You have no authority to decide on NPLs, Tajani tells Draghi

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani has sent European Central Bank (ECB) Governor Mario Draghi a letter defending the power vested in the European Parliament, as the directly elected body of the European Union, to have first say over dealing with non-performing loans (NPLs), Tajani said, here, on Friday, in joint statements with House of Representatives President Demetris Syllouris.

Tajani, on an official visit here, also referred to the Cyprus problem, expressing support for the peace process to end Turkey’s military occupation of Cyprus’ northern areas.

Speaking through an interpreter he said the European Parliament supports the negotiations aiming to create a single, free and independent country, under the aegis of the United Nations and without the military occupation of part of the island.

This is the Parliament’s view and as I told you we will continue to support the negotiating process so that we can reach a positive outcome, he added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, with the latest being talks in the Swiss resort Crans – Montana, have not been successful so far.

Referring to the content of his meeting with Syllouris, the European Parliament’s top official said that they discussed matters of political current affairs and focused on the news that an agreement has been reached on the framework for Brexit.

The European Parliament, he said, will express an opinion next week during the plenary with a resolution. He added that next Thursday he would notify of this opinion a meeting between heads of state and governments and afterwards it will be the Council’s turn to adopt its final position.

I am particularly happy that I will have the opportunity to address the Republic of Cyprus’ Parliament, because I consider that the Parliament is the main area where Democracy is expressed, Tajani pointed out. Much the same way, he noted, that the European Parliament is the main institutional body which is so close to citizens and peoples.

Referring to his initiative on the NPLs, he explained that this is so because he believes that the power should rest with the representatives of the people. He also said that on October 9 he sent a letter to ECB President stressing that it is not a matter of oversight of the Central Bank to decide new rules regarding NPLs.

“I wished to recall that it is not the job of a technocrat, no matter how high his position is, to impose rules on the ECB on the interests of citizens, the access of citizens or businesses to credit,” he added.

If rules should be in place for NPLs, it should be up to the legislator to adopt them, he explained.

He further informed that the independent legal service of the European Parliament and the Council have already confirmed the validity of my view.

Tajani expressed the wish that the ECB’s oversight should not exceed its remit, the boundaries which have been given to it on the basis of the Treaties and the rules.

At the same time, he clarified, that it is not his responsibility to discuss the content of such rules. This is within the area of responsibility of the European Parliament, he said. What I am tasked to do, he explained, is to defend the European Parliament’s role.

We answer to the people and its representatives, not to bureaucrats, he pointed out.

He expressed his great respect of public servants, stressing however that decisions are taken by legislators.

It is the job of public servants to implement these decisions, he said.

On his part, Demetris Syllouris referred to the good news brought by Tajani on the Brexit agreement, pointing out that this concerns all of us, not just the United Kingdom.

He thanked Tajani for his initiative on the NPLs a matter which touches many here in Cyprus. His message, he added, is that it has been proven that such decisions cannot be just technocratic. These are decisions which should be taken first and foremost at the political level and in a uniform manner, the House of Representatives President noted.

According to Syllouris, this initiative has filled a democratic gap, bringing Europe closer to society and its citizens.

Referring to the position expressed by Tajani on the Cyprus problem during their meeting, he spoke of a clear approach and of the obligation the EU has, hailing from its principles and values, to support a solution in the Cyprus problem, with no foreign troops and with the implementation of all human rights for citizens of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Latins and Armenians as well as all the Europeans who live here.

He also spoke of the need for European principles and values to be implemented in Cyprus so that Cyprus can be a strong EU extension in the region.

Source: Cyprus News Agency