S&D Euro MPs back steps to move Europe away from austerity
S&D Euro MPs today welcome the fiscal orientations for the eurozone as a whole proposed by the European Commission and its decision not to recommend a suspension of EU structural and investment funds for Spain and Portugal.
After a dialogue between the European Parliament, the Commission and national finance ministers, it became obvious that a strict application of the so-called ‘macroeconomic conditionality’ in structural funds would be counterproductive because the countries in question need more, not less, public investment to strengthen their recovery.
S&D Group leader Gianni Pittella said:
“The Commission has undergone a huge change in terms of approach to the economic policy, vowing a positive fiscal stance to the member states. It is high time for public investments. This a radical rupture from the past. The clock for austerity is ticking.”
S&D vice-president responsible for economic and social policies Maria João Rodrigues said:
“The Commission has fortunately avoided a big mistake. Increasing good-quality public investments in Spain, Portugal and other countries that have suffered during the long crisis is in the interests of the whole of Europe.
“For several years now, the Socialists and Democrats have been fighting very hard against austerity - i.e. against blind cuts in public spending that have damaged Europe’s economy. Today’s decision not to propose sanctions against Spain and Portugal must be seen as a big victory for our political family. The countries are putting their budgets in order - but they also need enough investment in order to continue in this direction.
“Common sense has prevailed and this is good news.”
S&D Group spokesperson on economic and monetary affairs Pervenche Berès stressed:
“We welcome the new approach within the recommendations for 2017 which will give more room for investment to the members of the euro area.
“Following the communication on flexibility adopted in January 2015, this approach represents a new step forward and a smarter implementation of fiscal rules. This will allow for more active investment and a growth-oriented fiscal policy and will help to improve convergence within the euro area.
“This is the right answer to the current low-growth and fragile recovery in Europe, but it will not be enough. Europe needs a European public investment strategy through an upgrade of the so-called Juncker plan, to fully implement the rules on macro-economic imbalances and a fiscal capacity.”