Remarks to the Plenary session, Strasbourg

Los Angeles

The following comments were delivered during the October 2014 Plenary session in Strasbourg:

Mr President, it is disappointing that Member States have a poor uptake of the country-specific recommendations. However, the low uptake of CSRs should not result in measures which, if made binding recommendations, would effectively force Member States to follow a centralised plan for their country’s economic development.

We need to consider whether the fault lies with the Member States for failing to embrace helpful actions or whether the CSRs are less useful than the Commission implies. When you assess the ability of public bodies to forecast, compared to private forecasting for economic data, the Commission does not come out well. Neither does the IMF. They are typically ranked in the bottom quartile, while banks and fund analysts dominate the top.

I, therefore – like many – need convincing that the indicators that the Commission is using are correct and are appropriately tailored to the specifics of each country. The European Semester should remain a plan of mutual respect and not a centralised plan that cannot take into account real economic activity.