Pittella: "A good starting point – austerity dogma has been broken"
Following the presentation of the investment plan from Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in front of the European Parliament today, Gianni Pittella the president of the Socialists and Democrats Group stated:
"The paradigm has finally changed. From the blind austerity dogma of the Barroso era, we are now moving to a new phase focused on investment, jobs and growth. This is just the beginning of this necessary process but we are at a turning point. Member states contributions to the new investment fund will now be deducted from the calculations of their deficits and national debts. We broke the taboo of rigidity. It is not about breaking the rules, but rather about the need for member states to count on flexible rules being applied in an intelligent way. This is the clear outcome of our political battle. The S&D Group fought hard for that and we can now be proud of this achievement.
"Nevertheless we could achieve more. We need more courage in terms of public money put on the table. We would have liked to see significantly more public funds made available to attract private sector investment for challenging projects, but €21 billion is a good starting point. We share the willingness expressed by Juncker to extend the plan beyond the first three years, should it turn out to be – as we believe – a trigger for economic recovery and growth.
"Member states must be encouraged to contribute to the investment fund.
"We will insist on flexibility to allow member states more room for manoeuvre to invest. In addition we also believe clear investment priorities are needed, especially in the field of building a sustainable economy, ensuring energy transition and providing support for small and medium businesses (SMEs).
"We are not interested in what the rating agencies say, we are interested in people's lives. We will judge the effectiveness of this plan based on the number of jobs created.
"We cannot miss this opportunity. We just took a first step along the right path, but it will be a long road."