Plenary Focus - September 2014
Juncker has given the Commission a freshening up, but its out-dated structure remains intact. The distribution of responsibilities leaves many questions unanswered. Double responsibilities make power struggles and strife between the Commissioners very likely. Whether, and how, this redistribution will deliver more effective policy to deal with the festering crisis - with its high unemployment and poverty levels - is worryingly unclear. In the case of several portfolios, such as Climate & Energy, and Financial Stability, one cannot help but worry even before Parliament holds its hearings.
Situation in Gaza
Our delegation to Palestine was forbidden entry to Gaza by the Israeli authorities. The footage we were shown by the Red Crescent gave us a clear indication as to why. Gaza has been devastated by the recent Israeli onslaught. A total of 17 hospitals have been destroyed, whilst there have been approximately 11,000 injuries and over 2,000 deaths most of whom are civilian. The UN OCHA has stated that €551 million worth of aid is needed in the territory and it is estimated that the job of reconstruction will take 20-25 years. We can’t go back to the status quo – the occupation must end.
What the financial powers and governments at their service have called “austerity” is actually “austericide”; as the people of the South of the EU have already seen. Now, the Commission and the Council are working to transpose this failed recipe to the EU budget while Parliament legitimises the whole operation with a far-fetched “democratic” label. It’s a tragic drama that PODEMOS and GUE/NGL will denounce loud and clear.
This EU-Ukraine association agreement is being rushed through Parliament in an unprecedented fast-track procedure. Given that the agreement and its free trade chapter have contributed to a deep internal social and economic conflict that has led to thousands of victims, the EP’s role should have been taken much more seriously. It is shameful to use banana republic procedures to such a key dossier. Ukraine’s citizens will be deprived of their chance to influence ratification in their upcoming elections. We strive for peace and therefore reject the procedure and the agreement.
Globalisation Adjustment Fund
Liadh Ní Riada
As the only Irish MEP on the Budget committee, I have opportunities to have an impact on the Multi annual financial framework and how it impacts on Ireland. I have completed a report on the European Globalisation Fund which will be voted on in the Plenary session in Strasbourg, specifically asking for regional autonomy and ease of access. Funding for workers who are unemployed due to the global economic crisis need to have opportunities in place enabling them to gain employment.
Climate change has received a lot of awareness, but our efforts have been insufficient. As major world leaders gather for a climate summit in New York, we must urge them to take action, as we’re approaching disaster. We need not just an ambitious vision but also bold announcements and actions, in order to reach a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.
Lola Sánchez Caldentey
Ebola has already claimed 2,105 lives. According to the WHO it could infect over 20,000 people, and will take at least six more months to control. These data highlight that the effort to stem the outbreak has been dangerously inadequate. Lack of coordination and cuts to foreign aid budgets implemented in recent years in most EU countries are to blame. We call for an urgent EU plan to mobilise medical response from member states to provide effective humanitarian aid.