At a meeting this morning of the President of the European Commission and the major and democratic European political parties, the President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) Sergei Stanishev, called on Commission President Barroso to; “back up rhetoric with concrete action for growth and jobs, and a truly social Europe”.
This first political consultation with European parties was welcomed by the PES, but Mr. Stanishev emphasized that; “the political differences between the parties remain very clear: a centre right hard line austerity future or a progressive future based on investment”.
He said that; “European citizens want clear, fair and immediate action on the economic crisis. The EU is at risk of being seen as part of the problem, imposing only pain through cuts and austerity. This is a breeding ground for populist anger, “he commented. “Our meeting this morning underlined my view that the PES insistence on investment is the best way to meet those demands”.
The PES President outlined that the proposed EU treaty fails to propose fast and concrete measures to generate fair growth, to overcome the employment crisis, to reduce social inequalities and to restore a sustainable path towards fiscal consolidation.
Mr. Stanishev added that; “The PES wants to reinvest unused EU funds into investment programmes for growth and jobs, establishing a youth guarantee to tackle unemployment and implement a Financial Transaction Tax without loopholes. This is what we mean when we call for growth and jobs – not more liberalisation and more austerity. This is a practical, immediate response. If the Commission is serious about listening to people’s concerns it will give its full support to our proposals”.
‘Concrete plans on Youth Unemployment”
He added that; “On youth unemployment in particular, the PES is the most advanced. We have identified 10 billion euros of unused EU structural funds that could be immediately used to address the scourge of youth unemployment. In the EU, every two weeks, 2 billion euros is lost due to youth unemployment. That is 100 billion a year. Using the 10 billion euros we have identified would be a very sound investment”.
Turning to the problems of how democratic standards are upheld in the EU today, Mr. Stanishev drew attention to the ongoing attacks on democratic norms in Hungary, Bulgaria and in Romania. “We expect the EU and the various political families to clearly uphold these standards. The EU cannot lose credibility on its core values”.
Also attending the meeting was PES General Secretary, Philip Cordery who called attention to the PES response to the situation in Romania (as reported by Euractiv today).
The PES Prime Ministers and Deputy’s will hold a preparatory meeting ahead of the EU summit on the morning of Monday 30 January (more details to follow).
The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso met today with President of EPP Wilfried Martens, President of the European Socialist Party, Sergei Stanishev, the President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party, Sir Graham Watson and Co Presidents of the European Green Party, Monica Frassoni and Philippe Lamberts.