Calls to replace troika with EU body

The three-pronged team of inspectors that presided over the bailouts of euro-area countries, including Greece and Ireland, should be scrapped and replaced with a European Union-based body, EU Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said yesterday.

The ‘troika’, comprising officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, has overseen rescue programmes since the start of the debt crisis in 2010.

“The troika should be replaced with a more democratically legitimate and more accountable structure based around European institutions with enhanced parliamentary control,” Mr Moscovici told an audience at the Bruegel policy group in Brussels.

Lawmakers in bailed-out countries and in the European Parliament have criticised the troika for a lack of accountability and for its demands on governments to push through austerity measures while unemployment rose and economic growth slowed.

Mr Moscovici said the troika “was useful and necessary” at the time, “but now I think we need another step.”

In a non-binding opinion published last week, EU Court of Justice Advocate General Pedro Cruz Villalon said the ECB should not monitor rescue programmes of countries benefiting from its Outright Monetary Transactions bond-buying programme.

That opinion “appears to want to prohibit the European Central Bank from remaining a member of the troika”, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said last Friday.

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