EU Council must back massive recovery fund today, solidarity is crucial
The European Council must take its lead from the spirt of collective action and solidarity that is thriving in communities across Europe, PES President Sergei Stanishev concluded during a videoconference with PES prime ministers and leaders today. The COVID-19 recovery fund must be massive and should support trademark socialist policies to save lives and protect jobs.
PES President Sergei Stanishev said:
“We need to see the European Council send a clear mandate to the Commission to prepare a Recovery Strategy that includes an ambitious Recovery Fund of at least 1.5 trillion euros. European leaders must be prepared to act in the same spirit of solidarity that ordinary citizens, health workers and neighbours are showing every day.
“We are facing a common challenge where misfortune for one is detrimental to all. The European Union is defined by interdependence. We benefit from our neighbour’s success, we thrive together, we leave no one behind. Our political family has a legacy of standing up for that principle. Today’s Council must stand up for it too. Failure to reach a final agreement would be disappointing.
“We are fighting to rebuild our societies in a way that is social, democratic, inclusive, and follows the principles of the Green Deal. This crisis has shown how vital the role of the state is, how vital good safety nets, social policies and public services are. There must be socialist trademark policies in the Recovery Strategy. This is why we are fighting for quality jobs, efficient healthcare accessible to all, equality, a feminist economy, and sustainability. We need an unambiguous ‘no’ to austerity and a clear ‘YES’ for solidarity from the European Council.”
The meeting agenda focused on three main issues: coordination of the progressive political family around the EU Recovery Fund and new financial support instruments; answering the attacks of anti-European movements and those who use the crisis to promote authoritarianism; and overcoming the image of divisions within Europe.
The meeting welcomed important steps that have been taken thanks to the efforts of progressive Commissioners, the S&D Group, and PES governments and member parties. This includes the activation of the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact, the Commission proposal on SURE, the ‘Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative’, the Eurogroup agreement on a 540 billion EUR package, as well as the European Parliament resolution adopted on the 17 April.
Sergei Stanishev presented the PES’s recovery plan: The PES Plan to Contain Covid-19 Shock and Recover, Saving Lives, Saving Jobs and Changing our Future. The document, prepared by the PES, is already in its final phase after more than a month of discussions among PES networks, organisations and member parties. It sets out actions the EU must take to: support health systems, guaranteeing protection for professionals and investment after years of austerity; protect jobs and support the economy through continued SGP flexibility, an ambitious MFF and new financial instruments; and, prevent the Hungarian, Polish and any other government from undermining European values.
The meeting was attended by:
Sergei Stanishev, President of the PES
Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union
Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality
Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for the Economy
Maroš Šefčovič, European Commissioner for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight
Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships
David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament
Iratxe García, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament
Achim Post, Secretary General of the PES
Paul Magnette, Leader of PS Belgium
Conner Rousseau, Leader of sp.a Belgium
Kornelia Ninova, Leader of BSP Bulgaria
Maria Vasiliadou, Deputy President of EDEK Cyprus
Indrek Saar, Leader of SDE Estonia
Jari Luoto, Ambassador, State Under-Secretary for European Affairs, SDP Finland
Antton Rönnholm, Secretary General of SDP Finland
Olivier Faure, Leader of PS France
Norbert Walter-Borjans, Co-leader of SPD Germany
Lisa Nandy, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Labour UK
Fofi Gennimata, Leader of PASOK Greece
Nicola Zingaretti, Leader of PD Italy
Enzo Maraio, Secretary of PSI Italy
Nils Usakovs MEP, Saskana Latvia
Gintautas Paluckas, SDLP Lithuania
Lodewijk Asscher, Leader of PvdA Netherlands
Colum Eastwood, Leader of SDLP Northern Ireland
Jonas Gahr Store, Leader of DNA Norway
Andrzej Szejna MEP, SLD Poland
Marcel Ciolacu, Leader of PSD Romania
Robert Fico, Leader of SMER Slovakia
Dejan Zidan, Leader of SD Slovenia
Zoran Zaev, Former Prime Minister of North Macedonia and Leader of SDUM North Macedonia
Zita Gurmai, President of PES Women
Alicia Homs MEP, President of YES
Maria Joao Rodrigues, President of FEPS and Chair of the PES Financial and Economic Network
Christophe Rouillon, President of the PES Group in PES CoR
Alexis Tsipras, Leader of Syriza Greece (observer)