The euro is a political project, and that means it requires political supervision and democratic accountability. You are the Parliament of the European Union but you are also the Parliament of the euro, and this is why I wanted President Schulz to contribute to our roadmap for the Economic and Monetary Union – the Five Presidents' Report we presented last June and Jeroen was referring to. [...]
The Five Presidents' Report makes clear that the Parliament should play a central role, starting with its power to legislate, but also its power to hold accountable. The Commission is the natural ally of this House to make sure this is the case, even more so in the future. [...]
However, if the Five Presidents adopted the approach you find in our Report, it is because we were convinced, and I know the large majority of you is equally convinced, that out first task is to implement what was agreed by Parliament and Council, and focus on what we have just put in place. Rather than create new uncertainty, let us fully use our newly agreed tools and make them work to best effect. And we know the provisions of the six-pack and two-pack legislation, which are in force for just a few years, are both far-reaching and useful in terms of Parliament's involvement.
All this is part of our pragmatic yet ambitious approach to completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union.
As we promised in the Five Presidents' Report, we have already launched the Stage 1 of the roadmap, the one which is expected to last until mid-2017. We are "deepening by doing", which means we are using existing powers and tools to work towards Economic Union, Financial Union, Banking Union and Political Union. It is pragmatic, but it is ambitious.
And it is in this stage where we, the Five Presidents said: we will make use of all the possibilities, including legislative, within the existing Treaties. This is why I associated your President to this Report. Because we need this Parliament as our strong partner during this phase.
One concrete example is the recommendation for the economic policy of the euro area that we have for the first time issued already in November, as promised, at the start of the new European Semester. [...]
And we are also coming forward already now with legislation wherever this is needed, for instance to complete our Banking Union or deepen our Capital Market Union. Just think of our proposal for a European Deposit Insurance Scheme. What could be more urgent than protecting the savings of our citizens and reinforcing their trust in the banking system?
It is not for the Commission to say how the Parliament wishes to organise itself but let me share today a few thoughts on how we might deepen the cooperation between our Institutions under Stage 1. Now, as we are moving towards Stage 2, which we plan to initiate in spring 2017 on the basis of a White Paper.
First, I think it is good practice that the Commission would seek the views of the European Parliament before we adopt our Annual Growth Survey, as we did this year. I would also hope that priorities for the next European Semester could be debated in as many Committees as possible.
Second, the Commission is fully committed to making the European Parliamentary Week, which is organised under your steer, Mr President, a key moment in our economic governance, also to bring national Parliaments into the process. In our view, these exchanges would best take place at the start of each year, to shape the European Union and euro area priorities ahead of national discussions on Member States' programmes.
And third, when a Member State is pursuing an adjustment programme, we should make full use of the practice of the Commission reporting to Parliament after each review of the programme's implementation. And I know there are further reflections ongoing within this House as to how this could be best done, and I will be happy to consider these in due time.
These arrangements should be part of a new practice between our two Institutions, based on reinforced political dialogue. Our two Institutions have a common interest to succeed for our citizens. I believe everything which strengthens the Parliament will also strengthen the Commission. And I believe the Parliament should be vigilant to preserve the role of the Commission in all these discussions. [...]
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