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Τετάρτη 13 Μαρτίου 2019 - Στρασβούργο Αναθεωρημένη έκδοση

17. Ευρωπαϊκό Εξάμηνο για τον συντονισμό των οικονομικών πολιτικών: Ετήσια επισκόπηση της ανάπτυξης για το 2019 - Ευρωπαϊκό Εξάμηνο για τον συντονισμό των οικονομικών πολιτικών: απασχόληση και κοινωνικές πτυχές στην ετήσια επισκόπηση της ανάπτυξης για το 2019 (συζήτηση)
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  Die Präsidentin. – Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die gemeinsame Aussprache über

– den Bericht von Tom Vandenkendelaere im Namen des Ausschusses für Wirtschaft und Währung über das Thema „Europäisches Semester für die Koordinierung der Wirtschaftspolitik: Jahreswachstumsbericht 2019“ (2018/2119(INI)) (A8-0159/2019) und

– den Bericht von Marian Harkin im Namen des Ausschusses für Beschäftigung und soziale Angelegenheiten über das Thema „Europäisches Semester für die Koordinierung der Wirtschaftspolitik: Beschäftigungspolitische und soziale Aspekte im Jahreswachstumsbericht 2019“ (2018/2120(INI)) (A8-0162/2019).

 
  
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  Tom Vandenkendelaere, Rapporteur. – Voorzitter, geachte commissarissen, collega's, discussies over het Europees Semester zijn telkens opnieuw heel erg politiek geladen. Nu de verkiezingen naderen, worden ze zo mogelijk nog politieker.

De vragen die we onszelf moeten stellen in het kader van het Semester zijn namelijk precies die vragen die ons politiek kleur doen bekennen: "Wat is de staat van onze economie?", "Wat zijn de grote uitdagingen?", "Welke prioriteiten stellen we voorop?" en vooral "Hoe zorgen we ervoor dat we de welvaartsstaten die we hebben, kunnen doorgeven aan onze kinderen?".

Collega's, sommigen van jullie zullen willen ijveren voor meer investeringen. Anderen van jullie zullen vragen om meer begrotingsdiscipline. Weer anderen zullen voorstellen om de teugels sterker te laten vieren.

Als rasechte christendemocraat begin ik het debat alvast. Ik denk dat de beste koers een verstandige combinatie inhoudt van al deze opties. Aan halve waarheden en makkelijke oplossingen hebben onze burgers vandaag echt geen boodschap. Het is belangrijk dat we aan hen én aan onze kinderen het volledige verhaal vertellen.

Toevallig is mijn zoon van twee hier vandaag en morgen op bezoek. Het is ook voor hem dat ik hier vandaag sta. Ik wil ervoor zorgen dat in de toekomst het die welvaartsstaat is die hem en zijn geliefden, ook als het even moeilijk gaat, kan beschermen, en als hij ziek wordt, kan genezen, en een billijk pensioen kan garanderen, op het moment dat hij zijn leven dat hij opgebouwd heeft, opnieuw kan afsluiten.

Het is die toekomst, dit grote verhaal, die erfenis van decennia van bouwen aan welvaart en welzijn van onze burgers, die op het spel staat. De vergrijzing is immers een van de belangrijkste demografische ontwikkelingen van de 21e eeuw. Op zich is er een geweldige vooruitgang, maar deze gaat gepaard met gigantische uitdagingen.

Ten eerste, de kosten van de pensioenen, de gezondheidszorg en de ouderenzorg zullen in de komende decennia enorm toenemen en dat gaat onze schatkist enorm onder druk zetten. Ten tweede zorgt de vergrijzing er ook voor dat er proportioneel minder mensen aan het werk zijn en dat er dus minder mensen al die kosten zullen kunnen helpen financieren. Daardoor komt onze schatkist een tweede keer onder druk.

Het is dus tijd om in te grijpen, en volgens mij op drie fronten tegelijk. We moeten én investeren, én structureel hervormen, én onze begrotingen op orde krijgen.

Ten eerste, – ik denk dat het daar echt begint – een gezonde schatkist. We moeten fiscale buffers opbouwen om onszelf te beschermen tegen die stijgende kosten van de vergrijzing. Meer ouderen betekent automatisch meer pensioenen, meer kosten voor de gezondheidszorg en meer kosten voor de ouderenzorg. We moeten ons echt hierop voorbereiden. Zo niet, dan wentelen we de hele factuur af op de volgende generatie.

Ten tweede is het belangrijk om structurele hervormingen door te voeren die de kosten van de vergrijzende samenleving zullen verminderen, en waardoor de proportioneel kleinere groep op beroepsactieve leeftijd zoveel mogelijk aan het werk komt.

Werkgevers moeten werknemers sneller kunnen aannemen en ontslaan. Werknemers moeten makkelijker kunnen switchen tussen verschillende vormen van werk. Mijn ouders komen zijn nog van de generatie waarin men heel zijn leven voor dezelfde werkgever werkte. Dat model staat nu al onder druk. Dat zien we vandaag al. En onze kinderen, denk ik, die zullen eenvoudigweg dat model niet meer kennen. De politiek moet daarom een kader creëren opdat die transitie makkelijker kan verlopen. Om werknemers flexibeler en weerbaarder te maken, zullen constante training, omscholing en levenslang leren de nieuwe standaard moeten worden, of we dat nu willen of niet.

Tot slot, als we de vergrijzing echt willen aanpakken op dit Europese continent, dan zijn investeringen in de toekomst cruciaal, niet alleen in menselijk kapitaal, zoals ik juist aangegeven heb, maar ook in toekomstige productiviteit, om onze economische groei te verzekeren. We hebben behoefte aan investeringen in onderzoek en ontwikkeling, in innovatie en digitalisering, in infrastructuurprojecten.

Verstandig investeren vandaag betekent oogsten morgen.

Dat is het pad dat we moeten uitstippelen met het Europees Semester. Een sociaaleconomisch kompas dat ervoor zorgt dat we niet van het pad afraken en dat een echte garantie biedt op een duurzame toekomst.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin, Rapporteur. – Madam President, first of all, can I thank the shadow rapporteurs for their good cooperation, which I believe has led to a balanced report. There are a few amendments submitted and I think that, with the exception of one, I can support all of them. They don’t significantly change the content or the tone of the report, but they do improve it.

So, first of all, can I say how important it is for the Employment Committee to have its own separate report on the Annual Growth Survey, because we have a different perspective to that of the Economic Committee. They are complementary, but they have a different emphasis, and this report, as well as the previous two reports from the Employment Committee, I believe contribute to rebalancing the importance of the social and economic issues. The economy must work for society. It must contribute to social cohesion, social inclusion and decent jobs. It must be the springboard from which individuals and families can plan their future with confidence. Many of the headline figures for the EU are positive, and I want to list some of them because they are important: the EU economy continues to expand, providing a record number of jobs for people; we are making progress on the social scoreboard; household incomes continue to rise in most Member States; the share of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion decreased up to 2017; and there are more women in the workforce.

All of this is positive, yet there are very significant challenges that persist. For me, one of the major challenges is that household incomes have grown more slowly than GDP, from something like 10.9% to 15.5% over a period of 12 years. This clearly indicates to me that much of our growth is not fully inclusive. This is a key issue for citizens and for the EU as a whole and I believe it will play a role in ensuring the cohesion, and therefore the future, of the EU.

Youth unemployment averages at 18.6% across the EU, which is unacceptably high. While the youth guarantee has certainly helped, the issue as regards resources is that it is woefully underfunded. Precarious work is a huge challenge, given that workers are unable to enforce their rights, with no social security and work in security as a major issue. That’s one of the reasons why I will be supporting the amendment calling for the banning of zero hour contracts. We have challenges around increasing life expectancy, with 80% of the care in the EU being provided by informal family carers, 75% of whom are women. Yes, we have our Directive on Work-Life Balance, but unfortunately on the aspect of carers’ leave, that part of the Directive is weak and allows Member States to choose not to make a real choice for carers.

We have stated clearly in the resolution that the EU’s social goals and commitments are just as important as its economic goals and are not just a means of guaranteeing economic growth, but must be a specific target in themselves.

This perspective underpins our approach to all the proposals in this report on the Annual Growth Survey. This report sends a strong message to citizens that we in the Parliament recognise the essential need to ensure that our citizens can look to the future with confidence. And once again, thank you to all who have contributed to this report.

 
  
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  Melania Gabriela Ciot, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the European semester today, a topic of particular relevance in these times. The Council attaches great importance to the semester and I’m pleased to exchange views with Parliament on the subject.

If we are all to make Europe relevant to people’s daily lives, we need to deliver on growth and jobs, high-quality education, social protection and inclusion, as well as environmental sustainability. We should stress here that it is a question of ownership for the Member States. By streamlining reforms, the European semester aims to improve the situation in each Member State and in the EU as a whole. An agreement on common objectives is therefore important. Your report shows that we recognise these common objectives. I’m glad we have this opportunity to discuss them with you today, and that you have also discussed them recently with national parliaments.

To start on a positive note, evidence suggests that Europe’s economy is strengthening. Employment is growing. Investment is recovering and public finances are improving. Yet, clearly, many challenges remain. You have identified a number of them in your report. Long-term challenges remain, such as population ageing, digitalisation and its impact on work, climate change and unsustainable use of natural resources. Boosting investment remains a priority in order to promote a more robust recovery and to secure a healthy growth rate in the long run.

The extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, in terms of financial capacity, is an important step towards achieving this goal. Let us continue to work together to spur social investment and human capital, to lift the remaining barriers and to foster a truly favourable investment climate.

Furthermore, we need to support growth with smart fiscal policies, while paying close attention to the long-term sustainability of our budgets and debts. We also need to implement the necessary structural reforms in our product and labour markets in order to prepare our economies for the challenges ahead.

We must provide our young citizens with high quality education and invest in their skills today.

Madam President, honourable Members, as we are now leaving crisis times behind us, the legacy of the crisis remains a serious concern. Some citizens are trapped in a cycle of poverty and social exclusion, which they cannot easily escape from. This is an important issue for the Romanian Presidency. Our policy efforts need to be oriented towards the most vulnerable categories of our citizens. They also need to be oriented towards those regions and sectors that are undergoing the greatest difficulties.

We need to think of new solutions to new problems whilst seizing the opportunities ahead of us. The collaborative economy represents a huge potential, but it cannot be a reason to backtrack on employment and social rights. Employment and social policies need to adapt to the changes in the labour market, whilst workers rights should remain protected. Environment policy, together with greening the economy and greening the European semester, can contribute in a very significant manner to the broad policy objective of stimulating sustainable growth and creating jobs. What is key is to focus on the full implementation of the reforms and carefully to monitor the progress in each Member State.

We should share our experiences and use best practice examples to learn from each other. Only by working together closely, to push consistently for reforms and to keep supporting inclusive growth and job creation, will we be successful in creating tangible benefits for every citizen and in rebuilding trust in a strong and prosperous European Union.

Thank you very much for your attention and for the contribution of the European Parliament, in particular the rapporteurs, on this important topic.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, Europe is set to grow for a seventh year in a row. Employment figures stay at record highs and unemployment at record lows. The average levels of both budget deficit and public debt continue to go down. Our strategy based on three priorities, investment, structural reforms and fiscal responsibility, is working.

Yet growth is moderating and risks are mounting. We face trade tensions and a slowdown in emerging economies. Concerns about banks, sovereign loans and debt sustainability are resurfacing in some countries. Amongst homemade reasons for the slowdown, we also see stalling reform momentum in some Member States. Some countries still have high unemployment, while others face skills shortages. Unresolved structural issues continue to hamper productivity and investment. There are still high levels of inequality within and among EU Member States. Long-term challenges, such as population ageing, remain pressing. Rapid technological change and digitalisation are changing our daily lives and the world of work.

That is why decisive action is needed. At national level, we need well-targeted investments and reforms to increase productivity and to foster inclusive growth. Good times must be used to reduce high debt and rebuild fiscal buffers. This, unfortunately, is not happening in some Member States.

At EU level we have made progress on the banking union and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) reform, but some proposals, on the capital markets union, for example, still await adaptations.

At the Eurogroup meeting earlier this week we continued discussions on how to support reforms and investments for the sake of competitiveness and convergence. The Commission is open to amending our proposal on the reform support programme to serve this purpose.

We have just issued our assessment of the economic and social challenges in all Member States and, where relevant, of macroeconomic imbalances. We also identified priority areas for investment, providing a basis for a new programming of cohesion funds. Regarding macroeconomic imbalances our conclusion is that Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, France, Croatia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Sweden experienced imbalances and Cyprus, Greece and Italy experienced excessive imbalances. For Croatia, this is an improvement. We found this year that Croatia still has imbalances, but they are no longer excessive. So this is good news, including with regard to preparations for participation in the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) II and eventually for euro area membership.

We also found imbalances in the case of Romania. This was not the case last year. The reasons are competitiveness losses, widening current account deficits and pro-cyclical expansionary fiscal policy.

We remain concerned about Italy’s public debt ratio, which is not set to decline, and reform momentum has stalled. In spring we will once again assess Italy’s policy steps and the commitments to address imbalances, as well as the level of ambition of the national reform programme.

Overall, since 2011, Member States have made at least some progress on two-thirds of the recommendations but, as I said before, momentum has been slowing. To regain this momentum, Member States can count on our structural reform support service that has been providing support for 500 reform projects in 25 countries, with a further 260 projects to be financed this year.

To conclude, our focused approach has helped us to steer the recovery and it must serve to keep us on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth. I would like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Vandenkendelaere, and the shadow rapporteurs, for the report and I am looking forward to a constructive debate.

 
  
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  Marianne Thyssen, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I would like to thank both rapporteurs, Ms Harkin and Mr Vandenkendelaere, for the two reports on the Annual Growth Survey. The positive economic developments continue to translate into sustained job creation. Two hundred and forty million people have a job in the European Union and this is the highest number ever. Unemployment is at 6.5% and this is now the lowest it has ever been in this century. The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion is dropping and now, for the first time, it is below the level of what we recorded in 2008.

However (there is also a ‘however’), we must not forget that growth in Europe is not benefiting all citizens in the same way, as the rapporteur of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs told us. Real household income is still below the 2008 level in some countries. There is still very high youth unemployment in some areas or a high level of poverty, including high in-work poverty in some Member States. This is why your report, Ms Harkin, strongly resonates with our analysis. We take note of your calls to do more on skills, in-work poverty, regulation of new forms of work, labour market inclusion of people with disabilities, work-life balance and housing.

Since the publication of the Annual Growth Survey last autumn, we have published the country reports on 27 February and those provide a more detailed analysis of the economic and social situation in the Member States. For the second year now, we look at the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The country reports provide an idea of where we stand and of the challenges ahead and they assess policy response by Member State.

We also look at the social scoreboard. This year, we see progress on all 14 indicators of the social scoreboard. Moreover, for the first time, the country reports reflect on the investment needs in each Member State and also, more specifically, as regards European funds. Our aim is to achieve greater synergies and complementarity between the economic policies, reforms and the cohesion policy funds, and I am confident that the combined efforts of European legislation, coordination of economic policies and European funds will help to make the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality for all citizens.

 
  
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  Андрей Ковачев, докладчик по становището на комисията по околна среда, обществено здраве и безопасност на храните. – Г-жо Председател, икономиката на Европейския съюз навлиза за шеста година в растеж в резултат на провежданите структурни реформи, инвестициите и отговорните фискални политики. Тези добри икономически условия са възможност да насочим вниманието си към създаване на предпоставки за траен икономически растеж, който е социално справедлив и екологично устойчив.

Ние имаме отговорност към бъдещите поколения не само да не ги обременяваме с дългове, но и да не излагаме на риск способността им да посрещат своите нужди. Големите предизвикателства пред нас остават. Застаряването на населението или неустойчивото използване на природните ресурси са рискови фактори за дългосрочния ни потенциал за икономическо развитие.

Комисията по околна среда смята, че екологично съобразената икономика и инвестициите в по-ефективни системи за здравеопазване са ключови за благосъстоянието на европейските граждани. Препоръките в рамките на европейския семестър са добър инструмент, за да се насърчат необходимите структурни реформи в тази посока.

При наблюдението и оценката на реформите трябва да бъде възприета по-дългосрочна перспектива, защото често се дават резултати след няколко години. Ние подкрепяме отпускането на финансови средства през следващия програмен период за подкрепа на държавите членки в изпълнение на препоръките за структурни реформи.

 
  
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  Искра Михайлова, докладчик по становището на комисията по регионално развитие. – Г-жо Председател, уважаема г-жо Комисар, г-н Комисар, уважаеми колеги, комисията по регионално развитие в своето становище приветства положителната динамика на икономическия растеж и инвестициите, но изразява загриженост, че тяхното въздействие върху производителността и работните места не е достатъчно. И затова е необходимо по-добро фокусиране на инвестициите на политиката на сближаване и допълването им с други програми на Съюза, както и с публични и частни инвестиции.

Необходимо е Комисията и държавите членки да засилят сътрудничеството си и да предприемат по-нататъшни мерки за привличане на частни и публични инвестиции, изграждане на партньорства и сближаване, за да достигнем до допълняемост на фондовете и инструментите на Европейския съюз.

Приветстваме предложенията за следващата многогодишна финансова рамка и тясната връзка между европейския семестър и бъдещите структурни инвестиционни фондове. В заключение бих искала да изтъкна ролята на програмата за подкрепа на структурните реформи, предоставяща адаптирана към конкретните обстоятелства помощ, за да подпомогне държавите членки да провеждат своите структурни реформи.

 
  
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  Iratxe García Pérez, ponente de opinión de la Comisión de Derechos de la Mujer e Igualdad de Género. – Señora presidenta, si queremos abordar los retos y desafíos de la Unión Europea debemos entender que es necesario que el Semestre Europeo deje de ser un instrumento que le diga a los países dónde tienen que gastar más o menos, dónde tienen que ahorrar o recortar y convertirse de verdad en un elemento de política europea para garantizar la sostenibilidad económica, social y medioambiental.

Y para eso también es necesario que seamos capaces de escuchar fuera de estas cuatro paredes y de entender que es necesario que entendamos que la gente está cansada de la política de austeridad. Escuchemos a los millones de mujeres y hombres que el pasado viernes 8 de marzo salieron a las calles de Europa para pedir una Europa más justa, más social y más igualitaria; escuchemos a los jóvenes que van a salir el próximo viernes pidiendo una Europa que sea capaz de comprometerse con la lucha contra el cambio climático. Si de verdad queremos recuperar la confianza de la ciudadanía en el proyecto europeo debemos pasar de la política de austeridad a la política de crecimiento justo e igualitario para todas y todos.

 
  
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  Ernest Urtasun, ponente de opinión de la Comisión de Derechos de la Mujer e Igualdad de Género. – Señora presidenta, estamos a día 13 de marzo, cinco días después del 8 de marzo, cuando millones de mujeres europeas volvieron a salir a la calle a reclamar sus derechos. Hacemos un debate sobre las perspectivas de crecimiento y económicas de la Unión Europea en el marco del debate del Semestre Europeo y la cuestión está totalmente ausente.

No he escuchado prácticamente de la boca de los comisarios referirse para nada a ello, ni al Consejo tampoco, y en el informe sobre el Estudio Prospectivo Anual sobre el Crecimiento las palabras «igualdad de género» aparecen una vez, simplemente para mencionar de pasada la brecha en materia de pensiones.

Mire, yo solo tengo un ruego en el debate de hoy: esto no puede seguir así en el próximo mandato. Francamente, que tengamos cada seis meses un análisis de la política económica, recomendaciones por países, y que no analicemos ni el impacto de género de ninguna de las reformas estructurales que hacemos, ni miremos cómo podemos reducir la brecha salarial y la brecha en pensiones o avanzar hacia una sociedad igualitaria se vuelve insoportable.

Así que, de cara al próximo mandato, francamente, espero que esto cambie de arriba a abajo.

 
  
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  Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, w imieniu grupy PPE. – Pani Przewodnicząca! Pani Komisarz! Panie Komisarzu! Przede wszystkim chciałabym, jako kontrsprawozdawczyni sprawozdania posłanki Marian Harkin, podziękować sprawozdawczyni za znakomite, wyważone i wrażliwe społecznie sprawozdanie, a także za świetny styl, w jakim przeprowadziła negocjacje nad tym dokumentem.

Sprawozdanie przywołuje dane i liczby, które potwierdzają, że sytuacja na rynku pracy stabilizuje się i poprawia. Rok 2018 to już siódmy z kolei rok wzrostu gospodarczego w Unii Europejskiej. Spada bezrobocie, rośnie liczba nowych miejsc pracy, kluczowe wskaźniki gospodarcze są pozytywne, zadowalające.

Jednak – na co zwracamy uwagę – ten dobrobyt nie dotyczy wszystkich obywateli Unii. Grupa osób ubogich i zagrożonych ubóstwem wciąż liczy ponad sto milionów. Mamy też grupę młodzieży z kategorii NEET, którzy nie pracują, nie uczą się, nie dokształcają. To jest wciąż ponad 6 milionów osób. Istnieje też luka emerytalna między kobietami i mężczyznami wynosząca prawie 40 % i brak równowagi praca–dom. Kwestie te wciąż stanowią wyzwania.

No i wreszcie Unia Europejska jest w trakcie transformacji cyfrowej, która jest podstawą naszej przyszłości i konkurencyjności w świecie. Tymczasem deficyt pracowników w kluczowych dla przyszłości sektorach liczymy w setkach tysięcy, a 40 % obywateli Unii Europejskiej nie posiada podstawowych umiejętności cyfrowych. Potrzebna jest natychmiastowa reakcja ze strony systemu edukacji na miarę wyzwań przemysłu 4.0 oraz wielokulturowej, proekologicznej i mobilnej Europy, aby zapewnić trwały i zrównoważony rozwój naszej gospodarki.

 
  
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  Maria Arena, au nom du groupe S&D. – Madame la Présidente, l’examen annuel de la croissance fait partie du Semestre européen des coordinations des politiques économiques de l’Union.

Vous savez qu’à nos yeux, socialistes et démocrates, ce semestre est trop orienté sur les questions purement économiques et budgétaires et pas suffisamment sur les questions sociales. En effet, à quoi bon créer des emplois si ceux-ci sont mal payés et mal protégés, comme des contrats zéro heure? À quoi bon avoir un budget à l’équilibre, qui s’interdit d’investir dans l’avenir, dans l’éducation, dans la formation, mais aussi dans la transition écologique? À quoi bon avoir de la croissance si celle-ci génère des inégalités de plus en plus présentes aujourd’hui en Europe?

N’est-il pas vrai que les inégalités sociales et culturelles sont le principal danger de la démocratie? Nous le vivons aujourd’hui dans beaucoup de pays européens. Dans la proposition qui est devant nous aujourd’hui, ces préoccupations sociales ont pu être entendues et ont été soutenues dans le cadre de la commission de l’emploi. J’en citerai quelques-unes: un meilleur accès à l’éducation et à la formation; l’importance donnée aux salaires décents et à la négociation collective; des réformes qui ne mettent pas à mal la solidarité et la redistribution des richesses, et enfin les investissements dans la transition écologique.

J’en viens à un amendement que le PPE veut déposer au moment du vote et qui concerne les pensions. Selon le PPE, la seule solution pour disposer de pensions décentes, c’est de disposer de pensions privées. J’aimerais dire au PPE que les pensions privées sont le principal obstacle à l’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes. Les femmes, aujourd’hui, ne bénéficient pas des piliers des pensions privées. Prétendre, dès lors, que l’on va régler le problème des pensions par les pensions privées, c’est renforcer l’inégalité vis-à-vis des femmes à l’intérieur de l’Europe. Nous nous opposerons à cet amendement, car il existe d’autres solutions pour régler la question des pensions.

 
  
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  Ralph Packet, namens de ECR-Fractie. – Dank u wel, voorzitter. Bedankt, Tom Vandenkendelaere, rapporteur, voor uw interessante verslag. We kennen elkaar nog van toen we jongerenvoorzitter waren, Tom van zijn partij en ik van de mijne. Toen al waren we bezig met de vraag of mensen van onze generatie ooit nog een pensioen zullen krijgen. Veel jongeren geloven namelijk niet meer in het sociaal contract zoals we het kennen en zoals we het nodig hebben. De pensioenen van nu worden betaald door de actieve, werkende mensen. Door de vergrijzing hebben we echter steeds minder inkomsten voor steeds meer uitgaven. In België zullen die kosten oplopen tot meer dan 15 miljard.

Dit verslag gaat daarover. Welke maatregelen moeten we nemen om ervoor te zorgen dat de jongere, werkende generaties nu niet uitgeperst worden om dan later zonder pensioen achter te blijven. Hervormingen zijn dringend nodig, want de huidige situatie is niet vol te houden. Als we zo verder gaan, dan zal iedereen uiteindelijk namelijk zelf moeten zorgen voor een appeltje voor de dorst, als ze hun oude dag met een gerust hart tegemoet willen treden.

 
  
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  Enrique Calvet Chambon, au nom du groupe ALDE.Señora Presidenta, chère Madame Thyssen, merci de venir nous écouter. Je vais être très bref et vous exposer une vision politique. En espagnol, après vous avoir salué.

En primer lugar, hemos de reconocer que, por fin, en este mandato se ha puesto el acento en la sociedad, en la salida social de la crisis y, en particular, en el Semestre Europeo social y de empleo. Eso tiene que utilizarse mucho más en el mandato siguiente.

En segundo lugar, se dice que el empleo está mejor que nunca, y es verdad, pero, ojo, no perdamos de vista la idea de que, cuando hay una bolsa de desempleo importante en una nación, es un problema europeo. El reparto del desempleo también es un problema europeo. Otra cosa, las desigualdades. Queda muchísimo o todo por hacer. Aunque ahora venga una crisis, las próximas políticas económicas y sociales no pueden dejar de tener prioridad para combatir el crecimiento de las desigualdades.

Y, finalmente, dos cosas indispensables para el futuro, para conseguir una Europa social. En primer lugar, habrá que tener una política económica fiscal concertada, y eso permitirá una redistribución a nivel europeo. En segundo lograr, hay que admitir que hará falta solidaridad financiera europea, por ejemplo, en el paro y la ayuda contra el paro a nivel europeo.

 
  
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  Jean Lambert, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, I would also like to thank our rapporteur from the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs for the very good work that she did on this report, and I welcome the growing attention that we’re now seeing being given in the semester process to climate change. The report recalls the need to modernise and decarbonise our industry, our transport, our energy sectors and, as we just heard from the Council, environmental sustainability matters. If we fail to respond properly, we’re going to see our economy and our societies pay an ever-increasing cost, as we struggle to deal with the development and effects of extreme climate events. If we think of the costs over the last year of forest fires, floods, storms, et cetera, and what that has taken out of the public budget and our public services, the need to invest in resilient infrastructure and good strong public services and utilities is absolutely crucial. For that, we need the fiscal space to be able to carry out real investment.

 
  
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  Paloma López Bermejo, en nombre del Grupo GUE/NGL. – Señora presidenta, hemos perdido una oportunidad, una más. La ciudadanía europea no quiere seguir escuchando que las mismas políticas que nos han conducido hasta la situación crítica en la que nos encontramos deben seguir siendo la referencia para los próximos años.

La austeridad ha sido un error y un fracaso. Las políticas de gestión de la crisis económica nos han conducido al mayor incremento de la desigualdad en Europa desde el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

El euro se ha convertido en una máquina de crear divergencia económica y social entre nuestros países y, como resultado de esta tormenta perfecta, ha aumentado de manera perceptible y crítica la cólera de una parte de la ciudadanía y un malestar sordo que amenaza no solo a las instituciones europeas, sino a la democracia misma.

Y, frente a la evidencia de esta situación, nuestros informes siguen diciéndoles a millones de personas empobrecidas, excluidas y asustadas que todo va bien. Esto no es posible, no es razonable, y parece que es evidente la falta de interés en seguir creyendo en este cuento.

Noticias como la llamada «tasa Google» confirman lo que millones de personas han comprobado: no todos son tratados de la misma manera. Algunos países de la Unión muestran una dureza inmisericorde con los trabajadores y una servidumbre deplorable con las multinacionales y las élites económicas. Este, desde luego, no es el camino.

 
  
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  Auke Zijlstra, namens de ENF-Fractie. – Voorzitter, bij elk beleidsprobleem – en daar hebben we geen gebrek aan – heeft de EU maar één draaiboek. De bevoegdheden moeten naar Brussel en de regelgeving moet gedetailleerder en dwingender.

Dat beeld wordt met dit verslag over het Europees Semester voor coördinatie en economisch beleid weer eens bevestigd, nu ook het hele sociaaleconomische terrein naar Brussel schijnt te moeten.

De in het verslag beschreven problemen laten ook zien dat de introductie van de eenheidsmunt, de euro, heeft geleid tot een lagere economische groei en een hogere werkloosheid dan buiten de eurozone. De eurozone doet het domweg slechter dan de andere lidstaten, inclusief het Verenigd Koninkrijk. De oplossing voor dit probleem is dan ook heel simpel. Neem gewoon afscheid van de euro en daarmee ook van het daarvoor opgezette systeem van een centraal gestuurde economie. Een dergelijke simpele oplossing ontgaat Brussel echter en lijkt ook een beetje contrarevolutionair.

Men vindt dat, nu de centrale sturing faalt, er dus meer centrale sturing nodig is uit Brussel. Bijvoorbeeld door het opzetten van een Europees investeringsprogramma voor banen en groei, maar dan wel onder voorwaarde van allerhande maatschappelijke doelen, zoals duurzaamheid en inclusiviteit en klimaat-mijdend gedrag. Dit alles om te voorkomen dat er daadwerkelijk groei ontstaat.

 
  
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  Zoltán Balczó (NI). – Elnök Asszony! Egy átlag európai polgárnak az európai szemeszter kifejezés semmit nem mond. Megpróbálom definiálni: a tagállami költségvetés fő számainak EU általi meghatározása. A tagállamok minden év áprilisában be kell hogy nyújtsák a maguk stabilitási, illetve konvergencia programját. Ezt követően a Tanács véleményében felkéri a kormányokat programjuk kiigazítására, az országspecifikus ajánlások beépítésére, azt ellenőrzi, majd felügyeli a programok végrehajtását.

Gyakorlatilag tehát, az európai szemeszter keretében meghatározzák az adott ország költségvetésének fő számait, így a nemzeti parlamentek már csak ezen a kereten belül hozhatnak részletdöntéseket, és ez már önrendelkezési kérdés. A költségvetés megalkotásának érdemi részét elvonják a szuverén parlamentektől. Ennek bevezetése egy lépés volt a nemzetek felett álló szuperállam megteremtése irányában.

 
  
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  Markus Ferber (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, Frau Kommissarin, Frau Ratspräsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen, das Winterpaket zum europäischen Semester war an vielen Stellen ernüchternd. Die zentrale Botschaft war, dass sich das Wachstum in den kommenden Monaten deutlich abschwächen wird. Die Konjunktur schwächt sich ab, der Umfang der erwarteten Abschwächung und ihre Auswirkungen auf die europäische Wirtschaft werden von unserem Handeln abhängen: einerseits von unserem politischen Handeln in den vergangenen Jahren, in denen wir von einer sehr erfreulichen konjunkturellen Entwicklung profitiert haben, aber auch von unserem politischen Handeln in den kommenden Monaten.

Wenn ich mir die Länderberichte genauer anschaue, gewinne ich doch den Eindruck, dass viele Mitgliedstaaten nicht ausreichend auf eine sich abschwächende Konjunktur vorbereitet sind. Die fetten Jahre wurden nicht genutzt. Frankreich laviert seit Jahren an der Grenze zum Defizitverfahren, und der Länderbericht zu Italien ist ein Dokument des Scheiterns. Dieser sehr beunruhigende Befund wirft für mich einmal mehr die Frage auf, warum die Kommission die Umsetzung der länderspezifischen Empfehlungen und die Einhaltung der Fiskalregeln nicht vehementer durchsetzt. Wir sehen immer wieder dasselbe Schema: Die Länderberichte fallen katastrophal aus, die Empfehlungen werden nicht umgesetzt, und die fiskalischen Spielregeln werden ignoriert. Wenn wir so in eine wirtschaftlich schwierigere Zeit starten, zudem, wie es sich seit gestern andeutet, mit einem ungeregelten Brexit, der uns nochmal Wirtschaftsleistung kostet, dann haben wir in der Tat ein Problem. Wenn die Kommission nicht bereit ist, hier für die Umsetzung zu sorgen, sollte auch darüber nachgedacht werden, andere Institutionen zu beauftragen.

 
  
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  Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D). – Senhora Presidente, caros Colegas, a discussão neste Parlamento sobre as orientações da política económica e orçamental é sempre um momento importante do chamado Semestre Europeu, mas é-o ainda mais no atual contexto dos enormes riscos e incertezas e de abrandamento do crescimento económico.

A versão final do relatório que vamos votar esta tarde é, felizmente, bastante diferente da versão inicial. Muitas das propostas apresentadas pelo meu grupo foram acolhidas e, por isso, é com satisfação que posso dizer que a versão final deste relatório terá o voto favorável do grupo socialista.

Agradeço, pois, ao relator, o nosso colega Tom Vandenkendelaere, pela excelente colaboração que mantivemos e que permitiu chegar a este bom resultado.

A mensagem principal deste Parlamento é que a política económica e orçamental europeia precisa de dar um passo em frente para responder ao abrandamento da economia. Precisamos de uma ação concertada para um crescimento mais sustentável e mais inclusivo, precisamos de superar o défice de investimento público e privado e precisamos de garantir que os Estados-Membros com excedentes orçamentais fazem mais pelo crescimento da economia europeia aumentando os salários e o investimento. A responsabilidade na gestão das contas públicas continua evidentemente a ser necessária, mas tem de ser compatível com o investimento para a criação de emprego, com o combate às desigualdades, com a promoção da convergência, com a inclusão social, com a transição energética, com o combate às alterações climáticas, com os objetivos de desenvolvimento sustentável.

É dessa outra visão sobre as políticas de investimento e sobre a ideia de reformas estruturais que precisamos para tornar efetivo o pilar europeu de direitos sociais. São estas as peças fundamentais da estratégia económica e orçamental de que a Europa precisa e por isso votaremos a favor deste relatório.

 
  
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  Czesław Hoc (ECR). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Europa przeżywa obecnie okres dobrej koniunktury gospodarczej, pojawiają się jednak zewsząd zagrożenia i nowe wyzwania. Dobra koniunktura nie będzie trwać wiecznie. Już teraz trzeba sprostać wielu wyzwaniom, czyli stałej globalizacji, technologii 4.0, w tym cyfryzacji, zmianom modelu rynku pracy i tendencji demograficznej. Należy potężnie inwestować teraz, by utrzymać to ożywienie gospodarcze i zapewnić wszystkim korzyści, w tym przyszłym pokoleniom. Należy zatem skutecznie przeciwdziałać bezrobociu wśród ludzi młodych w Unii, poprawić los młodzieży NEET, inwestować w umiejętności, niwelować nierówności w sferze socjalnej i społecznej, inwestować w kształcenie dualne łączące naukę i szkolenie, być może także w job sharing, czyli pracę dzieloną, itd.

Warto podkreślić, że w sprawozdaniu Komisji Europejskiej, w ramach mechanizmu ostrzegania i wykrywania zakłóceń równowagi makroekonomicznej, wskazano 11 państw członkowskich, które w 2019 r. zostaną poddane szczegółowej ocenie. Polski wśród nich nie ma, albowiem polska gospodarka jest silna. Aktualna, nowa tzw. piątka Kaczyńskiego wzmacnia rozwój gospodarczy Polski i promuje jej dalszy rozwój na przysłowiowym piątym biegu.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Schaffhauser (ENF). – Madame la Présidente, chers collègues, si vous avez un pied dans un congélateur, dans le froid absolu, à moins 273 °C, et si vous avez l’autre pied dans un four à 300 °C, la température est bonne, vous êtes à 27 degrés, mais vous êtes en train de mourir, vous allez bientôt mourir d’une crise cardiaque.

C’est ce qui se passe pour l’Europe et les disparités qui existent entre le Nord et le Sud. Il a fallu huit ans à l’Espagne pour retrouver le chemin de la croissance et son niveau de production nationale antérieur. L’Italie ne l’a toujours pas retrouvé. La France l’a retrouvé en 2013 grâce à un déficit dont elle a perdu la maîtrise.

Nous sommes dans une situation où l’avantage comparatif fait qu’obligatoirement, l’Union européenne monétaire ne fonctionnera qu’à condition de mettre place une agence d’investissement, afin d’investir massivement dans les pays du Sud. Sinon, l’avenir avec l’euro est compromis.

 
  
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  Σωτήριος Ζαριανόπουλος (NI). – Kυρία Πρόεδρε, στην Ελλάδα οι διαψεύσεις των παραμυθιών ΣΥΡΙΖΑ είναι απανωτές. Πανηγύριζε για αύξηση ψίχουλα στον κατώτερο μισθό καταργώντας συλλογικές συμβάσεις εργασίας. Οι εκβιασμοί εργαζόμενων να δεχθούν από πλήρη τη μερική απασχόληση και οι απολύσεις αυξήθηκαν. Σούπερ μάρκετ καλούν εργαζόμενους να ευλογούν το αφεντικό γιατί παίρνουν 300 ευρώ και όχι μηδέν. Πανηγύριζε που δεν έκοψε 23η φορά τις συντάξεις.

Σαν μέλος της οικονομικής επιτροπής του Κοινοβουλίου ρώτησα τον πρόεδρο του Εurogroup, κύριο Centeno: Μήπως θα περικοπούν και πάλι, αν δεν πιαστούν τα πλεονάσματα; Απάντηση ολοκάθαρη: σιωπή.

Το Ευρωπαϊκό Εξάμηνο αποκαλύπτει γιατί: η επιτροπεία είναι εδώ και γεμάτη αντιλαϊκά μέτρα. Βασικός στόχος της Ένωσης η διάλυση της δημόσιας κοινωνικής ασφάλισης, επικαλούμενη τη δημογραφική γήρανση αφαιρεί κρατικά κονδύλια από τα ασφαλιστικά ταμεία οδηγώντας τα στις μεγάλες επιχειρήσεις. Ανταγωνιστικότητα δηλαδή με συντάξεις ελεημοσύνη, δουλειά έως θανάτου με ενεργό γήρανση για όποιον έχει ιδιωτική ασφάλιση. Τα αποθεματικά της; Τζάμπα στις επιχειρήσεις μέσω χρηματιστηρίων.

Η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση με νεοφιλελεύθερους ακροδεξιούς είτε ψευτοπροοδευτικά μέτωπα όπως του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ μόνο χειροτερεύει και γίνεται πιο επικίνδυνη για τους λαούς.

 
  
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  Heinz K. Becker (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, Frau Kommissarin, Vertreterin des Rates! Ich möchte vorerst einen Dank an meine hochgeschätzte Kollegin Marian Harkin aus dem Sozialausschuss und auch in der Arbeitsgruppe für Pflegende für ihren wichtigen Bericht aussprechen, aber ebenso der Kommission, denn die Kommission leistet hier eine jährliche Arbeit, indem sie ein exzellentes Werkzeug für den Reformbedarf der EU-Mitgliedstaaten liefert.

Faktum aber ist, dass viele Mitgliedstaaten ihrer Verantwortung nicht nachkommen und keine oder viel zu geringe Anstrengungen unternehmen, um die klar aufgezeigten Problemfelder und meist dringlichen Herausforderungen mit konkreten Reformmaßnahmen zu meistern, insbesondere auch, wenn es um die nachhaltige Sicherung der Finanzierbarkeit der sozialen Systeme geht. Ich denke, dass die Kommission zukünftig ein schärferes Instrument haben sollte, um abzumahnen, zu erinnern und auch durchaus härtere Sanktionen zu ergreifen, besonders dort, wo durch Wählergeschenke durch Nichtreform der Strukturen und sogar Misswirtschaft die Budgets in Unordnung gebracht werden, die Stabilität der Länder in Mitleidenschaft gezogen wird und nicht alleine kleinere, finanzschwächere Länder dazugehören, sondern auch große Staaten im Süden und Westen Europas. Jetzt herrscht Reformbedarf!

 
  
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  Stanisław Ożóg (ECR). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Trudno nie zgodzić się z wieloma diagnozami i zaleceniami przedstawionymi w tekście sprawozdania. Za szczególnie wartościowe uważam wskazania, że przyszłe programy inwestycyjne powinny w większym stopniu służyć MŚP, a dystrybucja funduszy unijnych musi lepiej uwzględniać równowagę geograficzną i specyfikę regionu.

Zastrzeżenia budzi natomiast bezrefleksyjne podkreślanie roli Paktu Stabilności i Wzrostu. Przypomnę, że ETO zaledwie pół roku temu wytknął wady systemowe tego dokumentu, stosowanego przez Komisję Europejską wybiórczo wobec wielu krajów Unii. Takich niekonsekwencji w tekście tego dokumentu jest więcej i będę zalecał mojej delegacji wstrzymanie się od głosu.

 
  
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  Romana Tomc (PPE). – Gospa predsednica, Kot skupnost smo seveda napredovali, pa vendar je situacija od države do države zelo različna.

Recept za uspeh je vzdrževanje dobre kondicije na strani gospodarstva, kar pa seveda lahko dosežemo samo z zelo premišljeno investicijsko in davčno politiko. Pomembno je, da tem usmeritvam sledijo tudi države članice in da poskrbijo tudi za nujno potrebne socialne reforme.

Na ravni Evropske unije bi morali več pozornosti nameniti tudi demografskim spremembam in zagotavljanju družinam prijaznega okolja. Pri tem obžalujem, da stanovanjska politika ni vključena med prednostne naloge Evropske komisije. Dostopnost stanovanj, posebej za mlade družine je namreč v nekaterih državah zelo slaba.

Evropske družine so temelj razvoja in naše družbe. Število rojstev v Evropski uniji pa upada in kar nekaj držav članic še ni sprejelo potrebnih ukrepov na tem področju, kljub temu da je od naslednjih generacij odvisna naša prihodnost. Zato predlagam, da temu posvetimo več pozornosti.

 
  
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  Dariusz Rosati (PPE). – Madam President, I very much share the opinions of other colleagues that have been expressed here during this debate, that the Union faces new challenges. We have an economic slowdown on the horizon. We have an unpredictable Brexit ahead of us, we have trade wars and their implications. We have to be prepared to face these challenges.

Now, most of the postulates here have been addressed to the Commission, but I think that the main responsibility is on the Member States. I mean, issues such as the reform of the labour market, attempts to encourage people to work longer, increase capacity in research and development, in education, and also to work in favour of improving the situation of our banks, especially in some states.

These are all responsibilities of Member States, so I would encourage the Commission, and personally Commissioner Dombrovskis, simply to address this issue in the country specific recommendations. We have to indeed be very ambitious in this regard.

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin. – Bei den nun folgenden spontanen Wortmeldungen werde ich wegen der fortgeschrittenen Zeit nur einer Person pro angemeldete Fraktion das Wort geben können.

Spontane Wortmeldungen

 
  
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  Ivana Maletić (PPE). – Gospođo predsjedavajuća, trokut: investicije, strukturne reforme i pametno upravljanje javnim financijama, u teoriji je potpuno jasan. Naravno, na provedbi je potrebno dodatno raditi i zato u novom proračunu pokušavamo pojačati program potpore reformama, utrostručujemo i Europski fond za strateška ulaganja, povećavamo ulaganja u digitalizaciju i jačamo jedinstveno tržište, otklanjajući barijere i stvarajući Uniju jednakih mogućnosti.

Sve to naravno podržavam, ali protivim se prijedlozima Komisije prema kojima je glavni kriterij raspodjele tih povećanih sredstava broj stanovnika. Po toj raspodjeli gubimo iz vida osnovni cilj - smanjenje razlika u razvijenosti država članica. Manje razvijenim državama članicama, koje su najčešće i najviše pogođene demografskim izazovima, koji se uz starenje stanovništva očituju i kroz velika iseljavanja, moramo dodatno pomoći, a ne smanjivati ESI fondove ili alokacije iz programa potpore strukturnim reformama.

 
  
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  Nicola Caputo (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, promuovere investimenti, attuare politiche di bilancio responsabile e riforme ben congegnate sono le priorità segnalate dalla Commissione, che qualche settimana fa ha pubblicato la valutazione annuale sulla situazione economica e sociale negli Stati membri nell'ambito del pacchetto d'inverno del semestre europeo.

La Commissione disegna un quadro non roseo per l'Italia e critica gli effetti delle misure contenute nella manovra del Governo Conte, considerate un passo indietro rispetto a quelle precedenti: squilibri eccessivi del quadro economico, debito pubblico elevato, non destinato a diminuire, produttività debole, crescente divario tra Nord e Sud, tasso di occupazione tra i più bassi a livello europeo, disoccupazione giovanile altissima e rischio di effetto contagio nei confronti degli altri Stati membri.

Dal punto di vista economico la situazione in Italia è chiaramente peggiorata. È chiaro che l'Italia (ma anche altri paesi) necessita di un cambiamento di rotta e che devono migliorare i conti pubblici e devono essere fatte le riforme. Ritengo però che la Commissione europea debba incidere maggiormente verso quei paesi che stanno dimostrando di non essere all'altezza delle proprie responsabilità.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR). –Κυρία Πρόεδρε, το Ευρωπαϊκό Εξάμηνο είναι ένα σύστημα μέσα από το οποίο η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, κυρίως το Συμβούλιο και η Επιτροπή, παρεμβαίνουν στις αποκλειστικές αρμοδιότητες των κρατών μελών, διότι η οικονομική πολιτική δεν έχει καμία σχέση με τις αρμοδιότητες της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Ανήκει στις αρμοδιότητες των κρατών μελών. Και μέσα από το σύστημα του Ευρωπαϊκού Εξαμήνου, αυτό που γίνεται είναι οι Βρυξέλλες, επί της ουσίας, να υπαγορεύουν τη δικιά τους οικονομική πολιτική στα κράτη μέλη. Με αυτόν τον τρόπο συνεχίζουν την πολιτική λιτότητας και βίαιης δημοσιονομικής προσαρμογής.

Έχει άραγε καμιά αρμοδιότητα η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση επί των συνταξιοδοτικών συστημάτων; Καμία.

Και όμως, με τις κατευθύνσεις που δίνει, διαμορφώνει κλίμα. Κι αν υπάρχουν κυβερνήσεις που ενδεχόμενα αντιδρούν, τότε μπαίνουν στην black list των αγορών. Είναι, λοιπόν, ένας τρόπος με τον οποίο παρεμβαίνουν οι Βρυξέλλες σε βάρος των κυριαρχικών δικαιωμάτων των κρατών μελών. Καλό θα είναι οι Βρυξέλλες να ασκήσουν τις δικές τους αποκλειστικές αρμοδιότητες και να αφήσουν τα υπόλοιπα θέματα να τα ασκούν τα κράτη μέλη, και για την πολιτική των μισθών και για την πολιτική των συντάξεων.

 
  
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  Bill Etheridge (EFDD). – Madam President, we hear about high youth unemployment and wages not rising quickly enough, yet would that not potentially be one effect of there being a large supply of labour – supply and demand? A lot of people have entered the EU, many of them looking for work. Obviously, that makes it harder for the people already there.

We hear about slow economic growth, but you say that your social aims and social policies are just as important as the growth policies. Well, if you take that approach then of course you’re going to slow down economic growth. Of course you are.

May I suggest that the best way to raise living standards, to get more tax dollars coming in so you can spend them on really nice things, good things, nice projects, is to grow the economy with serious economic policies. Nobody would have heard of the Good Samaritan if he’d been poor.

 
  
 

(Ende der spontanen Wortmeldungen)

 
  
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  Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, thank you very much for this debate. We are now continuing as a dialogue with Member States and seek a common understanding of the challenges and policy actions to address them. We expect national reform programmes and stability or convergence programmes by mid-April and, as always, the Commission strongly encourages the close involvement of national parliaments, local authorities and social partners in the preparation of national reform programmes.

Based on this, we will present our country’s specific recommendations in a Spring European Semester cycle, so I’m looking forward to continued, constructive dialogue with you in the coming months.

 
  
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  Melania Gabriela Ciot, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, I would like to thank the honourable Members and the Commissioners for their remarks. They addressed important points and their remarks will provide valuable input for the discussions in the Council that touch upon many aspects of the European Semester, such as the environment, competitiveness and social policies. The country reports published by the Commission in February represent an important step in the current process. They form the basis for the work which will eventually lead to the adoption of the Semester’s country-specific recommendations during the Semester.

When working on the European Semester and debating the country-specific recommendations, we should always remember the importance of reaching as many citizens as possible to increase national ownership. I commend the initiatives taken in this regard, including the increased dialogue in the capitals and the consultation with social partners.

Today’s debate showed that, while there are some differences, there is a lot of common ground to build on. This gives me confidence in our continued cooperation in looking at the challenges ahead of us and identifying appropriate solutions to tackle them. Thank you very much once again for your attention.

 
  
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  Tom Vandenkendelaere, Rapporteur. – Dank u, mevrouw de voorzitter. Hartelijk dank ook, alle collega's, voor de opmerkingen. Het Semester opent altijd de deur voor erg politieke debatten, maar eigenlijk ook heel erg interessante debatten. We komen altijd ergens wel tot een consensus over hoe onze economie er nu precies voorstaat, over wat de uitdagingen zijn. Deze zijn hier vanavond allemaal de revue gepasseerd. Terecht! De gelijkheid tussen man en vrouw, het klimaat, de armoede, de gezondheidszorg, de groeiende ongelijkheid, en dan heb ik het zelf ook gehad over de vergrijzing.

Welke prioriteit we ook, volgens u, het eerste moeten aanpakken, met alleen investeringen of met louter begrotingsdiscipline zal het echt niet lukken. Echt niet. We zullen werk moeten maken van én investeringen én hervormingen én begrotingsdiscipline. Die vallen zeker niet altijd makkelijk te rijmen. Ook dat hebben we vanavond gehoord tijdens het debat.

Het wordt echter vooral tijd dat we durven zeggen wat het Europees Semester-traject echt is, namelijk een kans. Een kans, geen vervelend keurslijf, geen testje dat we moeten doen, maar een kans voor de lidstaten om ons voor te bereiden op de grote uitdagingen die ons te wachten staan.

In die zin, beste Raad, reken ik echt ook op jullie om de uitvoering van die voorstellen ter harte te nemen, om deze echt ook te zien als een aanbeveling, niet als een straf die de Europese Commissie uitspreekt. Een kans om de vergrijzing aan te pakken. Een kans ook om aan onze kinderen de geweldige verwezenlijkingen van de 20e eeuw door te geven.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin, Rapporteur. – Madam President, as we know, the AGS is published each year. Therefore it is really important that the country specific recommendations are sustained from one year to the next. So we ask the Commission for follow—up on that.

I was also encouraged by the words of Commissioner Thyssen, who replied directly to some of the suggestions in my report, especially on the issue of in—work poverty and the regulation of new forms of work. A few colleagues spoke on the issue of pensions. While we fully support universal access to adequate retirement and old age pensions, we also believe that other avenues need to be explored. One of those is to complement statutory pensions with supplementary pensions.

Three final points. In light of today’s debate on climate change, and indeed the huge challenge we face on the issue, we have called for budgets to be made available to modernise and decarbonise industry, transport and energy. In the context of social inclusion, we call on the Commission and Member States to step up efforts for greater inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace.

Finally, we deplore the failure to include housing and homelessness among the top priorities for 2019, and call on the Commission to use this semester to monitor and support progress on housing affordability and homelessness as fundamental areas of concern.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Die Präsidentin. – Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Die Abstimmung findet heute, Mittwoch, 13. März 2019, statt.

(Die Sitzung wird für einige Minuten unterbrochen.)

 
  
  

PRÉSIDENCE: SYLVIE GUILLAUME
Vice-présidente

 
Τελευταία ενημέρωση: 26 Ιουνίου 2019Ανακοίνωση νομικού περιεχομένου