Bowles: EU member states want to continue hiding debts

Sharon Bowles MEPThis morning the European Parliament suspended trialogue negotiations with member states on legislation regarding the disclosure of information of national and regional public accounts.

The Parliament’s negotiating team, led by rapporteur Sharon Bowles MEP, issued the following statement:              

“Three years down the line and some EU governments are incredibly still blind to the most basic lessons to come out of the sovereign debt crisis.   

“While this afternoon EU finance ministers will be discussing ways to solve the crisis,  member states are simultaneously refusing to release key data on public liabilities linked to pensions and bank bailouts, making it difficult to believe that future banking union talks can succeed.

“The Danish Presidency announced to Parliament negotiators today that a blocking minority made up of Germany, France, Italy and Portugal staunchly opposes releasing data on government liabilities stemming from public pension schemes, guarantees to banks and public corporations where they have a large impact on public budgets. 

“With memories still fresh of the disastrous consequences of statistical cover-ups in Greece, the Parliament believes it is highly irresponsible behaviour on the part of those member states.

“The economic governance package (the so-called ‘six-pack’) agreed last autumn requires member states to start releasing data on public sector liabilities, but now it seems that this “coalition of the shy” are trying to wriggle out of this promise, or prevaricate over the delivery of data.

“It is saddening and worrying that the gulf between what government representatives say and in the end do is still as wide as ever. This is not the road to credibility.”


Note to editors:

The Commission proposal on ESA 2010 includes a detailed methodology, and a data transmission programme. The EP’s economic and monetary affairs committee voted in favour of the methodology to release governments´ pension liabilities data, only to see Council now opposing it. This methodology has been discussed and agreed at an international level, with the adoption of the 2008 System of National Accounts by the United Nations.

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