Parliament sees a considerable amount of EU business in the main chamber, often nodded through without debate. Here’s today’s motion (emphasis mine):
3 EUROPEAN SEMESTER IN THE UK [No debate]
Mr Mark Hoban
That the Committee takes note of European Union Documents No. 10834/12, relating to the Commission Communication: Action for stability, growth and jobs; No. 10557/12 and Addendum, relating to the draft Council Recommendation on the United Kingdom’s 2012 national reform programme and delivering a Council opinion on the United Kingdom’s convergence programme for 2012–2017; and No. 10846/12, relating to a Commission Staff Working Document: In depth review for the United Kingdom in accordance with Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No. 1176/2011 on the prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances; welcomes the Commission’s support for the Government’s efforts to reduce the deficit and set the public finances on a sustainable path, which is consistent with the conclusions reached by the IMF and the OECD in their recent reviews of the UK economy; takes note of the Commission’s efforts to address timing difficulties with the European Semester; welcomes the Government’s approach to promoting growth domestically and at EU level; and welcomes the Government’s policy of securing assurances that the UK cannot be subject to sanctions in respect of the Stability and Growth Pact or the new Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure [4th Report of Session 2012-13, HC 86-iv, Chapter 3].
To be decided without debate (Standing Order No. 119(11)).
The first thing you’ll notice is that it is scarcely intelligible, technocratic gibberish. One might ask what our EU “convergence programme” is. Why does the EU think it can prevent or correct “macroeconomic imbalances”. And what is the “European Semester in the UK” anyway?
European semester: a new architecture for the new EU Economic governance – Q&A
What is the European semester?
The economic crisis has revealed a clear need for stronger economic governance and coordination at EU level. Until now, discussions between the EU and Member States on economic priorities and structural reforms were taking place through different processes. Reports were issued separately and decisions spread across the year with no clear synergies or linkages.
The European semester means the EU and the euro zone will coordinate ex ante their budgetary and economic policies, in line with both the Stability and Growth Pact and the Europe 2020 strategy.
The EU Semester starts with the Annual Growth Survey, in which the Commission provides a solid analysis on the basis of the progress on Europe 2020 targets, a macro-economic report and the joint employment report, and sets out an integrated approach to recovery and growth, concentrating on key measures. This applies to the EU as a whole and will then be translated into country-specific recommendations.
This will allow ex ante economic coordination at EU level while national budgets are still under preparation (See Annex 1).
It’s dire: this is not how Europe should be governed. That’s why I am signed up to IFPE – Initiative for a Free and Prospering Europe, which calls for a free Europe.