Swoboda to European Council: "We categorically reject contractual agreements - subsidiarity and community method make Europe strong"

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The last European Council of this year will address a range of topics including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and Economic and Social Policy.

Ahead of the European Council, Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said:

"We support necessary economic and social reform processes in member states but categorically and unequivocally reject 'contractual agreements' between individual member states and the European Commission.

"Closer coordination of economic policies must be achieved in the framework of European economic governance through the community method. Circumventing the community method and adding layers of bureaucracy to strip member states of sovereignty via the backdoor is the opposite of what Europe must do.

"I hope that the present heads of government are willing to support the current first signs of recovery because marginal growth and microscopic employment creation will not blossom by themselves, and particularly unemployment – especially for Europe's youth – must be tackled. To this end, the austerity overkill needs to be stripped down to a manageable level of deficit reduction and combined with a comprehensive investment and employment strategy.

"An efficient fight against tax evasion would create significant resources that could be used for investment. Austria and Luxembourg should finally give up their stubborn blockage of the European Savings Taxation Directive in their meanwhile desperate attempt to avoid automatic exchange of information.

"I regret that the heads of government – expected to agree on only a couple of meaningless paragraphs that mention the social dimension of the EMU – still do not seem to have understood that to make Europe a success, Europeans must be happy. This requires jobs, growth, social equality and opportunities. But we are certainly not there yet".

On the topic of CSDP, addressed by a European Council for the first time since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Hannes Swoboda added:

"It is essential to increase synergies, and even more so in times of crisis. European CSDP could have a greater effect with fewer resources if cooperation were increased. A common orientation would in return benefit and support the European defence industry – which cumulates to a major employer in Europe.

"The main aim of our CSDP must be a political, economic and social stability in our immediate neighbourhood, in unison with a coordinated fight against terrorism".