Diogo Feio is a Portuguese MEP and member of the European People’s Party (EPP). At the "European Breakfast" organized by the ENA (France’s Ecole nationale d’administration), Mr. Feio gave a speech on the theme of "Economic governance and the challenges facing the European Union". In a video interview with touteleurope.eu, he talks about his work within the economic and monetary affairs committee and what he thinks of the solutions to the crisis in the EU.
Your report was written in the context of the economic governance package. What recommendations does it contain?
The economic governance package has been approved by the European Parliament. There are three main groups of proposals: one on the preventative and corrective section of the Stability and Growth Pact; another to prevent macroeconomic imbalances between States; and one on the budgetary framework. I was in charge of the report on the corrective part of the Pact which is the most difficult part. The main point of this report is the introduction of debt criteria which is very important. I also propose that debt reduction not be annualised but rather that it be organised over a three-year period to give Member States greater flexibility.
At the Europe training sessions that it runs every year, the ENA gives the audience privileged access to MEPs during the plenary sessions in Strasbourg. As part of the 2010-2011 cycle on the theme of ‘The new financial regulation in Europe’, the next breakfast will take place on December 15th in the Strasbourg buildings and will focus on the topic ‘Europe 2020 – what is the EU’s strategy for sustainable development?’ German MEP, Jo Leinen, will be in attendance.
What is your assessment of the October 26th European Council?
I think that the European Commission should be in charge of economic governance in Europe. The Council’s proposals are not very good and could be improved. Today in Europe, there are many presidents – of the Commission, the European Council, the European Parliament, the Eurogroup, the group that assists the Eurogroup – which means a lot of personalities! We must be more flexible and we need a stronger European Commission for better economic governance.
What is your opinion of the European Commission’s recent proposals for economic governance?
They are on the right track but we are still lacking a plan. There is a plan for stability but let’s not forget that the Pact is for stability and then for growth! Europe must also have a plan for growth. We also need decisions to be made more quickly; the economic governance package was debated in Parliament for a year which is far too long! Europe needs to be able to make fast and effective decisions where possible.
What is your country’s situation at the moment?
Portugal is now heading in the right direction. We signed a memorandum of understanding with the Troika that is currently being implemented. This is supported by a large majority as the memorandum was signed by the main parties: my party (the Christian Democrats) and the two opposition parties. My party is currently in government; the Socialist Party abstained from the budget. We have established rules for stability that require difficult austerity measures which the country needs. In time, these measures will enable Portugal to return to growth.
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