GUE/NGL tabled a resolution delineating a Left alternative of what is expected of the Commission in 2017. The resolution expresses concern at the Commission´s intention to continue the policies of fiscal consolidation, privatisations, structural reform and deregulation, against the interests of ordinary people,  calling instead on the Commission to pursue profound change towards progressive policies that bring people and the environment to the core of development strategies.

GUE/NGL MEP João Pimenta addressed Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans during the Parliament´s debate on the Commission 2017 Work Programme.

The Portuguese MEP said that the debate comes at a time of a profound political, economic and social crisis that is bringing to the fore a growing chasm between people and the political class serving the interest of big business: 

“Those who dare to challenge austerity, impoverishment and exploitation, even in a moderate way, receive back from the EU blackmail, threats and sanctions. In these circumstances the EU cannot be reformed. People will struggle against these policies in favour of a Europe of cooperation, solidarity and peace between sovereign and equal countries.”

Pimenta demanded the renegotiation of sovereign debt, much of which he considers illegitimate, and the revocation of the Fiscal Stability Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty: 

“We demand an end to the Banking Union, the public control of the banking sector and we call for national authority over economic regulation by member states. The Commission should create a support programme for member states who wish to negotiate their exit from the Euro.”

GUE/NGL MEP Martina Michels questioned the Commission´s performance so far:

“What did we get out of the Commission's policy in the past year? An EU-Turkey deal which tramples on human rights, and we still don´t have a common EU refugee policy! The right-wing populists are riding on Europe´s democratic deficit and in the meantime we have to face Brexit.”

“For 2017 does the Commission think that an investment offensive, better regulation, and new buzzwords will save it? I do wonder which planet you´re living on. The EU is drifting from its own values, it´s sinking into an abyss.”

GUE/NGL MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis called for an end to the counter-productive and socially devastating austerity and neoliberal policies the Commission has imposed:

“European unification is facing a major crisis which threatens its very existence. That´s why we urgently need a major change, a sea change, to ensure that we will become more attractive and better for our citizens, instead of this business as usual and this inertia from the Commission. That means growth, investment, jobs and not eternal austerity which increases poverty and unemployment. We need to support social and regional cohesion as well rather than establish these inequalities in favour of the strongest.”

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