Sant: EU should maintain democratic control and accountability in times of crisis

Sant votes in favour of European Central Bank report for 2020 but expresses unease at role ECB assums in strategic fire-fighting

Labour MEP Alfred Sant
Labour MEP Alfred Sant

Labour MEP Alfred Sant has voted in favour of the European Central Bank’s report for 2020 but expressed unease at how the ECB, not for the first time, seems to assume a leading role in strategic fire-fighting or policy innovation.

The European Parliament, through this report, gives its assessment of the ECB strategy, the implications of the monetary policies and the decisions it has taken with respect to the pandemic crisis.

In a statement to the plenary of the European Parliament, Alfred Sant noted that the ECB has been an essential element in the ongoing effort to contain and repair the economic and financial damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For quite a while, till the recovery package was fully negotiated by the EU partners, the ECB seemed like the only actor at EU level with a proactive and concrete strategy able to do so. The launch of the specially designed pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) was indicative of this, serving as an 'adequate' early response.

“In the US, Federal Reserve action to counter the pandemic was paralleled almost right from the start by fiscal responses from the US government side,” Sant said, adding that although ECB action was underpinned by national budgetary initiatives while eurozone rules were relaxed, it is not the same thing.

“Surely allowing at EU level, an 'independent' technocratic set-up to lead the charge is tantamount to loosening the constraints of democratic control and accountability that the EU needs to maintain, especially during extremely serious crisis situations”, Alfred Sant told the European Parliament.”

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