We are more aware today of the need for change within the EU than any time during the last ten years. Since 2010 the Euro Group, which is made up of European Finance Ministers, has successfully sidelined the elected European Parliament. In effect the Euro group operates outside of the Treaties and is no longer accountable to either National or European Parliaments.
The Euro Group now controls all economic policy, the supervision of private banks the rescue packages given to failing states, like Greece, and policy on Austerity.
“Who (then) scrutinizes the executive operations of the institutions making up the Troika? Who monitors the decisions taken within the European Council of the Heads of State or Government of the Euro Area? Who knows exactly what is negotiated within the two core committees of the Euro Group, i.e. the Economic Policy Committee and the Economic and Financial Committee?… the many criticisms voiced against that Euro Area government seem well deserved, starting with Jürgen Habermas‘ denunciation of a “post-democratic autocracy”. (1)
Because of the deliberate but structurally undemocratic fault lines’ existence, as Guillaume Sacriste (2) says, “It favours a significant lack of responsiveness to the very pointed signals sent by national electoral processes, which persistently feature the rise of far right populism. There is, therefore, an urgent need to upgrade democratic values and place representative politics at the core of European economic policies. It is high time to get rid of the opacity and lack of political accountability which have so far characterised this new European power by inserting a democratically elected institution at its heart. Only a Parliamentary Assembly would indeed have the sufficient legitimacy to hold this Euro Area government politically accountable.”
The citizens of Europe are aware that the unchallenged neoliberal policies being pursued by the Eurogroup are not working for them and their elected representatives seem incapable of controlling the unregulated spread of global neoliberal policies. If the positive noises coming from MEPs in speeches within Parliament are to mean anything they need to take back overall control giving elected members of Parliament democratic oversight of the workings of its institutions.
1. Antoine Vüauchez is Research Professor at Universite Paris 1-Sorbonne.
Jürgen Habermas’ denunciation of a “post-democratic autocracy”
2. Guillaume Sacriste is a Researcher at the Centre de Recherche Publique at the Sorbonne.
The quotes are from https://www.socialeurope.eu/2017/04/treaty-democratizing-euro- area-governance-t-dem/