The European Parliament will carry out tasks within EMU at three levels:

Parliament's Legislative Role

The European Parliament must be consulted, and a parliamentary vote taken, on:

(1) In the latter case, and on most changes to the Statute, Parliament's "assent" is needed.

upParliament's Supervisory Role

Parliament's most important role within EMU will be in relation to the European Central Bank.

Under the Treaty, the Bank will enjoy full independence in determining monetary policy. It alone will have responsibility for setting short-term interest rates and for using other monetary instruments necessary to preserve the stability of the Euro.

But this operational independence of the ECB will be balanced by accountability for its actions to the directly-elected European Parliament.

*Rule 36

  • The candidate nominated as President of the European Central Bank shall be invited to make a statement before the committee responsible and answer questions put by members.
  • The committee responsible shall make a recommendation to Parliament as to whether the nomination should be approved.
  • The vote shall take place within two months of the receipt of the nomination unless Parliament, at the request of the committee responsible, a political group or at least twenty-nine Members, decides otherwise.
  • If the opinion adopted by Parliament is negative, the President shall request the Council to withdraw its nomination and submit a new nomination to Parliament.
  • The same procedure shall apply for nominations for Vice-President and Executive Board Members of the European Central Bank and for President of the European Monetary Institute.

upParliament's Deliberative Role

Commission and Council must report to Parliament on all major decisions and developments in the field of general economic policy. These may form the basis of

In particular, Commission and Council must report to Parliament in the framework of

When a recommendation for action by a particular country has been made public, the President of the Council may be required to appear before the competent committee of Parliament.

Parliament must also be informed of:

upParliament's view of EMU

The European Parliament has consistently supported the achievement of Economic and Monetary Union within Europe. A delegation from the Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy participated in the negotiations which preceded the drafting of the Maastricht Treaty. Numerous resolutions of Parliament have since

"reaffirmed the contribution of monetary union to the deepening of the European Union, the completion of the internal market, prosperity and employment, and hence greater political and economic security".

Parliament has also given specific support in its debates and resolutions to the primary objective of sustainable price stability ; and, in consequence, to the need for independent national and European Central Banks.

More recently Parliament has drawn attention to the wider economic context of monetary union and above all to the continuing high rates of unemployment. Though Parliament has supported the limitations on national public deficits and borrowing, it has also supported Commission's 1993 proposals for increased public investment at Community level. For example, its resolution in May 1996 on the Commission's Economic Report for 1996 declared that

"the expansion of Community financial instruments such as the EIB and EIF, as well as the creation of Community bonds, for the financing of Community investment projects, is vital for a successful transition to EMU".

In the context of applying the qualifying criteria for Single Currency membership, Parliament has also drawn attention to the Treaty provisions which require account to be taken of "whether the government deficit exceeds government investment expenditure" - that is, distinguishing between current and capital expenditure.

A further concern of Parliament has been the need for a high level of public support for, and understanding of, the transition to a Single Currency. A resolution of November 1995 observes that this needs to be

"so simple and transparent that every citizen will grasp how the currency change-over will work".

On the original initiative of Parliament's Monetary Sub-Committee, a joint Parliament/Commission EMU information campaign in Member States has now been launched. Parliament has also itself established a Monetary Union Task Force within its own secretariat.

upThe Stability and Growth Pact The European Parliament voted on the draft Growth and Stability Pact Regulations on 28 November 1996. The report proposed a number of amendments, reflecting the general approach of Parliament to the Pact as a whole. These covered

At Parliament's insistence, the final version of the Pact provides that any fines and any interest on deposits made by Member States will be paid into the Community Budget.

upThe Euro and the citizen

Proposed Regulations on the introduction of the Euro as a Single Currency were voted on by Parliament on 28 November 1996. The report proposed a number of amendments, in particular measures to help the ordinary citizen adapt to the new currency. These included:

On 18 February 1997 Parliament also voted on a draft Directive on consumer protection and proposed an amendment so that

European parliament, Revised 27 April 1998