GUE/NGL MEPs will be voting against a series of European Semester reports when they are put to a plenary vote this afternoon.

The European Semester acts as the foundation on which national budgets are built and is the first cog in the EU's economic governance cycle.

Miguel Viegas, shadow rapporteur for the group on the 2015 Annual Growth Survey, commented: “As expected, the essence of the 2015 Annual Growth Survey does not differ from previous years as it continues to defend austerity and structural reforms, particularly in terms of the labour market and the privatisation of welfare services and public companies. This is totally unacceptable because it prevents countries from intervening with redistributive policies to help those in need and to avoid the collapse of aggregate consumption. This report does nothing to question the current mainstream approach to economic policymaking.

“The European Semester is a way of binding member states to a series of measures that further entrench the neoliberal model.”

Marisa Matias said: “The European Semester is the worst negative example of integration at the EU level. The European Commission takes ever more power from member states by issuing them with recommendations on structural reforms. An aspect of the European Semester that is particularly problematic is the indicators on which the recommendations are based – no social indicators are included. Not only does the European Semester take decision-making power away from member states, it also imposes sanctions on them if they don't meet the criteria.”

The group will also vote against a flawed report (Gutiérrez Prieto) on the employment and social aspects of the Annual Growth Survey as it fails to recognise the European Semester's fundamental contradictions.

Inês Zuber, GUE/NGL shadow rapporteur on the Gutiérrez Prieto file, commented: “While this report talks about social concerns and acknowledges that levels of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion have soared as a result of fiscal consolidation measures, it then goes on to completely contradict these accurate observations by suggesting that more fiscal consolidation and structural reforms would be effective solutions to these problems. To describe this as absurd would be an understatement. The logic of the European Semester is not called into question at all.”

This afternoon's voting session starts at 1pm.

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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