Interparliamentary Conference: the EU should give more focus and assistance to the Member States for protecting external borders and combating the shadow economy

17 October 2013, Last updated at, 16:49 EET
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B. Bradauskas | author: O. Posaškova

During the first session of the Interparliamentary Conference on Economic and Financial Governance of the European Union taking place at the Seimas, the participants discussed the goals and vision of the Conference.

When delivering his report, Bronius Bradauskas, Chair of the Committee on Budget and Finance, highlighted that the impetus and legal framework for the Interparliamentary Conference was first of all provided by the Treaty of Lisbon that, among other things, aimed to strengthen the role of national Parliaments in the EU legislative and decision-making process.

Mr Bradauskas said that the Interparliamentary Conference could serve as the forum for regular dialogue between the European Commission and the national Parliaments during the European Semester. “Therefore we think that the Conference should be coordinated with the cycle of the European Semester. The Commission, in its turn, should make a commitment to send to the Conference the top officials responsible for economic and financial governance and, first and foremost, the Commissioner responsible for this area,” stressed the Chair of the Committee on Budget and Finance presenting the proposal. He highlighted that national Parliaments should not compete with the European Parliament over parliamentary scrutiny at the EU level but more effectively control the Council of the EU – another player in the EU legislative process – through the national component of the Council, i.e. national governments.

Speaking on the shadow economy, Mr Bradauskas identified a number of issues such as protection of the EU external borders and cutting off the roots of the shadow economy. “We all suffer from smuggling, be it traditional goods such as alcohol, tobacco or fuel or be it psychotropic substances that most negatively reflect on society. Therefore, I believe that the EU should give more focus and assistance to the Member States bordering third countries, in particular when purchasing and introducing the most advanced technologies,” said the Chair of the Committee. He stated that the shadow economy could be more effectively addressed within the EU by improving tax policy and customs procedures, harmonising agricultural benefits and solving other issues.

Philippe Marini, President of the Finance Commission of the French Senate, pointed out that the Interparliamentary Conference could become a unique opportunity for the Member States to present the economic reforms carried out. Highlighting the importance of understanding and cooperation among the national Parliaments, European Parliament and EU institutions, he assured that consolidation of public finances was essential for achieving the secure environment and sustainable Economic and Monetary Union enabling long-term projects and continuation of the euro.

Outlining the after-effects of the financial crisis, Othmar Karas, Vice-President of the European Parliament, noted that the existing problems could be solved only jointly by sharing responsibility. In his opinion, it was too early to talk about the end of the crisis and it was urgent to work hand in hand in order to implement the proposals for reform, in particular to complete the banking union.

 

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