MiCA MEP Lands Key Digital Euro Role

September 4, 2023
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A member of the European Parliament (MEP) who was elected rapporteur for the EU’s flagship crypto legislation has bagged himself a new job as rapporteur for the European Commission’s digital euro legislation.

A member of the European Parliament (MEP) who was elected rapporteur for the EU’s flagship crypto legislation has bagged himself a new job as rapporteur for the European Commission’s digital euro legislation. 

EU lawmaker Stefan Berger has announced via X (formerly Twitter) that he has been made rapporteur for the EU’s digital euro legislation.

“Having your own digital currency makes the EU more independent of third countries and belongs in the digital age,” said Berger.

“However, the project will only succeed if you can trust the digital euro as much as you can trust cash.”

The position of rapporteur has a substantial influence on the adoption of EU legislation.

The rapporteur is the MEP who is responsible for handling a legislative proposal on behalf of the European Parliament, as well as the EU's other political institutions: the European Commission and the Council of the European Union.

The rapporteur is appointed by a committee that takes a leading role on a piece of legislation. In this case, it is the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) committee that has appointed Berger. 

Ultimately, the key functions of the rapporteur include analysing the legislative proposal and, based on his or her assessment, drafting a report with amendments included. 

The rapporteur is also the go-to for stakeholders such as lobbyists, and is ultimately responsible for driving legislation through the European Parliament plenary. 

Rapporteurs also play a pivotal role in negotiations — otherwise known as “trilogues” — with the European Commission and the Council of the European Union.

Although Berger has been appointed to the role, sources in the European Parliament told Vixio that there has been no decision made regarding the PSD3 package, or the Financial Data Access (FIDA) framework.

The latter has apparently been given to the Eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) party. 

Michiel Hoogeveen, the ECON committee’s vice chair for this committee, has already been appointed as the rapporteur for the EU’s instant payments regulation, although the source did suggest he could be appointed to take this file as well. 

Another source familiar with the legislative process said that FIDA may also be a longer process, due to the fact that the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee may wish to take on the file, considering its inclusion of data protection rules. 

Parliament’s MiCA architect

Berger, who sits with the centre-right European People’s Party, has experience in digital finance, having already served as rapporteur for the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) Regulation.

During that legislative process, Berger opposed a controversial plan to limit energy use by proof-of-work technology that some saw as a de-facto ban on bitcoin.

Similarly, the digital euro legislation may face strong opposition, and may not be easily passed by the European Parliament.

Markus Ferber, a senior MEP with Berger’s committee, has expressed scepticism about the digital euro in the past, saying that the European Central Bank (ECB) has “not managed to clearly demonstrate the usefulness of a digital euro for ordinary citizens”.

Meanwhile, Hoogeveen came out against the digital euro in April this year. 

“When bitcoin was introduced 14 years ago, it revolutionised the world of finance — it was the world’s first decentralised digital payments infrastructure,” he said during a parliamentary debate.

“The underlying technology of bitcoin still promises an endless potential of economic opportunity and freedom — and isn’t it ironic that we are now talking about a centralised database controlled by government institutions.

“Why do we need a digital euro?” he added.

Hoogeveen told colleagues that the digital euro was not necessary, considering work already being undertaken in digital finance, including instant payments legislation. 

“Now, I was told that we need this so we can compete with China,” he said. “Well, back in the day we would counter communist China with policies of rollback or containment, not by copying it.”

“Yet the European institutions press ahead and invest into a project with no added value, leaving many citizens worried about their privacy and lack of democratic control by national parliaments.”

Hoogeveen warned that the digital euro “is a solution looking for a problem, and for now would be best left on ice”.

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