Ahead of today’s informal summit of EU leaders, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer says:

“Brexit gives us the chance to radically rethink the EU’s multiannual budget (MFF). The Cohesion policy should be directed towards long-term social support for economically weaker member states and regions, helping them to further develop high quality social security systems and stabilising the EU economy. We can only achieve this with a much larger EU budget. We need massive public investment to repair the detrimental harm to the EU’s social standards and democracy caused by forced austerity.”

“We must stop the practice of hedging private investments with public funds, and thereby giving away democratic control over general welfare while socialising losses and privatising gains.

“If we have a new Eurozone budget that links investment to ‘structural reforms’, then it would just be another insidious instrument to strangle workers’ rights and destroy the social fabric of our Union. Instead, the next EU budget should be used to tackle the poverty currently faced by 118 million of our fellow citizens.”

“Secondly, we say no to any spending on the EU’s militarisation. The Defence Fund is a waste of public money that only benefits the arms industry. There are already enough wars in the world; we don’t need the EU to contribute to more humanitarian disasters. Let’s invest in peace, disarmament and humanitarian aid. We should invest in safe passage and welcoming migrants and refugees – not higher walls for an inhumane Fortress Europe.

“Lastly, the debate between President Macron, Chancellor Merkel and others on whether to have Spitzenkandidaten or transnational lists is a distraction from the real democratic deficit we have in the EU. We should be debating the right to legislative initiatives for the European Parliament instead. Let's also have a debate on democratic controls for the ECB! The Parliament must have a full, equal say in the decision-making process and oversight of a new five-year MFF – including a comprehensive mid-term review.”

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