(06 February 2018) - In a report published yesterday, Transparency International states that the Eurogroup has evaded, and continues to evade, the accountability that its European-wide impact deserves.
The Eurogroup was created 20 years ago as an informal forum of the euro area finance ministers for discussion and policy coordination on “issues connected with their shared specific responsibilities for the single currency” – essentially a talking shop. Those member states who did not adopt the euro as their currency were keen to avoid the creation of an all-powerful ‘gouvernement économique’ that would exclude them.
The euro crisis utterly changed all that. Since then, EU governments have put in place reforms to strengthen the coordination of fiscal and economic policy among Member States. These efforts, however, have not gone hand in hand with a proportionate increase of democratic accountability, with the effect of widening the EU’s overall “democratic deficit”.
The individual finance ministers are, of course, accountable to national parliaments and voters in national elections. This decentralised accountability mechanism can work, but only under conditions that were not met in recent years, according to Transparency International.
The NGO sets out a number of incremental reforms to improve the Eurogroup’s lack of accountability. The report presents some scenarios as to how the institutional setup could evolve in the coming years.