The Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament distances itself from the draft of the ‘Joint Declaration on the EU's legislative priorities for 2018-19’, scheduled to be signed next week. The document was negotiated over the past weeks by the presidents of the European Parliament, Commission and Council, but lacks commitment on a number of legislative initiatives that are crucially important for the S&Ds. In particular in the fields of taxation, social Europe, Eurozone reform and the post-2020 EU budget. Therefore, the S&D Group could not accept this text in the last meeting of the leaders of the European Parliament's political groups.
S&D Group vice-president Maria João Rodrigues said:
"The Joint Declaration is disappointing proof that when all the main EU institutions are led by the centre-right, the thirst for progress and change is lost. The S&Ds have long been fighting for concrete actions against tax avoidance, for decent working conditions, for a strong EU budget and a better functioning Eurozone. However, the Joint Declaration treats these as secondary priorities, without listing the concrete actions that need to happen on:
- Taxation: The Common and Consolidated Corporate Tax Base and many other taxation proposals under negotiation are nowhere in the Joint Declaration.
- Social Europe: The Social Fairness Package, promised by the Commission as a concrete follow-up to the recently proclaimed European Pillar of Social Rights, has been taken out of the text.
- EU budget: There is no mention of the need for proper own resources in the post-2020 EU budget so that the EU could stop being at the mercy of member states' cash contributions.
- Eurozone: And just when the Commission made a number of proposals to reform the Eurozone's functioning, the Joint Declaration only provides a vague reference.
"S&Ds were active since the earlier stages of the negotiation of the Joint Declaration, which is reflected in several welcome commitments, such as to reform the Common European Asylum System, follow up on the Paris Agreement or strengthen the EU's trade defence instruments. However, the final version, negotiated by Presidents Tajani and President Juncker with the Estonian Presidency of the Council, is much too modest.
"S&Ds want a better roadmap for the European Union. In July we tabled a detailed vision for a Europe that works together for the priorities people care about. Some of them where reflected in President Juncker's speech on the State of the Union and on the Commission Work Programme. But just when the EU needs to turn words into action, this inter-institutional Joint Declaration is lessening the Union’s ambition. The S&Ds have long been fighting for concrete actions against tax avoidance, for decent working conditions, for a strong EU budget with own resources and a better functioning Eurozone. Without proper action against tax avoidance and for social fairness, Europe can hardly convince citizens in 2019 that it is doing enough for them."