The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament are leading the drive for reform of the European Semester process by including environmental and social sustainability objectives alongside economic goals, to improve the well-being of all. Today, the European Parliament, for the first time in this legislature, approved reports on the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021, from both the economic and the employment committees, sending a strong signal to the Commission and the Council on the need for reform.
Joachim Schuster, S&D MEP responsible for the European Semester in the economic and monetary affairs committee, said:
“It is our ambition to transform the out-dated European Semester into a driver for change to build a sustainable and inclusive recovery by including social and environmental objectives for EU governments to deliver on.
“I am proud that we substantially improved this report, a hard-won compromise between the different political positions in this house, to ensure the European Parliament has its say on the EU’s fiscal policy. We managed to include the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the European Pillar of Social Rights as signposts for our economic policy. To speed up the recovery and master the digital and green transitions leaving no one behind, we must boost public and private investment. With the pandemic destroying lives and livelihoods we are still in the ‘whatever-it-takes’ phase of the recovery.
“With this report, the European Parliament fires the starting shot for a much-needed debate on reform of the fiscal and economic architecture of the EU. It is time to adapt our fiscal rules to new realities and put people and the planet first.”
Lina Gálvez Muñoz, S&D MEP and author of the employment committee report on the European Semester, added:
“Millions of people are losing their jobs, especially women. We have to tackle these very real problems with real solutions and not fine words. If we are to be successful, we cannot go back to austerity measures and the mistakes made during past crises. On the contrary, we must change the rules of the game and by keeping the escape clause activated as long as needed, provide the necessary fiscal space to forcefully combat inequalities and poverty. Before de-activating the escape clause, it is essential that the Commission evaluates the social consequences of such a move.
“With this report we are laying the foundations for the new Europe we want to build. A Europe where social rights have the same weight as economic and environmental objectives. This is why we call for finally including economic indicators in the European Semester that will be able to identify social problems and social indicators to measure the progress of member states. Decent work, social justice and equal opportunities, robust social welfare systems and fair mobility must all be integrated in the Social Scoreboard of the Semester process.”