SOTEU: S&D and PES presidents call for courageous and swift action to transform EU

16/09/2020

European Commission President von der Leyen

S&D President Iratxe García and PES President Sergei Stanishev speaking at the State of the Union plenary

Leaders of Europe’s socialist and democratic political family have today called on the European Commission to be bold and to act now to make the EU fairer and more sustainable.

During the plenary debate today on the State of the Union, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García, said:

“The state of the Union is not good, not only because the pandemic shook us in an unexpected way, but also because it exposed other problems that we have been dragging for years due to lack of political will…

“For decades, we have been talking about own resources and fiscal capacity, with proposals such as the Financial Transaction Tax. It is totally unacceptable that fiscal pressure puts burden on workers and not on speculators. There are other proposals circulating and we are open to them. But the time to decide has come, because we need to invest in the ecological and digital transition while building up a strong social net, without leaving anyone behind. This is the time to invest in the resilient Europe presented in the Foresight report.

“Let’s not forget that taking care of people is part of sustainability. Now more than ever we must insist on an Anti-Poverty Strategy, including the Child Guarantee and a directive on minimum wages.”

PES President Sergei Stanishev also took the floor in plenary during the debate on SOTEU, saying that European Commission must act:

“Today, the vast majority of Europeans feel insecure and anxious about their future, their income, their jobs. Swift action is needed. It is great that, after the initial COVID shock, the European Union has taken important decisions for the recovery after the pandemic, with the will and the support of the social-democratic family.

“The most important and historic of these, of course, was to issue a common European debt to provide investment resources and to give people and businesses real support. Now the speed with which this will be realised is vital. Cutting budgets for the coming years is not the answer and the path to global leadership. Most of the policies needed to rebuild the EU have been proposed by the Socialists for some time. They require implementation in order for Europe to be more social, fairer, more democratic."

The PES has welcomed the inclusion of key progressive policies in the State of the Union address, which sets out the Commission’s priorities for the year ahead. But we will remain vigilant to ensure these are implemented in full.