German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (L) and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem (2-R) laugh at the start of Eurogroup finance ministers meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 13 July 2015. Eurozone finance ministers were to discuss a range of issues including the election of the Eurogroup president and the current situation affecting Greece. EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ/dpa (recrop) +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Eurogroup changing of the guard: where is the democracy?

by Aris Telonis

Hoping for a change in politics, people across Europe, among them Greeks, Spaniards and Irish, will be celebrating the news that Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, and German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, are stepping down from the Eurogroup. Dijsselbloem announced he will leave politics but will remain president of the Eurogroup until the end of his Eurogroup term. Schäuble participated in his last Eurogroup meeting before moving to his new office in the German parliament. We may be at a crossroads with this change of personnel, but policies are likely to remain the same.
What strikes us about this Eurogroup “changing of the guard” is the how out of kilter member-state politics is with Eurogroup membership. A few weeks ago, there was no clue and little to predict if, when and what it would take to see such change. The only hint was that the president’s term ends at the end of the year.
But is it OK to be president of the Eurogroup if you are not an active politician back in your country? Is it OK to participate in the Eurogroup and take decisions while negotiations continue on forming a government back in your country? The counter-argument is that in such cases these people do not get involved in making the final decisions. But, do we know that? Are minutes taken and if so, published?
The whole story manifests the absence of democracy in the Eurogroup. This oxymoron, Democracy and Eurogroup, is the essence of our movement. We need to build a democratic Europe where all the decision-making and all the institutions are fully transparent to Europeans. It is urgent that we do it now. Join us at DiEM25 and let’s make it happen.
 
Aris is a member and volunteer of the DiEM25 movement.
 
Photo: EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ/dpa
 

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