Thursday, 3 June 2010

European financial stabilisation mechanism ─ a ray of transparency

This blog has complained often enough about the dismal state of transparency with regard to the giant actions to shore up the euro currency: the economic rescue package for Greece, the European financial stabilisation mechanism and the Special Purpose Vehicle (some one trillion dollars in all, counting stand-by promises by the IMF).

Only the European financial stabilisation mechanism and supportive decisions by the European Central Bank (ECB) have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

I have called this “government by communiqés”.

Here is a link to:

COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) No 407/2010 of 11 May 2010 establishing a European financial stabilisation mechanism; published OJEU 12.5.2010 L 118/1.

Without Commission proposals published as preparatory documents on Eur-Lex, no paper trail has been established.

Because of our frequent complaints, we have a moral obligation to announce that (some three and a half weeks after the fact) the Commission’s proposal for the European financial stabilisation mechanism has now appeared among the most recent preparatory documents on Eur-Lex:

Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION establishing a European financial stabilization mechanism; Brussels, 9.5.2010 COM(2010) 2010 final (8 pages)

In retrospect and formally, we have a paper trail leading back from the published Council Regulation 407/2010 to the (preceding) Commission proposal.

At a first glance, the proposal seems to contain only the bare bones text of the adopted Regulation, so in practical terms it does not seem to add to our substantive knowledge.

I refrained from more detailed analysis.

Cultural imperialism?

At a trivial level, we note the difference in spelling between the proposals “stabilization” and the OJEU’s “stabilisation”, which reminded me of the dogged insistence of my own Microsoft Word programme to change my UK English settings into US English regardless of how often I reset. (In this case we can only guess if the correction was made by the Publications Office.)

US “cultural imperialism” risking the “special relationship”? Maybe the French and the British are going to find some common ground after all.

Something to think about, while we wait for the standards of openness to catch up with the magnitude of events.

Ralf Grahn

Update: The latest COM document published on Eur-Lex is: Brussels, 1.6.2010 COM(2010)242 final. Not only the timing, but the numbering of the Commission proposal mentioned in the blog post is interesting.