Despite slight improvements for the poorest, the S&D group still sees the crisis worsening year on year with increasing long term unemployment and a youth condemned to joblessness or precarious work. For many MEPs, there is a need to move beyond excessive austerity with more flexibility.
One innovative suggestion put forward by the committee rapporteur on the European Semester, Sergio Gutierrez Prieto MEP S&D, is for all Commissioners to have competency over job creation in order to show that job creation must stem from all policy areas.
Jean Lambert MEP from the Greens, who recently spoke to CESI about her priorities for this legislature, argued for a realignment of priorities of the European Semester back to the Europe 2020 strategy targets. Ms Lambert also discussed the role of national parliaments and civil society in the Semester processes.
MEPs from ALDE and EPP were looked less kindly on the need to move away from the current path of reforms, stressing the need to keep debt and deficit levels in check and avoid a return to excessive spending levels. This was quickly rebutted by the S&D rapporteur who used the example of cuts to education as having no short term effect on deficit levels, but likely to have damaging long term implications.
Commenting on the committees’ discussions, CESI Secretary General, Klaus Heeger said, “With the Europe 2020 targets becoming more and more unachievable, the European Parliament take this chance to send a strong message that business as usual will not work. I am happy to hear this message coming first from some Employment and Social Affairs committee members but it must not stop here.”