S&D Euro MPs today backed a set of reforms to improve the functioning of the EU, make Europe more democratic and increase the solidarity in the Eurozone.
Three reports were put to a vote today in the plenary session in Strasbourg. They represent the European Parliament’s contribution to the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the landmark Treaty of Rome which gave birth to the European Communities.
S&D Group spokesperson on constitutional affairs and co-author of the report on improving the functioning of the EU, Mercedes Bresso, said:
“With the adoption of these reports, the European Parliament has sent a united message and a strong signal to the populists. The EU will keep protecting its citizens. We want to build a strong European pillar of social rights. The EU must also be much more efficient in the fight against tax evasion and tax fraud.
“We also want a more democratic economic governance and a more united and integrated approach to protect our external borders and our continent.
“Our citizens have many doubts about the EU. They want change. We are proposing new steps to make a better Europe that is more efficient and closer to its citizens. We must open a new phase in Rome. European citizens must be fully involved through a wide public and open debate about our common future. Then we are calling for a convention, open to all stakeholders, to prepare the revision of the Treaty. This is the message we want to send ahead of the Rome commemoration.
S&D Group negotiator on the possible evolution and adjustments to the current institutional framework, Jo Leinen, added :
“Amid an expansionist Russia and a US government that questions the western security architecture and promotes protectionism, a strong and self-confident Europe is needed more than ever.
“In a globalised and rapidly changing world, no single EU member state is powerful enough to compete with the world’s superpowers like China and the USA. Only a united Europe will be able to defend European interests and shape globalization, instead of merely being its subject.
“The EU’s inability to successfully manage the migration and refugee flows and its slow and inadequate response to the financial and economic crises lead to deep disappointment among many citizens, preparing the ground for anti-European sentiments and nationalism.
“The EU must be able to deliver in key areas such as anti-terrorism, security and defence, the fight against tax evasion and environmental protection, which is not possible if single national governments are able to block common solutions. We must put an end to national vetoes and cherry-picking. The EU also needs better instruments to ensure all member states’ compliance with the Union’s fundamental values.
“We want the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome to be the starting point for a European-wide debate on the future of Europe that leads to a big convention and a new basis for a more successful and democratic European Union.”
S&D Group spokesperson on economic and monetary affairs and co-author of the report on the budgetary capacity for the Eurozone, Pervenche Berès, stressed:
“For the first time, the European Parliament is proposing a roadmap to create a budget for the Eurozone. The financial crisis in 2008 has shed a crude light on the weaknesses and shortcomings of our economic and monetary union. The fiscal capacity will be an instrument of solidarity and a milestone to stabilize the Eurozone in the long-term. It will allow members of the euro area to cope with asymmetric and symmetric shocks.
“We call on the European Commission to take on board our proposal in its white paper on the future of Europe. Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) must be a top priority for the coming years as well as achieving the Banking Union and the establishment of a Capital Markets Union (CMU). “
S&D Group vice-president responsible for economic and monetary affairs, Udo Bullmann, added:
“The fiscal capacity has the power to boost the Eurozone’s social performance. It is instrumental in avoiding the Euro being pushed to the brink as happened in the sovereign debt crisis. For us as Socialists and Democrats, the swift and responsible introduction of a fiscal capacity along the lines of the report is therefore of utmost importance. This would be a stepping-stone towards social Europe and paramount to a successful future of the EU.
“Completing the Economic and Monetary Union must make its integration smarter, not only deeper. The fiscal capacity must therefore add real value in making Eurozone jobs better and safer. Our key priorities are well reflected in the report. Especially by pushing for a convergence code that complements the fiscal capacity, we progressives have made sure the Union can deliver on this promise.
“Our Group has made sure that the focus of Eurozone integration is not only fiscal or economic - but also social. This is good news for ordinary people. With a fiscal capacity as we have conceived it, the Eurozone will be marked by social progress instead of inequalities and never-ending crises.”