Plenary Focus - February 2017
EU-Canada CETA conclusion
By giving consent to the CETA agreement, the European Parliament will undermine our legal system, our democracy and the rules and regulations that protect our labour rights, public health and food safety. The Parliament has done a very poor job in scrutinising the proposals from the European Commission whilst ignoring strong protests from millions across Europe. We will continue the fight against this stifling agreement.
Future of the EU
The two reports aspire to be the answer that the majority of groups within the Parliament intend to give in addressing the various crises that the EU is facing; crises that - in their wording - originate exclusively from external causes or institutional shortcomings. The proposals lack any critical analysis of the responsibilities of the EU and of the inadequate policies that have been adopted so far. Hence, the proposed solutions follow the same line: a mere institutional reshaping of the status quo.
Future of the EU
Liadh Ní Riada
It’s obvious from recent events that another federalist, neoliberal agenda is the last thing Europe needs right now. We need real investment in the social economy and a return to the core principles of the EU which is to promote peace and stability as well as a single market which is fair. Safeguarding our sovereignty whilst investing in the real economy is an ongoing challenge. However, if we are to counteract the increasing instability thanks to Brexit and Trump, we need cohesion and we need to reform the EU to reflect this.
Future of the EU
The eurozone requires fundamental change in its economic policies and governance in addressing the root causes of the euro crisis - particularly Germany’s beggar-thy-neighbour policy. The introduction of a budgetary capacity that doubles down on structural reforms which hamper demand, or the creation of a eurozone Treasury to intervene in member states’ budgets would only further undermine democratic sovereignty. A ‘German euro’ has no future.
‘No more food speculation’
Food and commodity speculation fills the pockets of the rich, keeps the stomachs of the poor empty and destabilises our economies. The proposed Commission rules fail to honour the Parliament and Council decision to stop excessive speculation in commodity markets. That’s why GUE/NGL gave impetus to a rejection of the proposals in the Parliament. Ten years on from the start of the global financial crisis, the EU still hasn’t learned its lesson.
Second Eurogroup review on Greece
For the IMF to demand the Greek government legislate additional measures worth 4.5 billion euros in advance of the 2019 budget is unconstitutional, economically naive and politically unacceptable. It is inconceivable for any member state of the EU - be it Greece, France, Spain, Italy or Germany - to do such things. Furthermore, to demand more sacrifices from the Greek people in order to service an unsustainable debt jeopardises the financial and fiscal progress that has been achieved by Athens following the mutually agreed obligations.
Control of Register and Commission’s expert groups
Cornelis de Jong
For years, expert groups of the Commission were dominated by representatives of big businesses. Even with the adoption by the Commission of new horizontal rules for these groups, this situation won’t automatically change. Much will depend on how they implement these rules and my report contains many recommendations for carrying this out properly. After the unanimous support for these recommendations in the Committee on Budgetary Control, I call on Vice-President Timmermans to resume our informal dialogue on this matter.
Role of whistleblowers / EU financial interests
Cornelis de Jong
After the adoption of the trade secrets directive, European legislation does little to protect and even limits the rights of whistleblowers. It is therefore of utmost importance that we take both institutional and legislative measures to protect them. I am thrilled that the Committee on Budgetary Control was able to adopt my report with unanimity, thus recognising that - beginning with cases where the reporting of irregularities affect the financial interests of the EU - the protection of whistleblowers will take priority in the Commission, Council and Parliament.
Israel-Palestine peace talks
The situation in Palestine is becoming more and more inhumane. Settlers regularly attack Palestinians; occupying troops raid homes and demolish schools and houses; human rights violations against the Palestinians continue unabated and not even EU-funded projects are spared. Israel’s criminal activities contradict any EU attempt to support the Palestinians and undermine all peaceful efforts to achieve a two-state solution. The EU and the international community must exert pressure on Israel. The recent adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2334 that demands the halt of settlement activity by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory is a crucial step in achieving that.