During the plenary debate today on the State of the Union, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García, said:
“The state of the Union is not good, not only because the pandemic shook us in an unexpected way, but also because it exposed other problems that we have been dragging for years due to lack of political will. I am thinking about the Migration Pact, but also about the incomplete tools to manage the euro, and also about obsolete economic indicators to measure economic and social development. I am thinking about the miniscule own resources.
“However, there is something that we have done right: this time the answer to the crisis will be based on people and solidarity, and not on austerity.
“People blame the EU for problems over which it has no capacity to act. And the worst thing we could do would be to be disappointed for lack of courage.
“For decades, we have been talking about own resources and fiscal capacity, with proposals such as the Financial Transaction Tax. It is totally unacceptable that fiscal pressure puts burden on workers and not on speculators. There are other proposals circulating and we are open to them. But the time to decide has come, because we need to invest in the ecological and digital transition while building up a strong social net, without leaving anyone behind. This is the time to invest in the resilient Europe presented in the Foresight report.
“Let’s not forget that taking care of people is part of sustainability. Now more than ever we must insist on an Anti-Poverty Strategy, including the Child Guarantee and a directive on minimum wages.
“We have a pending in-depth discussion on the reform of our economic governance. As we have another fundamental discussion where we must hold on to our values. It is alarming to see how the rule of law is deteriorating in some member states. It is unacceptable that some cities in the EU declare themselves free from LGBTI. We demand the Council to immediately adopt a position on a Rule of Law Mechanism to start negotiations as soon as possible.”
Iratxe García also proposed to introduce a European Cultural Voucher for the young and unemployed, as a way to support the creative and cultural sectors and to contribute to a critical European citizenry.