Plenary focus - March
Gabi ZimmerDebate: Wednesday
Economic governance and crisis management have hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest. But European leaders still continue as before. Social systems are being undermined, pensions cut drastically, and social partners` rights to participation are being restricted. Economic policy coordination cannot keep ignoring that social and human rights are violated. Council must respect the views of the Parliament and work to reduce economic imbalances. Therefore, we need strict limits for countries with trade surpluses. We oppose a competitiveness policy built on wage dumping and implemented at the expense of the majority to secure big companies` profits on the world market.
Dennis de JongDebate: TuesdayVote: Tuesday
This report is an important step forward in combatting illicit use of financial and corporate structures for money laundering and tax evasion. We wholeheartedly support enhancing transparency through public registers of beneficial owners across all EU member states because it makes it much easier and quicker for law enforcement to follow the criminal money trail, and it also empowers civil society in holding businesses to account.
Where have 4 years of adjustment programmes imposed by the euro group and their agents in exchange for urgently needed financial assistance led? Parliament’s ECON committee points to the tremendous social cost austerity has brought, undermining access to health and education and violating democratic procedures. Where programme countries have regained access to financial markets, this has not been a result of any of the reforms tabled by the Troika, MEPs argue. Therefore, the report calls for a revision of the memoranda and for an urgent alleviation of Greek and Irish debt burdens.
Effectively what Parliament is doing here is a whitewash operation of the disastrous effects of the Troika policies on ordinary people. Rather than as a political choice of the Troika and the governments, austerity is portrayed as unavoidable. Because of this the remedy suggested is more austerity, more structural adjustments, just more of the same poison really. What is needed is fundamentally different policies including ending austerity immediately, taxing the rich and investing in jobs and social services for all.
Mikael GustafssonDebate: TuesdayVote: Wednesday
It is necessary to denounce the serious consequences of the implementation of the Troika programmes for workers and for populations and demonstrate that this is not inevitable; there are alternatives to impoverishment, hunger and misery. It is urgent to revoke the Troika and policy measures based on the logic of ‘fiscal consolidation’ (European Semester, six-pack and two-pack, economic governance, Fiscal Compact) and to promote policies that increase the incomes of workers and the social functions of states.
Cornelia ErnstDebate: TuesdayVote: Wednesday
The recent NSA scandal has only highlighted just how urgent the need for stricter data protection standards is. The Moraes report does not go far enough in its critique of this alleged mass surveillance. We are proposing an amendment that calls for any criminal charges against whistle-blower Edward Snowden to be dropped, and for him to be granted asylum in the EU as an international human rights defender. We also want the immediate termination of the PNR agreement with the US and an immediate suspension of the TTIP agreement negotiations.
Mikael GustafssonDebate: TuesdayVote: Wednesday
DATA PROTECTION PACKAGE
Council has been delaying the much needed data protection reform for two years now. A lack of harmonisation and technological developments have created loopholes that must be closed to ensure respect for the fundamental right to privacy, as enshrined in the EU Charter. We can’t rely on self-regulation for enterprises, and data processors and controllers must face strong fines if they intentionally breach European data protection laws.
Kartika LiotardVote: Tuesday
Although the intentions of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits are laudable, more could have been done from the side of the EU. It does not fully prevent bio-piracy and developing countries, which hold the majority of undiscovered genetic resources, still have to fight to get fair compensation. However, their right to compensation is now formally recognised, which is good.
João Pimenta LopesDebate: MondayVote: Tuesday
EQUALITY BETWEEN WOMEN AND MEN
This report analyses the evolution of women’s rights in 2012 , the year they were developing austerity policies adopted by the EU and national governments, especially in countries under Troika intervention (Greece , Ireland , Portugal), which resulted in huge setbacks in terms of equality between men and women. The text draws attention to the problems that affect the lives of most women in the EU on a daily basis, citing increased unemployment, precarious employment, the increasing lack of social protection, wage discrimination, among others, and offers several measures to strengthen and support women’s rights: strengthened workers’ rights, combating precarious work, the elimination of wage discrimination, the right to work and be a mother without penalty, recovery of wages and pensions, the guarantee of adequate social protection in the event of unemployment, sickness, maternity, paternity, strengthening social protection for the unemployed, equal access for all women to public services such as free and quality healthcare.
Thomas HändelDebate: TuesdayVote: Wednesday
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR WORKERS
Free movement is a crucial fundamental right for EU workers and citizens. But in reality EU workers still encounter many obstacles to moving freely to another member state, one of them being discrimination on the grounds of nationality. This directive aims at providing a better tool to protect efficiently mobile workers from these discriminations by, amongst others, establishing the right to equal treatment with national workers regarding access and conditions of employment, working conditions, health and security and other work related matters. The GUE/NGL supports this directive, and insists that the mobility of workers must remain voluntary.