Hannes Swoboda: „Time for a socially responsible Europe now!“

Speaking in Strasbourg today ahead of the EU Summit at the end of June, S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda said: „The EU Council and the member states have a moral obligation to act. We are faced with an economic, political and social crisis and it is time to create a real social, economic and fiscal union.

„Recent events like those in Greece show that the austerity imposed by the Troikas is not working. We have to end the rule of the Troikas! When will the Commission understand and assume its democratic and social responsibilities?“

On the multi-annual financial framework and the fight against youth unemployment, he said: „There is only one answer to the growing anger of citizens and that is an active fight against youth unemployment.

„The €6 billion allocated in the EU budget to fight youth unemployment over the next seven years is nowhere near enough to respond effectively. But, €6 billion is a start and we must now make sure it is used in the most efficient way.

„I am deeply disappointed that the European Council did not reach an agreement – we did our utmost in the European Parliament.

„We must ‚frontload‘ the money in the first years of the multi-annual financial framework so we can finance the youth guarantee and get young Europeans working immediately. With flexibility and the revision clause we could get additional money to finance it for the later years.

„Millions of young people are without job and hope today so we have to find solutions now to get them back to work.

„We must invite the European Investment Bank (EIB) to act faster and more efficiently and to improve conditions for small and medium-sized companies, which at the moment cannot get financing or face excessively high interest rates.“

He concluded by criticising the trend towards national rather than European action: „Meetings and agreements between individual countries – such as the planned summit on youth unemployment in Berlin – are not the solution. Such action is merely electoral campaigning.

„The Commission and the Council have to take up their responsibilities and come forward with European solutions to European problems.“