4 years ago

Who is who in the new European Parliament committees

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When we first floated the idea to publish a magazine on the committees of the European Parliament, enthusiasm was low. It couldn't be that interesting, could it? But the ones who thought this would be a dull exercise, were very wrong.


ECON The European Union will need more integration and economic and fiscal instruments to survive the next economic and financial crisis. By Koert Debeuf The European Commission, together with ECON, worked on new instruments to control and regulate banks and financial products. Economic and Monetary Affairs New EU financial instruments needed And that is no doubt what they will do in the five years to come. Unfortunately, the chairman of the ECON committee didn't answer EUobserver's questions, but luckily, Mario Draghi gave a farewell speech in which he talked about the challenges in economic and monetary affairs. Irene Tinagli (S&D, Italy) chairs the ECON committee. Photo: © European Union 2019 – Source: EP The European Parliament's committee for economic and monetary affairs (ECON) has been at the heart of the biggest crisis the European Union has seen since its foundation. The financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009 has shaken the EU to its foundations. Not only were banks collapsing and people lost their savings, the euro was under severe pressure too. For the first time since its introduction, in 2002 in 12 EU countries, people started to believe that the debt crisis could make the eurozone break up, with Greece as the first country to give up the single currency. When Greece was saved, investors started to speculate on the budgetary collapse of Italy and Spain, two of the largest European countries. Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB) stepped in and gave the only message that would stop the speculation: "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough." However, the ECB was not the only institution that took action. Draghi argued that after years of crises or weak growth, the ECB has exhausted its conventional policy arsenal to stimulate growth and that new institutional instruments are needed. "It is plain to see that now is the time for more Europe, not less," Draghi said, adding that a common budget for the EU was necessary so there would be a centralised capacity to stabilise the monetary union. "Today, we are in a situation where low interest rates are not delivering the same degree of stimulus as in the past, because the rate of return on investment in the economy has fallen," Draghi continued. "Monetary policy can still achieve its objective, but it can do so faster and with fewer side effects if fiscal policies are aligned with it," he added. Just as armies are perfectly trained to win the last war, instead of the next, the EU's instruments are not ready to deal with the next financial and economic crisis. Therefore it will be an enormous challenge for the ECON committee to think ahead, together with the European Commission and the national governments to make sure the EU economy and the euro will survive a future crisis. The chairwoman is Irene Tinagli (S&D, Italy). The coordinators are: Markus Ferber (EPP, Germany), Jonas Fernandez (S&D, Spain), Luis Garicano (Renew, Spain), Sven Giegold (Greens/EFA, Germany), Gunnar Beck (ID, Germany), Derk-Jan Eppink (ECR, the Netherlands), José Gusmao (GUE/NGL, Portugal). 14 — EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES

EMPL Employment and Social Affairs The labour market is not ready for the future The European labour market will face enormous challenges with its combination of an ageing population, climate change and a digital transformation and will increase the east-west divide in Europe. By Koert Debeuf The chairman of the committee for employment and social affairs (EMPL), Lucia Duris Nicholsonova (ECR, Slovakia), writes in her welcome to the committee website that EMPL is "responsible for employment and all aspects of social policy including working conditions, social security, social inclusion and social protection; the free movement of workers and pensioners; workers' rights; health and safety measures at the workplace; the European Social Fund; vocational training policy, including professional qualifications; social dialogue; and all forms of discrimination at the workplace and in the labour market except those based on sex." However, her most important worry is that "we are not ready for the challenge of ageing population, climate and digital transformation." With the commission, the committee will discuss the European Pillar of Social Rights and a number of initiatives within it, such as Child Guarantee and full implementation of the Work-Life Balance Directive. On top of that, Duris Nicholsonova promises to "keep on fighting poverty more efficiently and guarantee children access to basic services such as childcare," and to work on the pay and pension gap of female workers. Despite the fact that all these dossiers seem to be consensual challenges, several political parties see different solutions. But probably more important will be the divide between 'eastern' and 'western' member states. Duris Nicholsonova quotes figures from the European Commission saying that "around 17 percent of jobs in the EU are at risk of being automated and nearly one-inthree jobs will change significantly. The jobs threat from automation is varying from less than 10 percent in Finland to a shocking 33 percent in Slovakia. "Moreover," she continues, "in spite of a downward trend in the last years, still a shocking 22.4 percent of the Union population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the Union in 2017, and 24.9 percent of children are concerned by poverty and social exclusion (from 14.2 percent in Czech Republic to 41.7 percent in Romania)." According to Duris Nicholsonova "the differing level of employment social standards and rules on the crossborder provision of services, where they have a significant effect as competitive factors" have proved to be divisive between those states. Here she hopes that as chair of the EMPL committee and as an "elected member of a 'new member state'" to play a role in bridging that gap. The committee will also try to "have more efficient EU funding and avoid misusing of the funds on clearly inefficient or fraudulent projects". Lucia Duris Nicholsonova (ECR, Slovakia) chairs the EMPL committee. Photo: Lucia Duris Nicholsonova These figures summarise the challenges of the EMPL committee. An interesting new point on the agenda might come from the commission, as the committee called on it "to examine the possibility for a proposal for a European Social Security Number without undue delay." It is clear that the EMPL committee will be one to watch in the years to come. Coordinators: Dennis Radtke (EPP, Germany), Agnes Jongerius (S&D, Netherlands), Dragos Pislaru (Renew, Romania), Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (Greens/ EFA, Denmark), France Jamet (ID, France), Elzbieta Rafalska (ECR, Poland), Nikolaj Villumsen (GUE/ NGL, Denmark). EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES — 15

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