Plenary Focus - May 2016
Economic growth and youth unemployment
In the Commission’s 2016 Work Programme, inequality is identi ed as one of the major challenges for our society. We question that the Work Programme suf ciently addresses the decline in growth due to the growing inequalities among European citizens, as well as the necessity to enhance upward social convergence. We are demanding measures and speci c policies to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth by reducing inequality. Therefore we need decent jobs, fair and coherent taxes and tax systems and well-functioning cohesion policies. We are still far from that.
EU Agency for law enforcement (Europol)
With the new Europol regulation, the amount of data that the agency is allowed to process will become signi cantly larger, in particular through a new provision allowing them to receive data from private parties. This will increase the quantity of data available to European police forces without improving its quality, thus decreasing ef ciency. We oppose the new regulation.
China’s market economy status
The Chinese government has now declared cutting overcapacities a priority. In the coal and steel sectors, between 1.8 and 5 million Chinese workers will lose their jobs. In the European Union there are also concerns over jobs being at stake because of the overcapacities in China that have built up as a result of the decline in demand. However, the debate on market economy status and the choice of weapons in a trade war is misleading and does not bring any solution for the workers. The EU and China need to learn to regulate collective existence. I urge the Commission to negotiate with China, not only on investment protection, but to negotiate an agreement for fair trade and against price, social and environmental dumping.
Mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation
What could be a major step in tackling tax planning schemes is in reality only likely to become a minor improvement. The right-wing groups in the European Parliament may block the proposed obligation for public disclosure of the country-by-country reporting as well as the proposed increase in the number of multinational enterprises (MNEs) that are obliged to le the reports. Nevertheless, we know that even if these were approved, they wouldn’t prevent the MNE groups from engaging in profit shifting and base erosion schemes. Only the end of the free movement of capital, the public control of the nancial system and pro-worker governments can be effective in fighting these.
Framework agreement on parental leave
Joao Pimenta Lopes
The question of parental leave is linked to the very topical issue of the reconciliation of professional and private life. In this report, GUE/NGL states the need to reduce the gender-pay gap, increase wages, introduce 100 per cent paid parental leave and protect workers’ rights. This is the way to promote equal rights and duties for both parents and to protect the best interests of children.
Preventing and combating traficking in human beings
Traf cking in human beings is a lucrative trade in Europe and worldwide. Although there are different forms of traf cking, the most dominant form in Europe is traf cking in women and girls into the sex industry, where they are used and abused by pimps and sex buyers. All measures to combat traf cking in human beings must be victim-centred with a strong gender dimension. An important step would be for people working in prostitution to be decriminalised in all EU countries and for the focus to be shifted onto punishing procurers (eg. pimps) and buyers who fuel the traficking industry.