EU leaders must go beyond compromises to achieve an EU Recovery Plan and long-term budget that is fit for people and planet, Co-Presidents of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament said ahead of a major EU Summit.
The German Presidency and Council President Charles Michel have been on diplomatic overdrive to bridge deep divisions between member states in order to find a solution to the EU’s Covid-19 rescue package and the first post-Brexit EU budget.
However, even the most optimistic proposals on the table are insufficient to tackle the unprecedented social and ecological challenges facing the EU and are well below the money demanded by the European Parliament.
Co-President Manon Aubry blasted EU leaders on their paltry offers:
“The EU is facing the worst economic recession in its history but it has failed to address the full scope of the crisis. The last Council proposal confirms that the Recovery Plan might end up being only a public relations exercise, giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
“What is the point of this Recovery Plan when the ‘extra’ money is actually taken from the EU budget by decreasing the allocation for cohesion, agriculture and climate?
“What is the point of the debate between loans and subsidies if member states, and therefore European citizens, will have to foot the bill at the end?
“What is the point of acknowledging the need for public investment in health and climate policies when member states are being asked to implement austerity in order to receive money from ‘Next Generation EU’?
“The European people deserve better! The European Central Bank must cancel sovereign debts and lend money directly to member states to protect them from market speculation. Moreover, the EU must increase the proportion of its own resources to fund a real green and social new deal by taxing financial transactions and global corporations.”
Co-President Martin Schirdewan warned about the threat of conditionalities:
“It is essential that countries wishing to use the Recovery Fund have access to it without the threat of sanctions. The conditions attached to the loans in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis showed that the austerity and reduction policies were wrong.
“They led countries in the south of Europe to the brink of collapse and the impact of this harmful policy is still felt today, even more so with the Covid-19 pandemic,” Schirdewan concluded.