Proposals to reform the EU ignore core issues
A trio of reports which aimed at reforming the EU and the Eurozone economy have been given the thumbs down by GUE/NGL MEPs at Tuesday morning’s plenary session in Strasbourg.
Commenting on the Verhofstadt and Bresso, Brok proposals which examined the workings of the Lisbon Treaty, GUE/NGL group shadow and Vice-Chair at the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), Barbara Spinelli, suggested they were nothing other than a mere reshaping of the status quo:
“The two reports simply put forward technical and quicker institutional solutions to perpetrate exactly the same policies which had first led us into this crisis.”
“The fiscal compact is a ruinous policy, which divides citizens and makes them want to turn their backs on the European Union. Yet, the Rapporteurs ask to anchor such ruinous pact into the treaties,” she continued.
“This confirms that the EU is a market at the service of the strongest, has nothing to do with a federal organisation, and is totally indifferent to the principle of reality,” said Spinelli.
Meawwhile, Fabio De Masi, group shadow at the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), chided the Böge, Berès report on the Eurozone governance and its budgetary capacity:
“Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
“The introduction of a budgetary capacity that doubles down on structural reforms which hamper demand and destroy jobs is insane. All the while, the root cause of the euro crisis - particularly Germany’s beggar-thy-neighbour policy - remains unaddressed.
“The Eurozone requires public investments and sanctions against chronic current account surpluses. Otherwise the Euro will fail," he argued.
Public investments were also uppermost in the mind of Irish MEP Liadh Ní Riada and group shadow at the Committee on Budgets (BUDG). Reacting to the Böge, Berès report, she said:
“Further erosion of sovereignty is not the answer. We cannot move towards a more neo-liberal centralised Europe at the expense of ordinary people who cannot even put food on the table let alone put a roof over their heads.”
“The EU's economic governance framework acts like a straitjacket. The Fiscal Compact is directly blocking countries like my own from investing in vital infrastructure.”
“For there to be any meaningful change, the EU for a start needs to step up and prioritise public investment in infrastructure, building the real economy. Our people have had enough,” implored the Irish MEP.
Also critical of the situation was Neoklis Sylikiotis, author of the EMPL (Committee on Employment and Social Affairs) opinion to the Böge, Beres report:
“The fiscal capacity of the EU is certainly a very complex problem.”
“This is reflected in the lack of the consensus at the Committees on Budget (BUDG) and Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) because the governance of our budgets sticks to the neoliberal patterns of the Stability Pact and the memoranda.”
“Instead, we need to reindustrialise Europe to bring in more investment. We need more investment in the real economy in order to create new jobs,” he said.
Finally, AFCO member Helmut Scholz argued that whilst the logic of the proposed reports is limited in repeating closer EU integration as the only solution, the politics of the bloc also poses a major handicap:
“The politics of the EU and its 28 member states is at the heart of our current problems: austerity; exclusion; national self-interests; rescue packages for banks at the expense of the retired and unemployed youths; all these contributed to the idea of living together in solidarity being undermined - resulting in the general loss of trust in politics.”
“And unless we have a binding, convincing and community method-based and legally guaranteed social Europe, the EU’s disintegration will continue also due in parts to the wrong positions and slogans taken by right-wing populist and extreme forces.” he concluded.