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Document 51995AC0575

OPINION OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE on the proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) concerning Harmonized Consumer Price Indices

OJ C 236, 11.9.1995, p. 11–12 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT)

51995AC0575

OPINION OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE on the proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) concerning Harmonized Consumer Price Indices

Official Journal C 236 , 11/09/1995 P. 0011


Opinion on the proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) concerning Harmonized Consumer Price Indices () (95/C 236/03)

On 13 May 1995 the Council decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee, under Article 198 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the abovementioned proposal.

The Section for Economic, Financial and Monetary Questions, which was responsible for preparing the Committee's work on the subject, adopted its Opinion on 16 May 1995 (Rapporteur acting without a Study Group: Mr Pellarini).

At its 326th Plenary Session on 31 May and 1 June 1995 (meeting of 31 May 1995), the Economic and Social Committee adopted the following Opinion by a substantial majority, with five abstentions.

1. Under Article 109j of the EU Treaty, the Commission is instructed to report to the Council on the progress made in the fulfilment by the Member States of their obligations regarding the achievement of economic and monetary union. One criterion of convergence is price stability, assessed in relation to inflation in the three best performing Member States. Inflation has to be measured by means of the consumer price indices (CPI) on a comparable basis.

2. The purpose of the proposed Regulation is to authorize the Commission, with the assistance of the Statistical Programme Committee () and the European Monetary Institute, to introduce a number of measures designed to achieve, in three stages over a three year period (1996 to 1998), comparable consumer price indices.

2.1. The first stage will be to draw up an interim set of consumer price indices, based on existing indices and excluding owner-occupied housing, health and educational services and certain other items treated differently by a number of Member States.

2.2. The harmonized consumer price index of the Member State (HCPI) would take effect from January 1997.

2.3. By January 1998 the entire system, to comprise a Monetary Union consumer price index (MUCPI), would be operational.

Comments

3. The Committee notes that the main purpose of the proposed Regulation is to produce harmonized consumer price indices for the whole European Union in order to provide information relevant to the decisions to be taken by all the Institutions.

4. The Committee agrees in principle to the harmonization of national consumer price indices and the compilation of a MUCPI.

4.1. However, the Committee understands the Commission's intention is, in the first stage, to exclude from the indices large areas of consumer expenditure (i.e. owner-occupied housing, health, education and 'certain other' unspecified items) with no indication at the present juncture of how, or whether, these items will be satisfactorily incorporated subsequently.

4.2. Neither does the Commission proposal provide information on the weighting to apply to the different expenditure items included, or to be included, in the baskets.

4.3. As regards the MUCPI, the Committee feels that the inclusion, for calculation purposes, of a larger basket of products, reflecting the consumer habits of citizens throughout the Community would enhance its value as a statistical instrument devised to facilitate economic and monetary union.

5. The Committee endorses the proposed Regulation but points out that the statistical data omitted in the first stage must be included in the second stage (compilation of the HCPI) so that the convergence criteria provided for in the EU Treaty can be assessed fairly.

6. The Committee urges the Commission and the Council to ensure that the MUCPI is not put to inappropriate use.

7. The Committee wishes to be consulted promptly on the gradual compilation of the consumer price indices provided for in the proposed Regulation.

Done at Brussels, 31 May 1995.

The President

of the Economic and Social Committee

Carlos FERRER

() OJ No C 84, 6. 4. 1995, p. 7.

() Established by Council Decision 89/382/EEC, Euratom (OJ No L 181, 28. 6. 1989).

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