Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-02-05-Speech-2-027"

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"Mr President, for more than a year we in Parliament's negotiating teams, together with the Commission and the Council of Ministers, have been struggling with a puzzle. We have all agreed with Baron Lamfalussy and his wise men that effective regulation of financial markets and the creation of a single financial market require us to delegate powers to the Commission and to a more nimble official committee. But there has been a key problem. Although this House was given the power of codecision vis-à-vis such legislation by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, it was not given the power to oversee effectively the role of any committee. What we have seen of such committees in the past, we have not liked; they have been secretive, bureaucratic, Kafkaesque. One condition on which my group insisted was that this culture of secrecy must change fundamentally, opening up decision-making not only to us in Parliament, but to the world outside. We needed guarantees of transparency, openness and consultation. Here they are in the President's statement and in the letter that Commissioner Bolkestein addressed to the chairperson of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. But how were we to ensure that those promises of a changed culture, so often honoured in the breach, were finally respected? It became clear that no lasting change could happen before the convention and the intergovernmental conference of 2004 had been concluded. Only an IGC could change Article 202, which basically gives sole rights of oversight of committees to the Council of Ministers, ignoring the new role of Parliament. We needed a promise that our concerns, ignored in successive treaty revisions, would be taken on board. We needed an interim solution that meant that Europe's savers and investors did not have to wait still longer before the completion of the single market in financial services, which was first launched in 1973. The health of the European economy depends on this legislation. A vital and dynamic economy depends on an efficient financial system for collecting savings and funnelling them at low cost to the most productive uses. It was long clear to the Liberal Group that the only interim solution would be to put a time limit on the delegated powers. For the first time in EU legislation, we will have a sunset clause that will remove the powers of the Commission and the committee after four years unless they are used wisely and well. Thankfully, the initial opposition of the Socialist Group and the European People's Party, together with concerns about legal uncertainty, were overcome. Any regulations passed by the committee will remain on the statute book even if its powers are suspended, but Parliament can bite if it needs to. This is an important moment for liberalisation of the European economy. The deal will underpin the euro – for what is a single currency if the markets on which it is traded are still divided by national barriers? It will give confidence that, whatever the challenges ahead for economic and monetary union, the European Union can surmount them, and it shows that Parliament is a serious and responsible legislature and partner in economic reform. The Lisbon reform process is back on track. I wholeheartedly congratulate Mr von Wogau, our rapporteur, and commend this report to the House."@en1

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