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PES President calls for urgent Recovery Plan in letter to leaders


27 Mar 2020



PES President Sergei Stanishev has written to progressive leaders to set out the PES’s proposal for a Recovery Plan for Europe.

The PES held two videoconferences hosted by Stanishev early yesterday – with the leaders of the member parties, and with progressive prime ministers, deputy prime ministers, progressive European commissioners and the leader of the S&D Group.

Detailing policies for the Plan and how Europe’s recovery can be financed, PES President Sergei Stanishev writes:

“The world is facing a crisis of historic proportions. We are currently in the middle of the first phase of the battle against covid-19, focusing on halting the spread of the epidemic, saving the lives of those at risk, and keeping our health systems afloat. This is a phase of emergency, where saving human lives is and must be the absolute priority.

“It is clear that this is only the first phase of a crisis that will have deep and long-lasting consequences. The crisis is hitting the whole of Europe, but its impact could be very different from country to country. As political leaders, as socialists and social-democrats, we have a duty to be prepared to take the bold steps that will be needed. We must address this common challenge together. People, families and communities expect our action.”

Read the letter in full here.

Covid-19 is a strong reminder of the need for increased solidarity inside our societies, and between member states. A progressives Recovery Plan backs stronger European coordination and stronger welfare states to make this solidarity effective. Fighting an epidemic requires strong healthcare systems. Fighting its economic consequences requires strong social safety nets, strong public services and bold public investment.

The letter sets out proposals to save jobs and protect the economy, and backs the recent suspension of European fiscal rules. The PES categorically rejects any attempts to answer an economic downturn by imposing austerity measures. This approach has already proven to be fatal to a quick and socially balanced recovery.

In the crisis social protections - through new or existing schemes – must be available for all workers, and support for the private sector is needed to preserve activities and jobs. The letter reiterates progressive calls for a European unemployment reinsurance fund.

Financing the recovery means maintaining a bold ‘whatever it takes’ approach. We must boost synergies between the EIB and national investment banks to promote and increase investments, and existing financial assistance mechanisms need to be deployed. A common threat requires a common solution - issuing eurobonds is the most sensible option to finance Europe’s long-term recovery strategy at a low cost, the letter says.

Progressives believe that for the wellbeing of our citizens, our societies, our economies, we will need to take bold steps. Solidarity, joint action, welfare and protection must be the driving forces of tomorrow.

Notes for editors

·  The letter from Sergei Stanishev was sent to the leaders of PES member parties. It can be read in full here.

·  All 27 EU member states are represented by their progressive parties at the PES, which brings together 33 socialist, social democratic, labour and democratic parties as full members. Together with 12 associate parties and 12 observer parties from outside the EU, we fight for a better and more progressive Europe.

·  The President of the PES is Sergei Stanishev.

·  The Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament is the parliamentary group of the PES.

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