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MEPs threaten Council over ECB appointment

By Ian Wishart  -  02.11.2012 / 15:15 CET
Member states are being “dishonourable” by trying to formalise Yves Mersch's executive board position over the holiday weekend; co-operation on banking union plans at risk.
A major row has erupted between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers over what MEPs see as a “dishonourable” move to appoint Yves Mersch to the executive board of the European Central Bank while European Union institutions are closed.  

The Council – representing member states – is set to make Mersch's appointment official by Monday (5 November), choosing to fast-track the process without holding a meeting or formal vote.  

MEPs are furious that the Council is moving ahead with the appointment despite the Parliament last week (25 October) voting against it.  

Sven Giegold, a German Green MEP, suggested that the Parliament could retaliate by reducing its co-operation on draft legislation connected to the EU's single banking supervisor proposals, for which he is leading the Parliament's work.  

“Co-operation works both ways,” he said today.  

“We are doing everything we can to help the Council on the banking union but how can there be mutual trust if they go ahead and push their opinion in such a dishonourable way?”  

The Parliament's vote last week was not legally binding but MEPs had hoped that it would force member states into a re-think.  

Instead, the decision looks likely to be approved by written procedure – the final stage in the appointment process – this weekend. EU institutions were closed yesterday and today (1-2 November) for All Saints and All Souls days.  

MEPs voted against Mersch's appointment because it would mean that the ECB executive board will be exclusively male until 2018 at the earliest.
Sylvie Goulard, a French Liberal MEP, said that the way that the Council was attempting to appoint Mersch by written procedure did not meet the requirement of “sincere co-operation” between the different EU institutions, enshrined in the EU treaties.  

“To make a written procedure over a long weekend on something that the Parliament disagrees with is obviously a trick,” she said.  

“They are ignoring what we said and you have to question the legitimacy.”

Goulard said that she was holding talks with officials in several eurozone capitals in an attempt to get them to stop the process.
© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.

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