Plenary Focus - February II
The International Labour Organisation quantified the cost of the Youth Guarantee at 21 billion euros in the eurozone. How countries with high youth unemployment and under the Troika’s austerity programme are capable of raising these amounts is a mystery to me. The support of the overloaded European Social Fund and the youth employment initiative is far too little. Without the replacement of austerity madness by a Marshall Plan for Europe, promises of job offers remain nothing less than a PR exercise by the governments.
Joao Pimenta Lopes
Prostitution and sexual exploitation are the most inhuman expressions of violence against women and deeply contrary to the principles of human rights. Prostitutes should not be criminalised nor penalised and should be understood as victims and supported in their social inclusion. Pimps and customers should be criminalised. The idea that prostitution is a ‘lifestyle choice’ is spreading along with social regression: the opposite of equal rights between men and women, an obstacle to the eradication of violence, especially against women.
Although this report includes concerns like sustainable and socially balanced growth, growth friendly fiscal consolidation in its wording, the text ultimately remains focused on the strengthening of competitiveness and on forcing the countries under adjustment programmes to accomplish it even if it escalates unemployment, poverty and social inequalities. Economic coordination cannot be realised at the expense of the people.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Tuesday
Cornelis de Jong
The introduction of a device for cars which will automatically contact 112 in the case of accidents seems at first sight a laudable initiative. However, since there are still many problems with the functioning of 112 as it is, and furthermore there are insufficient guarantees on data protection, including a switch-off button, I consider the introduction premature and prefer a voluntary approach instead.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
With this report the European Parliament sends yet another strong signal that we want to see an EU legal instrument against violence against women and girls. I hope that this report will serve as a basis for the Commission to finally address this basic human rights issue in a more coherent way.
Debate: Monday; Vote: Tuesday
This report aims to go beyond current EU and member state views on the outermost regions. I call for genuine change in European politics in 2014, to bolster these assets and the opportunity represented by these regions of the EU. It is time for Europe to make the overseas territories a component of all its policies and its intrinsic development prospects.
4th RAILWAY PACKAGE
The Commission is pursuing further liberalisation with this package. More market opening and competition and the unification of technical standards are foreseen. We particularly oppose proposals to enhance the separation of infrastructure and operations and the extension of compulsory tendering for awarding rail services contracts. This runs counter to the interests of users in terms of cost, safety and accessibility, and will further damage conditions for rail workers. We back the unions to keep the rail sector public! Our group supports the ETF demonstration on 25.2 (13:00 - 15:30) in front of the parliament.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Wednesday