S&D Group: „We need an alternative economic policy approach“

Speaking today at the monthly press conference of the S&D Group in Strasbourg, S&D Group President Hannes Swoboda called for a new direction in EU economic policy.

Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann will today speak in the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg and Hannes Swoboda said:

„Austria is a good example of a government pursuing a different economic policy.

„Faymann stands for a real alternative to the European Commission’s neo-liberal thinking and he has shown that this can be successful.

„The Austrian approach is based on social dialogue and co-operation with social partners.

„Austria has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and in particular it has maintained a low youth unemployment rate. This is partly due to the early and effective introduction of a youth guarantee, helping reintegrate young people into the workplace.

„Austria has understood the importance of fiscal balance but it aims to achieve it through a comprehensive approach that combines cutting spending and raising taxes where appropriate. Austria is at the forefront in the fight for a financial transaction tax, which our Group has long been calling for.“

On the latest developments in France and the recent agreement between the French government, employers‘ groups and trade unions, Hannes Swoboda said:

„We welcome the agreement reached by French president Hollande with the other stakeholders.

„It proves that if you include all stakeholders in negotiations you can find a valuable and socially balanced solution.“

He concluded with a call for action on economic policy under the Irish EU Presidency:

„2013 is the last full year before the European elections. It is time to complete our work on the stronger regulation of financial markets.

„Europe needs to see the banking union completed and fully operational this year to help countries in economic difficulties, to ensure the stability of the banking system across Europe and to avoid taxpayers bearing the cost of future bank failures.

„We need stricter rules for credit rating agencies and we need to establish an independent credit rating agency in Europe. Finally, we call for progress on the Capital Requirements Directive.“