European Semester: a recipe for disaster
A press release of Fabio De Masi
During a debate on the EU's economic policy coordination in the European Parliament this afternoon, GUE/NGL MEPs agreed that the so-called European Semester is a recipe for disaster.
German MEP, Fabio De Masi, said: "The European Semester is a disaster and is not being implemented anyway - and thank goodness for that, otherwise the Eurozone situation would be even worse. Since the crisis, public spending and wages have been cut, unemployment has increased, the Eurozone is stuck in a depression and public debt has exploded."
"Monetary policy from the ECB is simply going up in smoke. And according to the Five Presidents' report, this crazy policy should be continued; competition councils would interfere in collective bargaining processes; wages would sink. The euro will break down as a result of these policies."
For Portuguese MEP, Marisa Matias, the European Semester brings some serious contradictions with it: "Theoretically it calls for structural reforms. Nonetheless, we've seen an increase in debt like we've never seen before. It's all very well to say you'll pay special attention to social issues such as unemployment, but in reality you are carrying out structural reforms without solutions to those problems."
"All we're seeing is a generalisation of precariousness, low wages, poor workers and emigration. Most of these are the results of structural reforms and this should be changed. Either we are more social or we are more reforming. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past."
Greek MEP, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, questioned Commissioner Dombrovskis, who was present in the chamber: "Your general discourse and speech on growth cannot conceal the flagrant failure of the Eurozone policy - growing levels of poverty, unemployment, inequality, public debt and falling investment levels. What about the excessive deficit in Germany? Does that breach EU rules? Why is the Commission not taking action on this as it does in other cases?
He continued: "You say we need more transparency and democratic legitimacy, yet we heard the proposals you announced on the 21st of October - why are you dismissing the role of the European Parliament? Why are things being discussed behind closed doors?"
For Portuguese MEP, Miguel Viegas, the "EU remains in a state of stagnation despite favourable exchange rates, low energy costs and a massive injection of liquidity by the ECB. Yet, we don't see the slightest hint of a relaunch of the economy and we have a very weak level of private investment.
"As for the European Semester, the Commission is not questioning its rules although most member states don't respect them, most country recommendations are not followed up and no effort is made to hold governments accountable. What you're trying to do is to impose a neoliberal approach on our countries, but at the same time you are setting up anti-democratic institutions such as tax councils that are just going to prevent countries from pursuing alternative modes of development."