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Wednesday, 21 October 2020 - Brussels Revised edition

Economic policies of the euro area 2020 - Employment and social policies of the euro area 2020 (debate)

  Ivars Ijabs, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, recovery from the COVID crisis demands rethinking the European economic governance, and the European Semester framework can be a good starting point for this.

What we in the Renew Europe have done in this year’s report, is try to combine the existing macroeconomic core of the Semester fiscal discipline and healthy debt levels, with the urgent demands of today, like the need for public and private investment, social protection, as well as the need to tackle climate change.

Let me mention a few issues of great importance for us.

First of all, the promotion of reform is still the most important task of the Semester. The country-specific recommendations were often extremely weakly implemented. Member States should have tailor-made solutions for reform in order to promote competitiveness and growth in all European countries, also using Next Generation EU money.

Second, the report urges the review of the existing conditions of the Stability and Growth pact, since the crisis has shown that there are changes to be made. However, it must be done in a careful way, which would effectively motivate the Member States to comply with the requirements of the Stability and Growth pact.

Third, the need to tackle climate change, which is already an overarching, horizontal priority. We need to find its proper place in the framework of the European Semester. Therefore, we urge the Commission to develop a Climate Indicator, which would be supplementary to the existing Semester framework.

When critically adapted to current circumstances, the European Semester can have a real, transformational impact on the European economy, and the current report is a significant attempt to strengthen the Semester framework by making it more sustainable, effective and resilient to future challenges.

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