 17 July 2012 and that the finance ministers are supposed to elect a successor. Naturally not a word about candidates either.
In this blog entry, one detail of one ECOFIN issue ahead of the meeting 10 July 2012.
The Council background note offers an explanation about the governance cycle called the European Semester and the coming country-specific recommendations (page 5).
Just enough of a quote to present the issue at hand:
Without further discussion the Council is moreover due to issue, under this year's European Semester:
- recommendations to each member state on the economic policies set out in their national reform programmes;
- opinions on the fiscal policies set out in the member states' stability and convergence programmes; and
- a specific recommendation on the economic policies of the member states of the eurozone.
Since I express criticism when I see the need, it is fair to take note publicly when we find improvements. The ”paper trail” between the proposals from the Commission and the changes made by the Council is about to become clearer:
The Council will also issue explanations in cases where its recommendations or opinions do not comply with those proposed by the Commission, in accordance with the "comply or explain" principle established last year under the EU's "six-pack" of economic governance legislation.
Cosy relations among the member states are among the reasons for the severe euro crisis. An ounce less of club feeling and an ounce more of accountability in the future, we hope, while waiting for the profound reforms the eurozone needs.
No integration without representation!
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