Notwithstanding the ongoing health crisis facing Europe and the world, finance ministers have rejected solidarity with the member states hardest hit by the current pandemic and remained steadfast in their commitment to failed dogmas.
After weeks of bluster and hours of marathon talks, an online Eurogroup meeting finally capitulated to the obstinate champions of orthodoxy, activating the European Stability Mechanism but tightening the chains of austerity that submit states to conditionality.
“This Eurogroup deal means another decade of austerity for member states at a time where investment in public services has never been more urgent,” said GUE/NGL Co-President Manon Aubry.
“This is unacceptable! With this agreement, the EU remains captive to the same old recipes and budgetary orthodoxy. Including conditionalities for the use of the European Stability Mechanism for all expenses other than health is a clear misunderstanding of the scope of the current crisis. It will further strangle countries that will suffer from additional austerity measures in the future. This is a big win for selfish governments and a letdown for European solidarity, at the time it was needed the most.
“Eventually, the EU has to learn from its past mistakes and acknowledge the unprecedented danger it is facing. The only way to neutralize the impact of the crisis is to share the common burden, starting with some Eurobonds to lower the interest rate and using the monetary tool to avoid another sovereign debt crisis. It is time to face reality and change the absurd rules that prevent the ECB from directly supporting states.”
GUE/NGL Co-President Martin Schirdewan:
“While the people of Europe were calling for solidarity to face the crisis, their plea fell on deaf ears. These decisions are far from what’s necessary, the envisaged budget to tackle the crisis is not sufficient by far.
“We welcome the credits from the EIB to ease the burden of the crisis for SMEs and to help workers and employees and their respective companies with a temporary short-time work insurance scheme.
However, to provide credits from the ESM only under the regime of macroeconomic conditionalities is not only a slap in the face of those who have already suffered the most. It could also lead to another sovereign debt crisis since the recovery fund isn`t yet anything but an empty promise. The EU Budget won`t be big enough to guarantee Europe`s recovery. Innovative and courageous financial instruments such as Coronabonds would have been the right answer in these times of need.
“Once again Europe missed a chance.”