Conservative Majority European Council wrong-headed ‘austerity only’ approach

Date

17 Jun 2010

Sections

EU Priorities 2020

Press release

European Council – Reaction of the Party of European Socialists (PES)

“2020 strategy a fig leaf covering Sarkozy’s and Merkel’s naked disregard for the plight of ordinary people”.

17 June 2010

The plans to ‘cut our way out of the crisis’ presented by the Conservative dominated European Council today, are ‘wrong-headed and dangerous’ according to the leader of the Party of European Socialists, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. “Yet again Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy have got it wrong. Today’s Council should have been about concrete plans for economic co-ordination that rediscovers European solidarity. Instead we have the macho politics of punishment. What Europe needs is to balance budget consolidation with policies that encourage growth and jobs”.

“A growing chorus of voices agree with the PES position that for long term recovery, an agenda of cuts, that only destroys jobs, will simply not work”, said the PES leader. “A vast majority of the European Parliament, trade union leaders, representatives of business and even those at the European Council Table are against this route, but an ideological hardcore drives blindly on”.

On the agreement at the Council for the general strategy for the EU, Mr. Rasmussen commented that; “The Europe 2020 Strategy risks leaving one rather important element behind – its people. It is all very well making headline targets to reduce poverty, but where are the tools to do it? It seems that to Merkel and Sarkozy, a poverty reduction target is like a fig leaf to cover their naked disregard in this crisis for the plight of ordinary people”.

The PES leaders had yesterday called for:

·         a coordinated economic policy that recognises that the EU is a single trading area and economic union, not a disparate collection of competing member states;

·         a long-term ‘Europe 2020’ strategy that puts social justice, poverty reduction, green growth and jobs at the centre, reinforcing a sustainable way out of the crisis;

·         European to take the lead on developing and implementing a Financial Transaction Tax

·         effective and urgent financial regulation, including strengthening European supervisory authorities;

·         more transparent and tighter control of derivatives products speculative actors, such as hedge funds and private equity; regulating private rating agencies; and the creation of a European independent rating agency;

·         a clear response to the EU sovereign debt crisis, in which a system of Eurobonds, managed by a European debt agency, for handling existing debt, facilitating future debt management and protecting against speculative attacks, should be seriously explored. This could provide relief to national budgets and be combined with clear political conditionalities to ensure sound economic and sustainable growth. Furthermore, the capacity for the EU to issue Eurobonds could fund investment projects managed at the European level;

·         a European Employment and Social Progress Pact, including concrete measures to create new, decent jobs; promote active labour market policies; increase quality of work; fight precarious jobs; overcome social inequalities such as the gender pay gap; and improve the quality of and access to public services.

For further information please contact Brian Synnott on +32 474 98 96 75 (brian.synnott@pes.org)