The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is a significant step forward in the EU’s economic governance architecture and an essential part of it. However, significant questions remain concerning the adequacy of the mechanisms enabling its oversight and accountability.
The TEU demands openness and transparency in decision-making processes, but the recent financial crisis strengthened the intergovernmental method and challenged the ‘openness’ of EU economic governance. The most painful, austere, and severe fiscal policies proposed by ESM macroeconomic adjustment programmes continue to be designed behind closed doors.
The Treaty establishing the ESM allows it to operate within a transparency framework very different from that applying to other economic institutions.
The ESM’s status as a non-EU body threatens the constitutional balance of the EU, impacting on the social and economic rights of citizens in the Member States under a memorandum of understanding.
Memoranda must be consistent with EC law, and the Commission is entrusted with the task of ensuring that the ESM makes its decisions within that framework.
Can the Commission state:
— Whether it assumes responsibility for its actions when acting as an agent of the ESM;
— How EU citizens can petition the ESM for access to documents;
— Whether it favours the possibility of the ESM being upgraded to become a full EU body?