The Europe Ministers of the Socialist and Democratic political family discussed ways of boosting investment and addressing the current refugee crisis, ahead of the General Affairs Council. The ministers built up on the Progressive Leaders’ Summit hosted in Paris on the invitation of President François Hollande to call for a new drive to investment in Europe. The progressive ministers agreed that the current European Fund for Strategic Investment – also called Juncker Plan – is a first positive initiative that has to be brought further in order to address the problem of mass unemployment, a conclusion also reached by the Heads of State and Government in Paris last Saturday. They agreed that support for more public and private investment is urgently needed at the European level.
The ministers insisted on the need for a truly coordinated European response that will restore a fully functional Schengen area and ensure a better management of the external borders.
French Minister of State for European Affairs and chair of the PES GAC Ministers network, Harlem Désir, stated:
“There can be only a European answer to the refugee crisis if we want to preserve the right to asylum and the Schengen acquis. We have already agreed on an ambitious set of measures, including hotspots, relocation of refugees, reinforced control of external borders, establishment of European coast guards, and an action plan for enhanced cooperation with Turkey. We now need to focus on their implementation. Socialists have been and will keep fighting for a fair and effective European solution to this crisis, building upon our core principles of solidarity, fair sharing of responsibility and mutual respect”.
The President of the Party of European Socialists, Sergei Stanishev, stated: ‘In these very challenging times our political family sticks together and works together to find solutions for the most difficult issues. Our responsibility towards citizens is our driver. Discussing, coordinating together is our working method. Populists have no project other than criticizing what others do. We want to offer alternatives, but from the left. Conservatives are obsessed with austerity and they don’t have a project for Europe, they only have national agendas”.
List of Participants
Harlem Désir - Minister of State for European Affairs, France
Michael Roth - Minister of State for Europe, Germany
Sandro Gozi - State Secretary for European Affairs, Italy
Margarida Marques - State Secretary for European Affairs, Portugal
Margot Wallström - Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden
Sergei Stanishev - President, PES
Yonnec Polet - Deputy Secretary General, PES
Annabel Garnier - Deputy Secretary General, S&D Group at the European Parliament