Ahead of the 1st of March EU Summit, the Party of European Socialists (PES) leaders have called for investment in the EU economy and investment in youth. In an open letter sent to the European Council, the PES made a strongly worded critique of existing conservative policies. “Spending cuts, further deregulation of the labour market and liberalisation of the service sector are not the answers”, the letter warns.
PES President Sergei Stanishev, stated that; “thanks to Conservative obsessions, growth and employment measures have been absent from the EU agenda for fully two years now. Our letter emphasizes that we have to invest in the EU economy and invest in youth. We have to promote the right progressive employment policies and focus on social investment. European citizens realise this now more than ever”. In a reference to François Hollande’s campaign in France, Mr. Stanishev added, “Starting with the French elections, we will see a reawakening of progressive values”.
Hannes Swoboda, leader of the S&D Group (Socialists and Democrats) in the European Parliament said that; “Europe needs a new progressive direction. Sustainable growth and employment are the only way to overcome the vicious circle of conservative austerity-only policies and this is also the way to reduce budget deficits."
Prominence is given to the introduction of a European Youth Guarantee, a flagship policy of the PES and a political commitment that ensures that every young person is offered a job, further education or work-focused training after 4 months unemployment. Using unallocated EU funds worth €10 billion, the guarantee is one of the priorities of 2012 and is already being studied by experts for its implementation at European level. Other key points of the leaders’ proposal are to strengthen the active labour markets, to enhance the education system and to improve the framework conditions for the European enterprises.
The open letter also details the sources of financing needed to accomplish this proposal: a major reform of the EU budget, more efficient and fair national tax systems and the broad implementation of the Financial Transaction Tax – which would generate up to €200 billion each year.