Hannes Swoboda: „EU Council seems to have finally come to some conclusions – now it is time for rapid action“

Following the meeting of the EU finance ministers yesterday, S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda said:

„We welcome the fact that we finally have an agreement following the European Parliament’s fast work on this dossier.

„It is good news that the Council confirms the European Central Bank as the head of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) and that it can directly intervene in any bank and instruct national authorities.

„Looking at the details available, the date for the start of the SSM seems too late. Furthermore, there is no clear answer on the recapitalisation of banks, which is so important, especially in countries like Spain and Ireland.

„As we have done our work so fast, the Council should now be ready to start negotiating with the European Parliament immediately.“

Ahead of the EU Summit in Brussels tonight, Hannes Swoboda said:

„The most recent version of the draft conclusions shows that the European Council has finally corrected some failures and it refers directly to conclusions of the European Parliament.

„However, there is a lack of progress on strengthening the growth pact and no reference to the social pact our Group requested, which is extremely regrettable.

„Regarding the outstanding legislation, the Council must speed up its work to reach an agreement with the Parliament. Under the so-called ‚two-pack‘ we have done our work on strengthening economic and fiscal governance.

„We want to see two signals from governments now. First of all we need a commitment to continued public investment with a long-term policy outlook. As the independent annual growth survey commissioned by the S&D Group shows, budget savings have to be stretched over several years in order to be successful. Secondly, we look to the Council and the Commission to come up with a firm proposal for the mutualisation of debt. A high-level group of experts should work on a concept for how this mutualisation could be designed in the coming months.

„Finally, we expect quick and firm action of the Council to support the Commission proposal for a youth guarantee. It should be a priority to reduce the dramatically high youth unemployment rate in Europe.“