Who can taxpayers turn to in Europe?
IN a recent article in the 'Financial Times', European Central Bank (ECB) board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said that because the supervisory and regulatory failures occurred at national level, Irish taxpayers who were asked to foot the bill for bailing out the banks should not complain.
But who do Irish taxpayers complain to when failures occurred at European level? After all, Irish taxpayers voted for Maastricht and all previous EU treaties, and therefore had good reason to believe their provisions would be implemented in full.
In particular, I refer to the role of the ECB. Article 14 of the statute of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) states: "The national central banks are an integral part of the ESCB and shall act in accordance with the guidelines and instructions of the ECB. The Governing Council shall take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the guidelines and instructions of the ECB, and shall require that any necessary information be given to it."