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Wednesday, 10 March 2021 - Brussels Revised edition

European Semester: annual sustainable growth strategy 2021 – European Semester: employment and social aspects in the annual sustainable growth strategy 2021 (debate)

  Ivars Ijabs, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, the European Semester is the most important coordination mechanism of the European economic policies, born out of necessity in 2011. It must now be developed and fine-tuned to meet the challenges of the future. The COVID crisis has clearly shown that there is an increased demand for such coordination, particularly in moments that clearly go beyond business as usual.

Therefore, the Semester has to be adapted. It has to keep its macroeconomic core, fiscal discipline, macroeconomic stability and healthy public debt levels, but also address other challenges - social, environmental and technological. Our work in the European Parliament must be part of that development to make the Semester move forwards and not backwards.

Therefore, our priorities in this year’s report were, first of all, to make the European economy more resilient. That is why we emphasised the link between the recovery and resilience facility and this year’s European Semester cycle. Socially and environmentally balanced reforms, facilitated by the RRF, in all Member States have to make European economies fit for dealing with future challenges. Second, this is to enable the green transition as our new growth strategy. Climate policy and economic policies have to be integrated in order to achieve the goals of the European Green Deal. Third, is a promotion of research and innovation to boost European competitiveness in the global world. Macroeconomic policies in all Member States must be designed in order to facilitate both private and public investment in future technologies, digital, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and so forth.

The current report is, of course, the result of a broad compromise so some issues have been covered more and some less. For some, it might seem too much to the left, and for some too much to the right. However, it is necessary for the European Parliament to be capable of speaking with one voice on such important issues as macroeconomic governance and reforms in the Member State. Our citizens in all the European countries clearly expect that from us and we can’t let them down.

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