GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer described how last week's European Council meeting on energy policies and tackling tax evasion showed that EU leaders are turning a blind eye to social precariousness and environmental challenges.

“We are heading in a direction that does not help us protect people from environmental destruction and social precariousness,” she said. “For EU leaders these are irrelevant as global competitiveness is all that matters.”

She was speaking at a special 'Conference of Presidents' meeting which saw European Parliament Group Presidents and MEPs meet European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to discuss the outcome of EU leaders' talks last week.

Zimmer added: “Council has signed up to stopping environmental destruction but in practice environmental concerns are being swept under the carpet. We are witnessing a clear departure from the EU's Sustainable Development Strategy.

“In the Conclusions there is also not a single word about helping the 50 million people in the EU who do not have enough money to pay their energy bills. We need to help people have access to affordable energy.”

Commenting on the need to fight tax evasion, she said: “Countries should not be able to dodge and hide behind third countries. Although there has been some progress on this issue it is not enough.”

She also stressed that youth unemployment is not being given enough attention: “EUR 6 billion is not enough to tackle this, EUR 21 billion is what is needed.”

GUE/NGL Press contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09

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