Motion for a resolution - B7-0105/2011Motion for a resolution
B7-0105/2011

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Europe 2020

9.2.2011

to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and the Commission
pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Martin Schulz, Stephen Hughes on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0097/2011

Procedure : 2010/3013(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
B7-0105/2011

B7‑0105/2011

European Parliament resolution on Europe 2020

The European Parliament,

–    having regard to the Commission's communication ‘Annual Growth Survey: advancing the EU's comprehensive response to the crisis’,

 

–    having regard to the- having regard to the Commission's communication ‘ Europe 2020: a strategy for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’,

 

–    having regard to the Presidency conclusions following the meeting of the European Council on 17/18 June 2010,

 

–    having regard to the Presidency conclusions following the meetings of the European Council in March 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007 and December 2009,

 

–    having regard its resolutions of 16 June 2010 on economic governance and EU 2020,

 

–    having regard its resolution of 20 October 2010 on the financial, economic and social crisis,

 

–    having regard its resolution of 16 December 2010 on the permanent crisis mechanism,

 

–    having regard to the article 3 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union,

 

–    having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas many Member States are still facing rising unemployment, with more than 23 million people out of work, and more to come due to anaemic growth in most member states and in other key regions in the world, thereby generating immense social and human difficulties,

 

B.   whereas the crisis has dramatically exposed the weaknesses of the existing euro area governance system, and the lack of common concepts and instruments has led to a crisis of credibility and to costly political hesitations among Member States,

 

C.  whereas the creation of a permanent crisis mechanism to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area and the current legislative proposals by the Commission for a reform of the stability and growth pact and for the creation of a surveillance procedure for macroeconomic imbalances are a necessary but still insufficient step in the direction of a fully-fledged economic and monetary union,

 

D.  whereas the EU 2020 strategy should help Europe recover from the crisis and come out stronger, through a jobs and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth based on five EU headline targets as regards promoting employment; improving the conditions for innovation, research and development; meeting our climate change and energy objectives; improving education levels and promoting social inclusion in particular through the reduction of poverty,

 

E.   whereas the Lisbon Treaty clearly stipulates that the Union shall define and pursue its external action in order to foster sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries, with the primary objective of eradicating poverty and in order to encourage the integration of all countries into the world economy,

 

1.   Expresses its deep disappointment regarding the first Annual Growth Survey; regrets that this economic analysis and the policy recommendations it contains fall short of the expectations for a comprehensive and well balanced long term strategy for the EU to exit the current crisis and to return to strong and sustainable economic growth and to move towards decent jobs as full and high quality employment as soon as possible;

 

2.   Stresses that a more consistent and coherent strategy is a prerequisite to strengthen the political ownership of the strategy at national levels and to ensure delivery and concrete achievements;

 

3.   Considers that the EU needs a more intelligent and innovative economic policy strategy for the coming years, one that will likewise improve public accounts and restore employment, while ensuring social fairness, securing adequate levels of public investment and maintaining finance for national welfare systems and quality public services;

 

4.   Expresses its concerns regarding any initiatives to create new tools for enhanced coordination of economic policies between Euro member states out of the community framework; considers that the EU 2020 strategy and the current legislative proposals currently discussed on the economic governance should ensure better coordination in the framework of the Treaty; warns that attacks on labour regulations and collective bargaining will further erode citizens' faith and support to the European project;

 

5.   Stresses that the EU and the national governments will have to put fiscal policy back on a sustainable path while protecting short run economic growth and employment in a context of low investment rates, high unemployment and worryingly low potential growth for the years to come in many parts of Europe; considers that an accelerated fiscal consolidation path up to 1% of GDP per year of the structural budget balance as proposed by the Commission will not allow to meet these challenges in the absence of innovative financing means; calls for a more differentiated and careful approach to fiscal consolidation on country-by country basis;

 

Headline targets and governance of the EU 2020 strategy

 

6.   Deplores the contradiction between stated objectives in the EU 2020 strategy agreed in June and the available means to achieve all the five headline targets and flagship initiatives; calls on the Commission to bring forward proposals to revise the current financial framework, and elaborate significant proposals for establishing new own resources without which it will be impossible to meet the EU 2020 Strategy objectives;

 

7.   Expresses its concerns on the ten additional actions proposed by the Commission and the lack of consistency with the achievement of the five headline targets for the EU 2020 strategy agreed by the European Council on employment rate, conditions for research and development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving education levels, promoting social inclusion and combating poverty; recalls its earlier appeal for a consistent and coherent sustainable development strategy combining the economic, social and environmental policy agendas; calls on the Commission to review its annual growth survey to present a truly consistent approach based on the five headline targets as agreed by the European Council in June 2010;

 

8.   Considers the annual growth survey and the framework of the European semester as crucial tools for an enhanced coordination of economic policies; however, stresses that they should not replace nor diminish the importance of the existing tools provided by the Treaty, in particular the broad economic policy guidelines and the guidelines for the employment of the Member States, where Parliament is respectively strongly involved and legally consulted; voices its strong concerns about the tendency to downgrade the yearly debate on these tools and warns that this severely undermines the Commission and Council's affirmed objective of increasing ownership and democratic accountability;

 

9.   Urges the Council and the Commission to acknowledge the key role of the European Parliament in the European semester process, to be formulated within an inter-institutional agreement to set down and formalise a democratic and effective way forward;

 

10. Considers that the achievement of the stated objectives of EU 2020  can not afford neglecting potential and substantial new revenues stemming from innovative financing instruments; therefore calls on the Commission to propose a broad-based and ambitious system of Eurobonds , in order to create an effective shield for the protection of the euro and the euro area countries as a whole, to achieve a highly liquid public bond market and attain the lowest possible levels of interest rates, and the creation of a European-wide financial transactions tax to curb speculation and harmful damaging trading patterns in financial markets, reduce excessive price volatility, create incentives for the financial sector to make long term investments with added value for the real economy, and make a fair contribution to the cost of the crisis and to public finance sustainability;

 

11. Calls for a long-term strategy for investment, based on more coordination between European and national budgetary efforts, notably in the framework of the European semester process; a stronger role for the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in supporting investments in infrastructure, green technologies, innovation and SMEs, ensuring that the policies of the EIB and the EBRD are consistent with those of the EU and that their actions are democratically accountable to Parliament; an appropriate European framework for public-private partnerships;

 

12. Believes that a realistic strategy for growth and employment at the EU level must strike a balance between ensuring fiscal discipline and fostering growth; in this respect stresses the need to make a formal link between the economic governance package being currently negotiated and the EU 2020 strategy; believes equally that the growth and employment strategy must not be undermined by the current short-termism of fiscal consolidation but it rather has to be fully acknowledged within the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), concretely by taking due account of public investment in its targets; asks equally the Commission to ensure full participation of all social partners in the European semester in order to increase national ownership of the whole process;

 

13. Recalls that high employment rates and social inclusion should be achieved with a high quality employment; is deeply concerned about the Commission approach opposing social protection, high level of employment and strong growth; Considers that legislative initiatives to protect worker rights are a matter of urgency to fully achieve the EU 2020 strategy;

 

14. Underlines that wages have tended to grow below productivity in most Member States during the last decade, in times of economic expansion; therefore calls for the guarantee of adequate and decent wages and the reinforcement of social protection systems as a way of recovering, creating long-term strong sustainable growth; considers that indiscriminate tax labour incentives are not sustainable and thus have to be targeted to vulnerable groups, low profit companies and long term quality employment creation;

 

15. Acknowledges that deepening the Single market is of paramount importance in framework of the EU 2020 strategy to overcome the financial and economic crisis, paving the way to sustainable growth, employment, social inclusion and enhanced competitiveness; recalls the ambition of the Single Market Act for a holistic approach to ensure better economic performance and a strengthened social dimension while restoring confidence by putting citizens at the heart of the Single market; regrets that the Annual Growth Survey does not take a similar approach concerning the Single market;

 

16.  Calls the Commission to lead a process that, through a second financial services action plan, will make the European regulatory and supervisory framework for financial services a global point of reference for measures striking the right balance between transparency and market efficiency, against new financial collapses and speculative bubbles whilst ensuring that the financial sector fulfils its function of raising capital and achieving economic development; considers that the lessons from the crisis in terms of unconditional public support to ailing private actors have not been fully drawn yet and calls on the Commission to engage in a deep analysis of the implications of state aids granted in the context of the financial crisis;

 

Flagship initiatives for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth

 

17. Notes the flagships initiatives adopted by the Commission to achieve the EU 2020 headline targets; regrets the lack of consistency and overlapping between all these initiatives and existing instruments and proposals; underlines that this set of initiatives could only be achieved though concrete and consistent legislative proposals;

 

18. Highlights that strong social protection systems, investment in active labour market policies and education and training opportunities for all are essential to reduce unemployment and prevent long term exclusion; welcomes ‘the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs’, but warns that flexicurity is not applicable in Member States with low possibilities of strengthening social protection systems due to budget restrictions and macroeconomic imbalances, and considers that reducing labour market segmentation has to be achieved by providing adequate security for workers under all forms of contracts, especially the vulnerable groups; Stresses that any labour market reforms must be introduced by reaching a high degree of social consensus through agreements with the social partners at national and EU level; is very concerned about the possible impact of trade agreements subscribed under GATS mode 4 on European labour markets and therefore calls on the Commission to launch an impact assessment previous to any trade agreement conclusion, involving social partners at EU and national level;

 

19. Welcomes the proposals for a European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, but calls for more concrete actions to deliver social inclusion, in particular strengthening the Social Open Method of Coordination, as an integrated strategy engaging national and local stakeholders, in particular people who experience poverty and social exclusion; urges the Commission and the Council to embed a rights' based approach that implements the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Horizontal Social Clause (Art 9 TFEU) to ensure that all policies contribute rather than undermine the poverty-reduction goal;

 

20. Supports the approach to single out a targeted and coherent new Industrial Policy as one of the seven flagship initiatives in Europe 2020; welcomes the explicit commitment to the consolidation of the industrial basis of the European Union; underlines the need for a sector-based industrial policy in order to give sustainable impetus to European core industries, notably by integrating the various policies in the field of innovation, research funding, demonstration projects, competition law, Single Market rules, trade policy  and  environmental obligations; calls on the Commission to present concrete legislative proposals to achieve the industrial shift towards a low carbon and sustainable economy;

 

21  Stresses that a sustainable development of the European industry can only be achieved through the intensive dialogue with employees. An industry policy which is suitable for the future needs innovation, intelligent restructuring, process improvement and the development of qualification standards, all of which gain from the participation of employees;

 

22. Welcomes the proposals on the ‘Digital Agenda’, but reminds its earlier call for a comprehensive action plan, with timetable and targets, to deliver fast and tangible results on net neutrality and a single market for online content and services, in the interests of an open and prosperous digital society, and to overcome the digital divide;

 

23. Considers that innovation is necessary for driving and emerging sectors that can be decisive for a competitive market and that it is also a key driver in traditional industrial sectors for a strong and competitive Europe;

 

24. Welcomes the flagships initiative on ‘Innovation Union’ as a key driver to achieve EU 2020 objectives; Considers that the ambition of innovation Union should be supported by increased financing of research; Underlines that major R&D projects, key energy infrastructure investments, the new EU competence of space policy, and the financing of the EU innovation policy requires solid, credible and sustainable financial assistance of the EU; Expresses however its concerns on the lack of clarity of the link between the Innovation partnerships and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology;

 

25. Welcomes the flagship initiative ‘a resource-efficient Europe’ and its analyses of what is needed to ensure that long-term strategies in areas such as energy, climate change, research and innovation, industry, transport, agriculture, fisheries and environment policy produce results on resource efficiency; Urges the Commission to work swiftly on an ambitious proposal on resource efficiency aimed at achieving binding targets and concrete benchmarks;

 

26. Emphasises the importance of combining the combat against climate change with a commitment to reduce our overall ecological footprint, striving to preserve natural resources, as eco-innovative technologies and alternative options for carbon-low energy depend on scarce resources;

27. Underlines the importance of measure to promote and develop resource efficiency and sustainable production and consumption in the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy with regard to biodiversity conservation; stresses the need to integrate effective measuring of resource used and resource productivity;

28. Recalls the key role of a truly common, efficient and sustainable European energy policy in the EU 2020 strategy; stresses that energy has to be consumed much more efficiently in the EU and overall energy consumption has to decrease, calls therefore on the Commission to introduce a binding 20% energy saving target by 2020; calls on the Commission to come forward with legislation to further reduce EU emissions;

29. Calls on the Commission to develop a truly progressive energy policy for the EU by 2050, which addresses multiple challenges such as security of supply, energy saving, sustainability but also consumer rights and poverty; underlines that the goal of 95%  from renewable energy sources by 2050 should be a core priority for EU energy policy and to that direction a doubling of  annual capital investments  must be ensured in the framework of EU 2020; calls on the complete overhaul and modernisation of Europe’s energy grids to increase the feed-in of renewable energy, reduce energy losses and increase consumer control via application of smart solutions; stresses that in order to achieve this European, national and regional financial support must be increased and calls on the Commission to make concrete proposals how to address the shortcoming of funding in regard to grid infrastructure;

 

30. Calls the Commission to speed up the revision of the energy taxation directive in order to make CO2 emissions and energy content one of the basic criteria for the taxation of energy products, in order to provide major incentives to shift towards carbon-free and sustainable and renewable energy sources and gradually shift the tax burden from the labour sector on to activities which pollute the environment, create significant greenhouse gas emissions or use considerable amounts of resources;

 

31. Recalls that the EU has to invest massively in transport infrastructures, such as TEN-T, to boost economic growth, improve social and territorial cohesion and create a sustainable and interoperable transport system; points out the need to shift freight and passengers flows toward more sustainable transport flows in the review of the TEN-T guidelines;

 

32. Recalls its earlier call for a research and technology agenda for the transport sector in which priority should be given to decarbonise transport, increase the transparency of the supply chain and transport safety and security and improve traffic management;

 

33. Reminds the importance of the headline targets for education and training in the interests of boosting employment, supporting life long learning and enabling young people in particular to find jobs; to meet these targets, it should focus its actions on how to give adequate financial support to young people, and on facilitating the transition from study and training to employment, regrets that the lack of proposals in this direction;

 

34. Welcomes the ‘Youth on the Move’ flagship initiative; insists on the need for financial assistance to all young people to promote social inclusion;

 

35. Insists that gender equality is a key target to achieve the EU 2020 ambition; calls therefore on the full participation of women to the labour market by firstly achieving the 75% employment rate for women by 2020 and the full inclusion of female workers into vocational training for especially green jobs for a new sustainable economy; calls also for a legislative agenda to eradicate the existing pay gap between women and men by 1% every year in order to achieve the target of 10% reduction by 2020; insists that the EU 2020 strategy also includes a target of reducing female poverty in the EU as 17 % of the women are classed as living in poverty mostly single mothers, immigrants and older women;

 

36. Recalls that the EU 2020 strategy and cohesion policy are fundamentally linked and that the need to appropriately fund the flagship initiatives should not result in less resources for cohesion policy; Considers in particular, the greater cohesion is essential to Europe’s long-term economic and social well being;

 

37. Notes the Commission's intention to deepen Europe's trade agenda and in particular to focus on the conclusion of the on-going multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations; recalls that multilateralism must remain EU's first priority; firmly believes that an effective and reformed multilateral trade framework is needed to build a more balanced and fair economic system as part of a new global governance at the service of development worldwide; demands all trade negotiations should respect the principal of special and differential treatments towards developing countries;

 

38. Stresses the need to transform the EU's trade policy into a true vehicle for job creation, eradication of poverty and sustainable development worldwide; firmly believes that consistency between the internal and external aspects of EU policies is indispensable and that shaping a new trade policy must be consistent with a strong job-creating industrial policy in order to ensure economic growth and in turn create more and better jobs;

 

39. Asks the Commission to foresee an open dialogue with the European Parliament and civil society, in particular on social and environmental standards and WTO reform; requests furthermore that all EU bilateral or regional trade agreements under negotiation include legally binding social and environmental provisions, in particular the implementation of core labour standards and other aspects of decent work, as defined by the ILO; Calls also for a binding CSR clause to be included in all international trade agreements signed by the EU;

 

40. Considers that EU’s future investment policy must promote investments which are sustainable, respects the governments' right to regulate in favour of the public interest, and encourages good quality working conditions in the enterprises targeted by the investments;

 

41. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Commission and the European Council.