July 6, 2011
Shifting policy making and spending in cross-border areas such as energy and transport from national to EU level would improve investment returns and cut costs by generating economies of scale. It would also give an urgently-needed boost to EU competitiveness, says the final report from Parliament’s Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis, approved on Wednesday.
Youth unemployment, social cohesion, the sovereign debt crisis and slowing growth are among the issues addressed by the non-legislative resolution, passed by Parliament with 434 votes in favour, 128 against and 33 abstentions.
The resolution analyses the reasons for the current economic and financial crises, suggests ways to avoid economic crises in the future and presents a long term vision for Europe.
“This route that we have paved the way for can give new impetus to the European Union” said Parliament’s rapporteur Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR), in the debate preceding the vote.
“More Europe” needed
A European “New Deal” should foster innovation, job creation and R&D investment, so as to give an urgently-needed boost to European competitiveness and ensure sustainable, green growth, says the report.
The EU must either deepen its integration or risk drifting apart and falling into an era of populism and nationalism, says the resolution. In particular, MEPs urge stronger co-operation in cross-border policy areas such as energy, transport and foreign policy, where EU added value can be high.
This shift in policy making towards the European level would, in the long term, need to be accompanied by an increase in the EU budget “to a sufficient size”. Such a change would be tax neutral for citizens: it would come about through increased EU “own resources” and savings for national governments as a result of shifting activities to European level.
Tax policies, euro-bonds and G20 reform
The report urges closer co-ordination of national tax policies, a common corporate tax base, a European Treasury and changing the European Stability Mechanism into a European Debt Agency. It asks the Commission to look into a system of Eurobonds to reduce sovereign debt and stimulate fiscal discipline.
MEPs also say the Bretton Woods institutions and other economic governance bodies, including the G20, should be incorporated in the UN system. The International Monetary Fund should also be reformed, so as to enhance its transparence and accountability and render it more democratic, while strengthening its role in the economic and financial surveillance of its members, it adds.
Lastly, the resolution argues that revenue from a financial transaction tax could help fund the Millennium Development Goals and meet climate change commitments.
The Special Committee was set up in 2009 to analyse the reasons for the current crises and propose measures to ensure a long-term sustainable growth. Now that its resolution has been passed, it will be dissolved.
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