Swoboda warns European Council: "Do not destroy the foundations of Europe"
The plenary session of the European Parliament today held its key debate on next week's European Council, which is set to discuss common European security and defence policy as well as economic and social policy.
Speaking in the debate, Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said:
"The neo-liberal budget straitjacket continues to cripple Europe's economy and with it social progress: the foundations of Europe. Year after year, Europe's economy is wasting away – while the US is clocking up over 3% growth – with no strategy on how to create growth or employment.
"In addition to the deep black hole where we would like to see the European Council's vision on how to get Europe back on track – and not in decades but in months and years – we are now seeing new nationalisms and divisions stirred up among European workers and European citizens. Instead of playing poor people of different countries off against one another, their goal should be to find real solutions to poverty and social inequalities.
"The first priority has to be to get Europeans – and especially young Europeans – back to work. The European Youth Guarantee is the first step in this game. I urge the Commission to use all available funds – including for instance the €1.7bn Libor and Euribor fines from the big banks – to help people back to work."
On the issue of common security and defence policy, Hannes Swoboda added:
"With international attention shifting to emerging powers in Asia and Latin America, Europe must work harder and better, so as not to become the old forgotten continent. Only unity on issues of global relevance will ensure that the EU maintains its role as a key player in the international arena. Stronger co-operation in the defence sector will reinforce our international role and can simultaneously create jobs and innovation in industrial development and research."