Pittella: Suspending Spain and Portugal’s structural funds is absurd. EU Commission should not make this mistake

Gianni Pittella speaking in plenary

On Monday evening in Strasbourg, members of the economic and monetary affairs committee and members of the regional development committee will debate the Commission’s plan to suspend European funds for Spain and Portugal.

Ahead of this unprecedented meeting with commissioners Jyrki Katainen and Corina Crețu, the president of the S&D Group Gianni Pittella stated:

"The Socialists and Democrats will not budge; already before the summer, we strongly voiced our opposition to any sanctions against Spain and Portugal. Both countries do not need to be punished, but need these funds to improve their competitiveness. Moreover, in August, finance ministers of the Eurozone countries have formally acknowledged our position and decided to dismiss any sanction giving more time for both countries to comply with their fiscal obligations.

"Hitting on Portugal now would not only be scandalous but absurd. After all the efforts undertaken, the Government led by Antonio Costa is about to present a draft budget in line with European fiscal rules. Common sense should prevail in this discretionary decision. We therefore urge the European Commission not to undertake such a pointless path and to consider the European Parliament's stance as politically binding.

"This further paradoxical case openly shows how absurd EU fiscal rules linked to austerity are. They must be changed!"