Minimum standards for parliamentary participation in the European Semester

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Publication Date 18/01/2019
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This Policy Paper argues that the European Semester currently suffers from a lack of both ownership and accountability: Member states are reluctant to follow and implement the country- specific recommendations which they do not see as “theirs”. Many elements of the European Semester are endorsed by the Council, but rarely sufficiently debated at the national level. At the same time, it is difficult for parliaments to hold the executive at national and EU levels accountable for its conduct and decisions. These two phenomena severely hamper the efficiency of the European Semester as a tool for economic and fiscal policy coordination and monitoring. As a way of tackling this problem, national parliaments should consider adopting minimum standards for parliamentary participation. This Policy Paper examines when and how national parliaments could be involved in the European Semester and proposes a working group to draw up the precise arrangements. This would allow better parliamentary involvement during the European Semester cycles under the next European Commission from 2019 to 2024. The next meeting of national parliaments and the European Parliament to discuss economic governance issues such as the European Semester is scheduled to take place on 18 and 19 February 2019 in Brussels. The “European Parliamentary Week” and the “Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance” that will bring together around 200 members of national parliaments and the European Parliament could well be an early and opportune moment to discuss parliamentary involvement in the European Semester.

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