EU/ECB/IMF troika ‘needs fixing’

Report says flaws in troika system compromised transparency and accountability

MEPs Liem Hoang Ngoc and Gay Mitchell, with Patrick Honohan, Governor of the Central Bank (centre). Photo: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

MEPs Liem Hoang Ngoc and Gay Mitchell, with Patrick Honohan, Governor of the Central Bank (centre). Photo: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 09:29

The EU/ECB/IMF troika helped four EU countries out of the crisis and prevented it from getting worse, but flaws in the way it worked compromised transparency and accountability, according to an economic and monetary affairs committee resolution passed yesterday.

The report on the committee’s inquiry into the workings of the Troika, drafted by Austrian MEP Othmar Karas and French MEP Liem Hoang-Ngoc, was approved by 31 votes to 10.

It found the three independent institutions of the Troika had an uneven distribution of responsibility between them, coupled with differing mandates, as well as negotiation and decision-making structures, all resulting in a lack of appropriate scrutiny and democratic accountability.

The report criticised the Troika system for taking a “one-size fits all” approach, saying national parliaments were too often left out of the equation.

It deplored the fact that EU institutions were made a scapegoat for the adverse effects of reforms, saying finance ministers should bear political responsibility for them.

EU finance ministers, particularly in the Eurogroup, are also criticised for failing to give clear and consistent political pointers to the Commission as regards the aims sought in return for financial assistance.

The report recommends a radical rethink, with the IMF to be used only “if strictly necessary”, the ECB present only as a “silent observer”, and the European Commission’s role taken over by a “European Monetary Fund”