Plenary Focus - Plenary Focus - February 2013
European semester - Jobs
Joao Pimenta Lopes
This report aims to made recommendations for the European Semester bearing in mind the social problems in many Member States, such as youth employment. However it doesn’t make any real break with the current neoliberal policies. It says fiscal consolidation, in a growth friendly manner, must continue and seeks to increase the retirement age, flexicurity in the labour market. The crisis is used as a justification to reduce workers’ rights.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote Thursday.
Kurdish issue in Turkey
In 2012, fighting between Turkey and Kurdish guerilla forces left 500 dead. Out of international media attention, the Kurdish conflict is the most violent armed conflict in Europe. New talks between the Turkish government and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan have been creating hope for a peaceful solution recently. GU E/NGL put this question on Parliament’s agenda and asks EU institutions to push conflict parties towards truthful political talks.
Agriculture in the outermost regions
The POS EI is a programme for outermost regions. It was set up in 1991 to support agriculture in French overseas departments and the outermost regions of Portugal and Spain. POS EI plays a key role in supporting and developing farming in these regions. Revised by MEPs it will now have three objectives: one aiming to secure the long-term future and development of crop diversification, a second aiming to strengthen the competitiveness of traditional agricultural activities, and a third aiming to compensate additional costs related to the extreme remoteness of these regions.
Debate: Monday; Vote: Tuesday
European semester - Growth
The European Parliament is expected to present its opinion on the Annual Growth Survey 2013 proposed by the Commission. The policy coordination between Member States must support investment policies promoting sustainable growth and employment, as the only route toward sustainable fiscal consolidation . To tackle the deepening recession, the eurozone needs a real commitment among Member States to reduce the macroeconomic
imbalances, by increasing the domestic demand in all economies, especially in the surplus ones, and a differentiated and backloaded path fordeficit and debt reduction.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Thursday
Common fisheries policy
There is a wide consensus when characterising the results of the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): the current CFP is
disastrous – from an environmental, social and economic point of view. The Commission proposal persists with a centralised management of the CFP, ignoring the huge diversity among countries and insisting on a sweeping
definition of ‘overcapacity’, without specifying in detail or on the basis of quantified indications where the overcapacity exists. Moreover, the problems and specificities of small-scale fisheries
are not duly taken into account.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Wednesday
Active and Healthy ageing
The austerity measures leading to cuts in healthcare and social security result in health inequalities and social exclusion, especially for the older generation. Active and healthy ageing means ensuring solidarity between
the generations. It means the current economic/ financial crisis should in no way negatively affect basic human needs and dignity. It means we need a clear and unambiguous strategy to safeguard social cohesion, to improve overall health outcomes and to tackle health inequalities.
Debate: Monday; Vote: Wednesday
Some Member States, including Germany, stick to their radical savings plans, regardless of recession and growing unemployment. President Van Rompuy now negotiates with governments only about further cuts, the EP is out. The rich nations want to cut inter alia the Structural and Cohesion Funds, despite the crisis and growing social divisions. Although the EU already cannot pay 16 billion euros for the year 2012, we need to strengthen a social EU with solidarity because of the crisis.