Pittella & Rodrigues: Right-wing block crumbles. For the S&Ds, citizens come before big business – our programme for a pro-European, progressive future

Gianni Pittella, Maria João Rodrigues, European Commission Work Programme 2018

Today, a major clash of ideas on the future of Europe emerged in the European Parliament. The S&Ds’ courageous, progressive vision for a strong Europe of the many contrasted with a low-key, muddling-through approach of right-wing parties, which prefer to keep Europe weak.

In the vote on the European Commission Work Programme 2018, the S&D Group put forward a strong resolution detailing progressive policies to shape the future of European integration, including on social rights, climate change, regulating global trade and fighting tax avoidance.

There was no consensus in Parliament because the conservatives and liberals insisted on a weak text, ignoring citizens’ concerns about living standards, working conditions, inequalities and the environment. The right wing alliance tabled a common text, but broke down when S&D succeeded in amending it on migration, climate and trade.

Commenting on the vote, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:

“What a disaster. The right-wing block melted like snow in the sun. The EPP-ALDE-ECR alliance is just based on cheap political convenience and certainly not on shared values and on the content of issues such as migration, international trade and climate change.

“While they like to present themselves as pro-European forces, the vision they jointly offer to Europe is limited to defending the profits of big business.

“We Socialists & Democrats offer clear European solutions to problems that really worry people: On Migration, our call is for safe and legal channels to Europe, human visas, a strengthened cooperation with third countries in order to tackle the root causes of forced migration, a deep reform of the ‘Dublin system’ and finally a relocation system that works.

“On trade we highlighted the need to regulate fair EU trade policies with the Sustainable Development Goals in the interest of all people.

“Lastly on climate change, we called on the Commission to ensure that the EU maintains its leadership role in the implementation and enforcement of the Paris Agreement.

“We stand for a Europe that sticks together and invests in the future for the many, not just for the friends of the business club!"

S&D vice-president Maria João Rodrigues MEP added:

"A moment of truth and a big confrontation has taken place today in the European Parliament. S&D as the coordinating group presented a proposal for a strategic resolution, calling for a strong European Pillar of Social Rights, implementation of the Paris Agreement, a true European investment strategy, a real and common European asylum policy, a plan to develop Africa and respond to the causes of migration, and ensuring the necessary financial resources through fighting tax avoidance, new own resources for the EU budget and equipping the Eurozone with a fiscal capacity."

"All these proposals were refused by EPP, ECR and ALDE, which decided to come forward with a common right-wing counter-resolution. This counter-resolution was defeated today in plenary with S&D presenting key amendments, which got the support from Greens, GUE and even some ALDE and EPP members."

"In conclusion, this European Parliament cannot be led by a right-wing coalition. The S&D Group will go on leading pro-European progressive forces and fighting for better European solutions on key priorities people care about."

Read the full text of the S&D motion for a resolution “on the future of Europe and the strategic priorities of the Commission Work Programme 2018”
 
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