Plenary Focus - December 2014
COMMISSION WORK PROGRAMME
President Juncker has awakened great expectations with his 300 billion euro investment package. But, the EU will only contribute 21 billion euros of its own money; the rest will come from private investors. Governments do not want to give fresh money; existing and designated funds are simply being re-classified. To attract the necessary private funds, taxpayers will have to guarantee for any risk of private losses. We call on governments to invest at least 250 billion euros a year. That is the only way to stop the depression in the EU, to create sustainable development and employment, and to combat rising poverty.
Last week the Dublin Parliament accepted a motion that calls on the Irish Government to recognise Palestinian statehood. This week I hope there is a similarly positive outcome with the EP resolution which should call for EU member states to recognise Palestinian statehood without conditions. Recognition of Palestine on 1967 borders can bring greater impetus to meaningful negotiations which are vital for a just and peaceful two-state solution.
The 6-pack and 2-pack review might be a lost opportunity. We still have no serious assessment of the impact country-specific recommendations have had on the EU’s consistently poor economic performance. It baffles me to see that the series of failures in economic policy - of which the adjustment programmes were only the most disastrous example – has only led to the reinforcement of the policies and institutional settings that led to this disgraceful situation.
Rina Ronja Kari
Yes, economic governance has been a massive success in the sense that it has transferred significant power over economic policy from local parliaments to the European institutions. It has successfully locked in austerity for citizens and given the Commission tools to punish those that do not pray to strict fiscal discipline and wage-deflating policies. Economic governance has made Europe’s citizens ‘the fall guy’ for the banks’ failures while they remain just as unregulated as ever.
The steel industry is a core asset of Europe’s industrial fabric: crises such Terni and Taranto highlighted how fundamental a re-launch of the sector is to prioritise preserving workers’ rights, the quality of production, as well as the environment and public health. For this reason we are striving to make sure that Europe tackles the social dumping generated from delocalisation also through collective agreements and investments in the best possible way.
With 4000 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean to date, it is obvious that we need a new approach to the policies of asylum and migration. We urgently need a holistic approach to the various problems, in particular one that is not only focused on border security but on human rights and migrants’ dignity. For this reason we want the European Parliament to conduct an inquiry in order to assess the effects of the current policies and to elaborate alternatives.
Free trade without redistribution and solidarity is the perfect recipe for inequality and for widening the gap between northern and southern Europe. With redistribution we are sisters and brothers, without it, we are just (unequal) business partners. Unfortunately, the second option is the one agreed by Parliament, Council and Commission: a mean and selfish budget for 2015 that draws a clear line between rich and poor, endangers the European project and gives arguments to the eurosceptics. The people of Europe do not deserve these levels of irresponsibility, incompetence and short-sighted leadership.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Wednesday
I welcome this decision to approve the accession of the EU to the CITES convention. It further highlights the importance of protecting wild species from possible exploitation in world trade. As we see continued illegal poaching of animals such as elephants and rhinos, for ivory and horn for example, it is essential we continue the fight to protect endangered species.