Stronger economic governance and firm budget commitments for concrete measures are the main demands set out in a resolution on the Europe 2020 strategy adopted by Parliament on Thursday. Separately, MEPs endorsed the 2011 EU guidelines for the Member States' employment policies but also called for the employment policy guidelines to be better implemented in future, with an emphasis on more and better jobs for European workers.
A key demand of the first resolution, on the Europe 2020 strategy, is a call for stronger economic governance in pursuing the strategy's goals. It adds that more money must be found to support individual measures: the strategy "must close the gap between its declared ambitions, the resources available and the methodology". This resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority.
Europe 2020 requires not only reforms but also substantial public and private investment in a wide range of projects, emphasise MEPs. The EU should therefore significantly increase investment in research, innovation and development in the next Multiannual Financial Framework after 2013, although innovative European companies do not need subsidies, but more freedom and better access to venture capital.
The digital agenda for Europe requires the creation of a digital single market, with safeguards for media pluralism and the possibility for all citizens to have control of their personal data. The initiative on a resource-efficient Europe needs more concrete policies including modernisation of energy infrastructure. On this front Member States are not doing enough to reach the 20% energy efficiency target, says the resolution.
Guidelines for employment policies
Parliament also approved a report drafted by Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR) on the 2011 EU guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States, by 551 votes to 59 with 8 abstentions.
Lastly, the House adopted a resolution to wind up Wednesday's debate on the implementation of the employment policy guidelines. In this resolution MEPs deplore the failure to involve Parliament in the process of adopting the guidelines (Parliament is only consulted) and the lack of debate about them. They say the Annual Growth Survey and the European Semester are crucial for coordination of economic policies but should not replace broad economic policy guidelines and the guidelines for the employment policies.
Member States should step up their efforts to boost employment, exploit the job potential of a new low-carbon economy, develop a skilled workforce and promote job quality and lifelong learning, believes Parliament. National Reform Programmes should focus on creating more and better jobs, especially for younger people, women, the elderly, disadvantaged and disabled people, migrants and ethnic minorities.
Lastly, the resolution urges Member States to invest more in making occupational and geographical mobility simpler and to develop employment policies that support SMEs, self-employment and entrepreneurship.