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MEPs and Council agree terms for economic surveillance of eurozone

By Ian Wishart  -  21.02.2013 / 05:58 CET
Commission will monitor national budgets.
 

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WORTH THE WAIT British Liberal MEP Sharon Bowles said the legislation is a vital part of EU economic plans. REUTERS
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What it means
The two new regulations – which still have to receive approval from the full European Parliament and the Council of Ministers – will lead in the eurozone to more intrusive oversight of draft national budgets by the European Commission.

The Commission will inspect each budget plan annually before the goverment presents it to the national parliament. The Commission will warn member states if their budget plans do not conform to stability-and-growth-pact obligations or other economic policy recommendations.

The Commission will also have greater powers over countries in the eurozone that it judges to be “experiencing severe difficulties” with financial stability. The Commission could impose “enhanced surveillance” and recommend to the Council of Ministers that the country receives financial assistance.

Bank rules row
Talks between the European Parliament and Council of Ministers on tougher rules for banks broke down on Tuesday (19 February), with MEPs expressing irritation at member states' reluctance to compromise.

Negotiators had raised hopes that a deal was in reach between the two sides on the revised capital requirements directive and regulation – in part the European Union's tool for implementing globally agreed Basel III banking rules. But after an abortive meeting, another round has been scheduled for Wednesday (27 February).

MEPs who took part in the discussions said that they were dismayed that the Council was re-opening issues which they had believed were settled. The issue of a limit on bankers' bonuses remains one of the most difficult sticking points but further discussions are also needed on issues including the powers of the European Banking Authority, the flexibility of member states to impose stricter liquidity rules, bank transparency requirements and capital buffers for systemically important institutions.

A spokesperson for Ireland, which is leading the negotiations on behalf of member states, said “more intensive work” was needed. “We are very close to agreement and believe that we can finalise discussions,” the spokesperson said.

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