Does the Eurozone need a Parliament?
The proposal to establish a “Parliament of the Eurozone” has re-emerged in the debate on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), particularly in France. In this context, we look beyond the institutional innovation at what might be the interest and scope of such a proposal and how it could be useful or even essential for a better functioning of the Eurozone.
Assessment: The parliamentary dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is currently flawed, with national parliaments as the true linchpin of the euro area, but a great variation in their involvement from one Member State to the other; the European Parliament still at the margins of the main processes (European Semester and monitoring of financial assistance from the European Stability Mechanism); and inter-parliamentary cooperation, initiated on the basis of Article 13 of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance, still in its infancy.
Effect: This highlights some of the shortcomings of the EMU: weak ownership of rules by actors; an ineffective coordination of economic policies between Member States as well as the lack of politicization of the issues, reduced to simply applying rules and not making collective choices.
Central claim: Since most of these issues are located at the intersection between national and European interest and competences, the strengthening of the parliamentary dimension can only take the form of specific inter-parliamentary mechanisms. This excludes, at least in the short and medium term, the idea of an exclusive role attributed to the European Parliament.
Options and “thought experiment”: The first option, minimalist, suggests improving the functioning of the existing inter-parliamentary cooperation by creating a specific Eurozone component. The second, intermediate, proposes setting up an Assembly, composed of national and European parliamentarians that would meet without changing the existing treaties. Finally, the last option, more ambitious (maximalist) as it requires a new legal basis, refers to the creation of a “Parliament of the Eurozone”, with its own competences, as a new permanent institution. This paper concludes that option two seems to respond best to the immediate challenges, while avoiding excessive legal hurdles.
This Policy paper is also available in href=”https://www.institutdelors.eu/01124267-Faut-il-un-Parlement-de-la-zone-euro.html” target=”” >French and German.