In a European Parliament debate today on the Juncker investment plan, GUE/NGL MEPs have sounded the alarm on the funds' purported benefits.
“It is now time to do whatever it takes to bring investment and growth back – instead of this devastating austerity, but the Juncker package is inadequate because it does not involve support from public funds,” said Greek MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis.
“And when it comes to the allocation of this investment let's make sure that it goes primarily to countries suffering from underinvestment, disinvestment, poverty, and soaring unemployment,” he added.
French MEP Younous Omarjee echoed these sentiments: “If the billions of investment lined up are mainly spent in the richest regions then the cohesion policy's full effects will be watered down still further and disparities between regions will be exacerbated.
“All categories of regions must enjoy the benefits of this plan. This is not a wish – this is an obligation which is incumbent on the European Commission. We need a new deal for Europe. We need investment in the marine economy, in cultural industries, and above all in struggling regions where support is needed in different sectors, such as in the digital industry.”
Irish MEP Liadh Ni Ríada said: “I am extremely concerned and wary of this plan as I believe the substantial risk lies with public finances. Only projects that can´t get finance from the European Investment Bank or the EU can avail of loans from this new fund which means that this plan is geared for more private, high-risk investment.”
She continued: “Let me be clear, we are in favour of public investment in the real economy. However, this proposal is not the way to go about it as it will create nothing more than a financial bubble and a false economy.”
Papadimoulis concluded by condemning “scaremongering and distortion about the incoming Greek government” in the European Parliament.
He said: “The Greek people have lived through years of catastrophic austerity and poverty. SYRIZA's win holds hope for Europe. It is an end to unilateral one-sided austerity. What we saw on Sunday in Greece was a window of hope for the European people.”