Citizens’ consultation for the Citizens ManifestoThursday April 25th 2013, 14:00-17:30
European Information Centre, Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia, Bratislava
|Find out more information about the Citizens Manifesto and about the Bratislava consultation.You can download the findings of this citizens’ consultation here.|
Table Discussions: Issues Discussed and Key Proposals Put Forth
The proposals numbered below were elaborated through discussions using the World Café methodology and reflect the positions of the majority of participants to the citizens’ consultation, even though ideas and positions were diverse and sometimes in disagreement. Some of the proposals raised during different discussions were merged here for the purpose of clarity. If you’d like to react to or comment a proposal or put forward other ideas, please use the “comment” box at the bottom of the page.
Panel:Monika Martiskova (European Alternatives), Brigita Schmognerova (former Minister of Finance and former Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), Zsolt Gal (Comenius University Bratislava)The key question was the participation of the citizens in the fiscal integration of the EU. At the beginning the experts introduced their position towards fiscal integration in the EU. Then they discussed the reasons for fiscal integration in Europe.
Brigita Schmognerova, former minister of finance (1998-2002) said it is not only about fiscal integration. The fiscal integration in the shape of common, strictly enforced deficit targets itself won´t help to solve the problems in the EU countries, much broader policies are needed. The austerity measures are not the way out of the crisis.
Zsolt Gal,Commenius university in Bratislava, the second expert invited, said that economic theory about optimum currency areas does not really fit to EMU. However, the europroject should be continued and the only way is the fiscal integration. Both participants agreed that fiscal integration is necessary step after the creation of monetary union.
Finally the panel participants and attendees discussed the roots of crisis, with the emphasis on the bailouts in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus.
4. Fiscal harmonization needs to be followed by tax harmonization. Measures to harmonize taxes are much more needed than the currently proposed „fiscal harmonization“. The current system of taxation allows multinational to use loopholes provided by the complexity of jurisdictions they operate in. There is currently a momentum for vastly increasing transparency. The Withholding Tax Directive will most likely be amended to widen the type of assets as well as countries covered by automatic information exchange. The European Commission has proposed new measures to harmonize information gathering to prevent VAT frauds and there have been major advances recently in pushing for country-by-country reporting. The momentum should be kept and this should be seen as one of the main tasks of Europe’s civil society.
Panel: Jan Zaborsky (editor, Trend economics weekly), Juraj Draxler (Centre for European Policy Studiesand European Alternatives), Viliarm Palenik (Slovak Academy of Sciencesand a member of the European Economic and Social Committee)The discussion was opened by Viliam Palenik, an economist from the Slovak academy of Sciences, member of ECOSOC. He described how ECOSOC tries to steer EU’s discussion on banking union. He mentioned how some proposals that ECOSOC recommended were not adopted into EU legislation, for example a „red card“ rule – disqualification for managers who were on boards of bankrupt financial institutions to be appointed to boards of other institutions.
The debate then continued by interventions from Juraj Draxler, who described the broad outline of the proposed banking union as well as the challenges facing modern banking.
|EU’s financial integration machine and the citizen
Moderation: Jan Zaborsky (editor, Trend economics weekly)
Panel: Iveta Radicova (Slovak Prime Minister 2010-2012), Brigita Schmognerova (former Minister of Finance and former Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and Juraj Draxler (Centre for European Policy Studiesand European Alternatives)In the latest part of the day, high profile panelists debated heatedly the roots of the crisis and the problematic nature of the solutions. Iveta Radicova, the former PM of Slovakia, insisted there is nothing problematic in the European Council taking the lead position in the integration process. At the same time she defended the European Council‘s somewhat secretive meetings by saying there were necessary.
Brigita Schmognerova and Juraj Draxler took a more critical view, underlining the fact that this sudden turn to intergovernmentalism has badly damaged long-fought battles to increase transparency and democratic accountability which culminated in the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty giving more power to the European Parliament, creating the European Citizen’s Initiative, etc. They also took issue with Radicova’s assertion that „differences in Europe are normal, they go back hundreds of years“ and there is no danger of intergation process running aground. Both pointed out that European enlargement helped to stabilize those countries that acceded through „Mediterranean Enlargement“, which were all dictatorship still in mid-1970s, as well as the post-communist mamber states, to which the prospect of accession gave an impetus for a major legislative overhaul strengthening the rule of law in 1990s and early 2000s.
Most of the discussion thus revolved around the rebalancing the role of European institutions in further integration processes but also bringing more transparency to the procedures. One specific point raised was he problem of national leaders acting „in the European interest“ while in Brussels but playing to narrow domestic interests immediately when back home.