S&D Group in Austria: „Nations with strong industry manage the crisis better – Relaunching European industrial policy“

The S&D Group held a Relaunching Europe event in Linz, Austria this week, to discuss the need for industrial renewal in Europe. Commenting on the debate, S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda said: „Our discussions in Linz again showed that people want a better future. They rightly expect politicians to find solutions for growing unemployment and rising populism, and to offer a real European vision.

„We see that countries with a higher proportion of industry such as Austria and Germany have managed the crisis better than those with a large services sector. Europe needs a smart industrial policy that encourages traditional sectors to grow while at the same time investing in high-tech and innovative approaches.

„Austria is often cited as a role model for Europe. Not everything works perfectly but it shows that strong social dialogue is positive for the economy and society as a whole.

„The social partnership we’re calling for also includes maintaining high-quality public services and introducing minimum wages in different EU member states.

„Education, investment in research and development, and encouragement for start-ups and small and medium enterprises are also crucial for success. Furthermore, we must invest in green jobs and encourage energy efficiency.

„However, art, culture and design also create jobs and shape our societies. We must make sure there is sufficient funding at European, national and local level to encourage innovation in these fields.“

Hannes Swoboda called for an active employment policy and for money lost through tax evasion to be recovered to fight against youth unemployment: „We need an active employment policy that intervenes and encourages job creation. It is unacceptable that Europe has so many millions of people out of work – particularly among the young.

„Of course we cannot invest in jobs and industry by increasing our debts. However, money is available and it is our task to redirect this money. The €1 trillion lost each year to tax evasion and fraud must be given back to the people who need it: citizens – and especially the younger generation.“

Josef Weidenholzer, S&D MEP for Linz and host of the event, concluded: „Linz and the whole region of Upper Austria have always been pro-European, but we have also been critical in areas where Europe was going wrong. This included early calls to fight against tax evasion and against the harsh austerity policies pursued by conservative forces in Europe.

„It is good to see that with its active fight against youth unemployment and the introduction of the youth guarantee, Austria stands today as an example in Europe.“

Note to editors:

During the event – entitled „Jobs through industry, culture, art and design“ – hundreds of people gathered to talk with Austrian and European politicians, business leaders, artists and representatives of the creative industries on how to encourage jobs and growth in crisis-driven Europe today.

To read more about the S&D Group’s Relaunching Europe initiative, please see: www.relaunchingeurope.eu or join us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/RelaunchingEurope