Hands-on social democrats in EU roles ‘would strengthen Citizens’ voice’
PES leaders today discussed the upcoming political priorities for the next 5 years and EU institution’s key positions that must implement them ahead of the European Council.
They also debated the European Commission policy programme presented yesterday by Jean-Claude Juncker. After intensive negotiations with, and commitments to, European party leaders in recent weeks, the PES assured that Mr Juncker will be ‘continually assessed’ on what is delivered.
The €300 billion investment package proposed by Mr Juncker was cautiously welcomed by the PES President Sergei Stanishev: “Mr Juncker has promised to stimulate public and private investment across Europe. These numbers are encouraging but they must not turn out to be a simple accountancy trick. With a PES backed Commissioner in charge of the economic affairs portfolio we can take a hands-on role and make sure that this money is productively used to create jobs and fight inequalities.”
Stanishev also called for a frontline commitment to gender balance so that the EU leadership truly reflected all of Europe’s citizens. “Mr Juncker has said he wants more women Commissioners but he hasn’t spoken much about women’s rights. We want him to go beyond nice words and show good deeds. As well as women Commissioners, we need equal pay for women and men in Europe, and a Commission which defends a woman’s right to choose and to balance her personal and professional life”. Yesterday PES Women criticised the Commission’s withdrawal of a proposed Directive on Maternity Leave. “Mr Juncker must not allow this issue to be ignored”, Stanishev added.
With a strengthened European Parliament, Mr Juncker will be closely scrutinised by the PES & S&D on the implementation of his policy programme. “Mr Juncker has already said European Parliament President Martin Schulz will be his closest ally, which is good news. He must also count on Gianni Pittella (S&D President) and myself to be his closest scrutinisers in the Parliament,. It will be a process of continually assessment”, said Stanishev. “We’ll be reminding him every step of the way that markets must serve citizens and governments, not the other way around.”