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Wednesday, 8 June 2005 - Strasbourg OJ edition


  Manuel António dos Santos (PSE). (PT) Mr President, Commissioner, Europe’s citizens continue to point the finger at the Stability and Growth Pact and the single currency as the real culprits of the ongoing economic and social crisis in Europe. At the same time, European politicians of almost all ideological hues trot out the same politically-correct rhetoric, extolling the virtues of restrictive fiscal policies and of the overriding obsession with price moderation.

This contradiction must stop and this is now the real challenge that the European institutions must meet head on. The Council and the Commission recently took steps to tackle this dilemma, including the relaunch of the Pact and the regulations that we are discussing in this House. Parliament, in turn, does what it can with the powers that it has. The rapporteur should be warmly commended for raising a number of concerns such as construction fault, the reliability of statistics, relevant factors, the deadlines for correcting deficits and the stepping up of budgetary surveillance.

In spite of these steps and the undoubted quality of your work, Commissioner, it remains to be seen whether these remedies have come in time and whether they will be sufficient. Pangloss said that we live in the best of all possible worlds, but in 1755 there was a terrible earthquake in Lisbon, which had a profound effect on political and economic relations in Europe in the 18th century. We have a duty at least to reflect on this.

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