Ahead of the virtual summit of EU leaders today, Co-Presidents of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament set out their demands for urgent measures to save people and societies from the Covid-19 fallout.
“This is the ‘moment of truth’ for EU leaders meeting today. An emergency fund must be worthy of the name, with financing on a scale that is adequate to tackle the harm inflicted on people by the pandemic. Grants – not loans – of a sufficient magnitude should be issued by the ECB to help member states to fund a real green and social new deal. Tired old proposals for further debt and austerity are downright unacceptable as we stare down this unprecedented catastrophe.
“Crucially, the virus has highlighted Europe’s lack of industrial production capacity in many strategic sectors, after decades of blind free trade. Production of essential equipment, medicines and medical supplies necessary for the response effort must be guaranteed to deal with the emergency. Plans for the permanent relocation of all strategic sectors must be drawn-up. The EU summit must emphatically deliver on this without delay.”
“With few specific proposals, Michel and von der Leyen’s ‘roadmap for recovery’ is an affront to citizens. Like Parliament’s unfortunate weakness at the moment, their inability to back a proper economic response to the pandemic is reckless.
“Where is the sense of urgency? The discussion among EU leaders on bonds has so far lacked any hint of determination to deal with this shock. Much broader solidarity must follow from this unparalleled crisis. This means ambitious measures and Coronabonds backed by the ECB to support the recovery. Under no circumstances can we tolerate conditionalities on financing – their damaging impact on people’s livelihoods has already been demonstrated.”