Today the Group of the Socialists and Democrats hosted Commission president Ursula von der Leyen during its remote meeting. In a lively exchange, S&D MEPs expressed their views on the Recovery Plan presented last week by the European Commission and their concerns on the upcoming negotiations with the European Council.
The leader of the S&D Group, Iratxe García, said:
“We welcome the Commission’s proposal which constitutes a true European answer to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and recovery. We have a very positive cooperation with the Commission and we want to remain a loyal partner for the good of all Europeans. Ursula von der Leyen knows she can count on us as long as she remains firm in defending the ambition, size and instruments of her own proposal when she negotiates with member states, particularly when it comes to the next Multiannual budget.
“The Commission’s proposal presents new instruments that my group has insistently demanded in the past, and as an urgent matter since the COVID-19 crisis broke out, such as the mutualisation of the debt through common bonds and new own resources. However, we need to make sure that these instruments will be used efficiently for the well-being of people.
“Today we made it very clear that we will not accept any macro-economic conditionality, but the only condition should be the respect of the rule of law and the use of the money to build for a better future, that is to say, on environmental, social and economic sustainability together with digitalisation.”
Iratxe García encouraged the Commission president to speed up the completion of the Euro Area and the reform the European Semester in order to include the Sustainable Development Goals and the Social Pillar. She also demanded a strong role of the European Parliament all along the recovery process and over all the instruments.
During the discussion, S&Ds also urged Ursula von der Leyen to act against unfair state-aid within the EU and to ensure a level-playing field for all member states. It is the Commission’s duty to avoid any distortion of the single market originated by inequalities in state aid during the response to the COVID-19 economic crisis.