Progressives voice concerns about the risk of long term unemployment

iAGS Progressive Economy

Progressive members of the European and national Parliaments, together with economic experts, today warn Commissioner Olli Rehn that Europe will face a long period of sluggish growth and high unemployment unless there is a change of policy.
The issue was addressed during a debate between Olli Rehn and participants in the Progressive Economy conference organised today in Brussels.
On this occasion, the experts of three well respected economic institutes presented alternative forecasts and economic policy recommendations that challenged the European Commission’s annual growth survey (more details).   

S&D Group leader Hannes Swoboda said: “We need a more useful and realistic strategy to reduce fiscal deficits and unemployment. 
“The Spanish unemployment rate will only reach the European average in 2033.  Germany where unemployment is very low is also the country with the highest rate of people in precarious working relationship. We can’t be satisfied by such bad news”.
S&D Euro MP Elisa Ferreira criticised the whole strategy: “Frankly, we got it wrong. It is a missed opportunity for sustainable growth. The cost was too high”.

Commissioner Olli Rehn said: “There is no silver bullet for growth and prosperity in Europe”.
Xavier Timbeau one of the authors of the independent survey stressed that the austerity wave across Europe has cost the European economy 2.3% of GDP in the form of lost growth and caused record level of unemployment and poverty.
In their report, the authors recommend extending the timetable for fiscal consolidation, implementing a programme of public investment in the green economy to boost growth, introducing minimum wages in EU member states and mutualising a part of national sovereign debts.

Participants in the conference included Karine Berger, Member of the French Assembly; Paolo Guerrieri, Member of the Italian Senate, Pedro Saura, Member of the Spanish Parliament and Charles Wyplosz, Professor of Economics.
Tomorrow morning, participants in the Progressive Economy conference will discuss the role of tax policy in fighting inequality and in supporting sustainable growth and jobs. Key speakers will include Xavier Harel, journalist and author of a TV documentary “Evasion fiscale – le hold up du siècle" -  and Professor Thomas Piketty.
Paul Magnette Senator and President of the Belgian socialist party will conclude the conference.

The conference will be web streamed on the S&D group website.

The full programme of the Progressive economy conference is available here.


1st Annual Progressive Economy Parliamentary conference - European Parliament – Paul-henri Spaak building
Room 3C050
4th of December 2013 from 14:30 to 18:00.
5th of December 2013 from 9:00 to 14:00
More information:


Each year, several economic institutes (OFCE, IMK, ECLM) will publish an “Independent Annual Growth Survey” (iAGS), with an alternative set of analysis and recommendations alternatively to the European Commission’s own Annual Growth Survey, which now defines the EU’s and the Member States’ economic policy strategies. The first iAGS has been published by the three institutes in November 2012. Find out more here.