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"Europe's challenges cannot wait: we need to move from words to action now," says Iratxe García after the European Council


18 Oct 2019


On the outcome of the European Council, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament said:
“If we want the European Union to thrive and to be credible, it is time to move from words to action now, especially at the beginning of a new legislature. We were expecting the European Council to show more leadership and commitment to the enormous challenges that we have ahead, both on the ecological transformation and on enlargement.
“While the ambitious message for the upcoming UN Climate COP 25 Summit is important, it is meaningless without the means, and we regret the absence of a clear commitment for an EU climate neutral by 2050. Postponing the decision for a long-term EU climate strategy to December is the wrong response to the climate emergency.
“There seems to be consensus on the fact that we urgently need a game-changer to save the planet and to protect social and labour rights in the digital economy. We can only do that with an ambitious EU budget. It is discouraging to see that the Council does not even mention a just transition fund.
“Our Group has been pushing for the New Green Deal to be a top priority in the next European Commission, but we will never allow any implementation that does not include social justice and solidarity as an equally important goal.
“We want to start negotiations as soon as possible with the Council, but two points must be clear: we will not accept anything less than the 1,3% GNI that was already adopted by the Parliament in November 2018, and we will not back any budget as long as we don't agree on a reform own resources system.
“The EU also loses its leverage and credibility when it fails to open negotiations with two countries that have done all the reforms they were requested to do. Northern Macedonians and Albanians expect more from us. It is regrettable that the opening of negotiations was blocked in the Council. Our political group will keep the pressure to reverse that decision.”
Regarding Brexit, Iratxe García added:
“The priority of our Group has always been to avoid a no-deal Brexit scenario, as to reduce uncertainty, to protect the peace process in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and to safeguard citizens' rights. So we welcome the efforts of the EU negotiating team and the unit showed by the 27 member states. We will now study in detail whether our red lines are respected. The European Parliament will have a final say in case the agreement on the table gets the backing of the British Parliament.”


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