S&Ds lead a pro-European majority calling for real European solutions in Commission Work Programme 2016

Driven by the Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament adopted today a Resolution on the Commission Work Programme 2016 with a large majority of pro-European forces – including EPP, ALDE and Greens. The resolution sets out a detailed list of actions and shows that stronger European cooperation based on democratic dialogue is the right way to deal with common challenges and overcome national divisions.
The vote comes at a crucial moment in time, when Europe is faced with a dramatic refugee crisis as well as an on-going economic and financial crisis. The resolution responds to the recent State of the Union speech by Commission President Juncker and should be closely followed by the Commission, which presents its Work Programme in October.
Commenting on the Resolution, Maria João Rodrigues, S&D Vice President and negotiator on behalf of the S&D Group, said:
“Our Group has played a central role in building up a large pro-European majority behind this resolution, including the EPP, the Liberals and the Greens. It is very important that European policy-making is based on a diversity of opinions and on a substantial democratic debate.
“We are striving for real European democracy, where the Commission listens to the Parliament and brings proposals able to solve the various crises Europe is facing. National governments in the Council often tend to block ambitious proposals, but the Parliament represents the people directly and it is speaking up for workable European solutions.
“I am also very pleased that thanks to our Group, the Resolution emphasises the urgent need for a strong Social Agenda, with decent social standards, greater investment in people and serious action to reduce inequalities.
“Europe is in dramatic need of real solutions, which can only be European solutions now. This is the case when dealing with the refugee crisis, the Eurozone crisis as well as the social crisis.”
In particular, the Resolution calls for action on the following S&D priorities:
1. To adopt the Commission’s proposals for a better European asylum and migration policy, including the emergency relocation scheme for the benefit of Greece, Hungary and Italy and the proposal for a permanent relocation scheme to be activated in emergency situations. The Resolution also highlights that we need more effective external border controls and returns of rejected asylum applicants, while ensuring full compliance with human rights.
2. To follow up swiftly on the Five Presidents’ Report on Completing the Economic and Monetary Union in order to reduce the widening economic and social disparities among Eurozone countries. Europe needs better coordination of economic and social policies, building on common institutions. It cannot continue muddling through with last-minute intergovernmental deals.

3. The re-launch of an ambitious European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The Europe 2020 strategy must be updated and properly followed up, through the recommendations which Member States and the Eurozone receive each year. We need a clear and broadly shared vision for Europe’s progress and prosperity.
4. The need for a new initiative on social investment, tackling rising inequalities and high poverty and unemployment through universally available public services of good quality, notably childcare, education from early age, the Youth Guarantee and other active employment policies. A competitive economy cannot be sustained if a quarter of European children grow up in poverty.