MEP cries foul at attempt to curb French commissioner's powers

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Leaked memo says former finance minister Pierre Moscovici's powers in EU Commission will be shared with Latvian hardliner.

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MEP Sylvie Goulard, a spokesperson for the liberal ALDE group, asked for clarification from Commission president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker following a leaked document according to which the powers of French commissioner for economic and financial affairs Pierre Moscovici would be curtailed, reports EurActiv.

The Financial Times reported on September 29th that a leaked document from the Juncker team states in a footnote that any commission decision relating to euro area member state budgets “shall be prepared and submitted” by the commissioner for economic and monetary affairs “jointly” with Latvia’s Valdis Dombrovskis, described as a deficit hawk nominated to be vice-president for the Euro and social dialogue.

Natasha Bertaud, Juncker’s spokesperson, declined to comment on a decision that has not yet been made public. It is widely believed that Martin Selmayr, Juncker’s head of cabinet, is the author of the detail of the explosive footnote.

In the Juncker “mission letters” to the individual commissioners, no mention is made on joint decision-making concerning decisions regarding the member states performance on their state budgets.

In a written statement, Goulard asks the following questions:

  • Who is responsible for making decisions in the fields of the coordination and surveillance of member states' economic and budgetary policies? What does "jointly" mean in this instance?
  • Who will represent the European Commission at Eurogroup, ECOFIN and international level meetings?

The French MEP further states that the European Parliament needs to have this information before ALDE can give a vote of confidence to the College of Commissioners. She adds that the liberal political family doesn’t accept that these decisions remain “practical details which will be sorted out at a later stage”.

"We expect Jean-Claude Juncker to come to speak to the European Parliament to give clear answers to these questions. The press seems to have access to documents that MEPs don't," she said in her written statement.

Speaking to a small group of journalists, Goulard said that she wanted to know who at the end would decide on sanctions on countries under budget deficit.

Read more of this report from EurActiv.

Read Mediapart's coverage of the issue here.

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