Three GUE/NGL MEPs took part in a European Parliament debate last night on how the Commission plans to tackle the EU's budget deficit of EUR 23.4 billion in payments it owes regions, universities, and research centres across the member states, as well as what the Commission and the Council propose as the 2015 EU Budget.

The Commission's draft amending budget no. 2 for 2014 will be voted on by all MEPs in plenary later today, as well as the EP position on the 2015 EU Budget, an EP report on the 2015 EU Budget and the position of the Council on the 2015 Budget.

Irish MEP Liadh Ní Riada said: “Austerity isn't working! Austerity in the member states is being exacerbated by the mean-spirited approach of the Council. The EU budget has the potential to play a strategically important role in promoting jobs and growth – if it is used wisely and if sufficient resources are provided. Thousands of people across Europe are living in poverty. In countries like Greece, Spain, and Ireland, young people are emigrating. The reality is that some countries are suffering more than others; we need to solve differences between member states. People are being made unemployed so the Commission has a responsibility to assess this serious problem.

“The youth employment initiative will be another blow by the EU against young people unless sufficient resources are put into it. The reconstruction of Gaza, following the devastating assault by Israel must be properly supported by the EU.”

Spanish MEP Pablo Echenique Robba said: “The absence of democracy is something that we are suffering from at the moment. We are acting in a drama and we all know how it ends: there is going to be more unemployment and more poverty. In the first act of this play the European Commission puts forward an inadequate budget for 2015; no cohesion, no research and development, no encouragement for renewable energy, nothing. What they hand out is just a few crumbs. In the second act, along comes the Council and cuts another EUR 2 billion. Then, in the final act the honourable members of this house get very angry and very Keynesian but only with Council's actions: this means they accept three quarters of the cuts but still manage to look nice in front of the media.

“If you approve this irresponsible budget then you shouldn't be surprised that the millions of people who are living in an economic emergency turn their backs on the institutions which don't listen to them. If you turn this Parliament into a theatre then you shouldn't be surprised if people turn the streets into real parliaments, replacing this one.”

Portuguese MEP Miguel Viegas said: “Our position on this budget for 2015 is the same as our position on the EU: it is of the neoliberal, militarist, and federalist variety. The European budget is the concrete expression of a policy to dismantle public services, to erode social rights and take away public freedoms.

“All the agencies that check up on member states' policies are paid for through this budget. It pays for aggressive policies across the world, such as 'Fortress Europe'. This farce of a dispute between Commission and Council cannot distract from the reality – that is the neoliberal policies of the EU supported by this budget.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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