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Procedure : 2008/2334(INI)
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Document selected : A6-0063/2009

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PV 11/03/2009 - 3
CRE 11/03/2009 - 3

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PV 11/03/2009 - 5.23
CRE 11/03/2009 - 5.23
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Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 11 March 2009 - Strasbourg
European Economic Recovery Plan

European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on a European Economic Recovery Plan (2008/2334(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 4 March 2009 for the Spring European Council on Driving European recovery (COM(2009)0114),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 26 November 2008 on a European Economic Recovery Plan (COM(2008)0800),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 29 October 2008 entitled "From financial crisis to recovery: A European framework for action" (COM(2008)0706),

–   having regard to the Commission Recommendation of 28 January 2009 for a Council recommendation on the 2009 up-date of the broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community and on the implementation of Member States' employment policies (COM(2009)0034),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 17 December 2008 on a Temporary Community framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis(1),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on the Implementation Report for the Community Lisbon Programme 2008 – 2010 (COM(2008)0881),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on Cohesion Policy: investing in the real economy (COM(2008)0876),

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document of 16 December 2008 on the Single Market Review: one year on (SEC(2008)3064),

–   having regard to the Commission communication 16 December 2008 on the external dimension of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs: Reporting on market access and setting the framework for more effective international regulatory cooperation (COM(2008)0874),

–   having regard to the Commission proposal of 16 December 2008 for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 on establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (COM(2008)0867),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2007 on the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (2008-2010) including a Commission recommendation on the broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community (under Article 99 of the EC Treaty) and a proposal for a Council Decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States (under Article 128 of the EC Treaty) (COM(2007)0803),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 7 May 2008 on EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union (COM(2008)0238) (Communication on EMU@10),

–   having regard to Member States' Action plans and updated National Reform Programmes for the period 2008-2010,

–   having regard to the composition of the High Level Expert Group on EU financial supervision, chaired by Mr Jacques de Larosière, and to its report to the Commission of 25 February 2009 in view of the European Council of Spring 2009,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Presidency of the European Council meeting of 11 and 12 December 2008 as concerns economic and financial questions,

–   having regard to the meeting of the Heads of State and Government of the Eurogroup, held on 12 October 2008, with a view to adopting a coordinated rescue plan to combat the economic crisis,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Presidency of the European Council of 13 and 14 March 2008 as concerns launching the new cycle of the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs (2008-2010),

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Ecofin Council meeting of 7 October 2008 as concerns immediate responses to the financial turmoil,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Ecofin Council meeting of 4 November 2008 as regards international initiatives in response to the financial crisis and preparations for the international summit on the crisis,

–   having regard to the Ecofin Council contribution of 2 December 2008 to the proceedings of the European Council on 11 and 12 December 2008,

–   having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding of 1 June 2008 on Cooperation Between the Financial Supervisory Authorities, Central Banks and Finance Ministries of the European Union on Cross-Border Financial Stability,

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2008 on the European Council meeting on 15 and 16 October 2008(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 February 2008 on the Integrated Policy Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (Part: broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community): Launching the new cycle (2008-2010)(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 November 2008 on the EMU@10: The first ten years of Economic and Monetary Union and future challenges(4), (resolution on the EMU@10)

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 September 2008 with recommendations to the Commission on hedge funds and private equity(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 October 2008 with recommendations to the Commission on the Lamfalussy follow-up: future structure of supervision(6),

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets, Committee on Development, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Regional Development (A6-0063/2009),

A.   whereas the international economy and global markets have been able to deliver an unprecedented and historically unique growth the last 25 years, with a capacity of production that has established prosperity for more people than ever before, a capacity that needs to be readjusted in an economic slowdown followed by decreasing demand,

B.   whereas the financial and economic crisis is worsening day by day, bringing the European Union and its neighbouring countries, in the absence of far stronger and effective public action than has been seen so far, closer and closer to a profound social and political crisis challenging European solidarity,

C.   whereas the main challenges for countering the downturn of the international and the European economy now is the lack of confidence on the financial and capital markets as well as rising unemployment,

D.   whereas the unprecedented dimension of the current financial crisis and the depth of the ensuing downturn requires a considered overhaul of the regulatory and governance framework of financial markets, at EU and international level, in order both to prevent future problems in the international economy create problems of the same kind on the financial markets and to make the EU economy more robust to changes,

E.   whereas the failure of crucial financial institutions undermines credit markets, hinders capital flow, investments and trade, and pushes down prices and values, thereby eroding the stability and the capital assets needed for financial institutions to lend and for companies to secure their own financing,

F.   whereas the causes of and reasons for the current financial crisis have proved to be lax monetary policies and politically enforced increased credits for housing, and as macro-economical imbalances mainly between the US and emerging economies such as China in the past; stresses the need to develop further EU competitiveness and investments in infrastructure and research as well as in new companies and new markets,

G.   whereas the main priorities for EU policy makers in securing economic recovery should be to re-establish the functioning of financial and capital markets, and to safeguard employment, thereby making it possible to help the EU economy to return to growth, investments and new jobs,

H.   whereas the current recession should be used as an opportunity to promote 'green' investments and create 'green' jobs in line with the achievement of the long-term Lisbon-Göteborg goals and the climate and energy package,

I.   whereas securing the economic recovery requires coordinated action in the framework of EU legislation regarding competition and State aid as well as stability for financial and labour markets, thereby not distorting competition between companies or creating an imbalance between the Member States, in the interest of securing the stability and competitiveness of the EU economy,

J.   whereas the consequences of the financial crisis on the real economy have resulted in exceptional economic circumstances that require timely, targeted, temporary and proportional measures and decisions in the interests of finding solutions to an unprecedented global economic and employment situation and whereas public intervention, although inevitable, distorts what are the appropriate roles of the private and public sectors in more normal times,

K.   whereas the shortcomings of the current financial regulatory framework have already been addressed by Parliament in its positions relating to legislative proposals and in its resolutions,

L.   whereas the most recent data provided by the Community on 2009 prospects indicates a rapid deterioration of economic conditions throughout the European Union and whereas the European Union and the Member States have now the ultimate responsibility for guaranteeing macro-economic stability, sustainable growth and employment;

M.   whereas the financial crisis has revealed the dilemma between the need to tackle regulatory competence for economic policy at the EU level on the one hand and the fact that economic stimulus plans are within the competence of Member State authorities on the other,

N.   whereas the short-term actions initiated by individual Member States require comprehensive EU coordination to guarantee a joint-multiplier effect on the one hand and to avoid spill-over effects, distorted markets and wasteful duplication of efforts on the other,

O.   whereas short-term actions must fit in with and support the long-term objectives of making the European Union the most competitive knowledge economy, not undermining future trust and confidence, and ensuring macro-economic stability,

P.   whereas Member States" different capacities to engage in recovery programmes should be recognised; whereas a sizeable complementary EU approach with strong focus on a mutually supportive mix of policy measures in the fields of economic, environment, employment and social policies should be developed,

Q.   whereas membership of the euro area has proved to enhance economic stability in the relevant Member States; whereas, apart from responsible government intervention to counter the economic downturn, citizens expecting such a time of economic recession, a strong response by the European Union's provisions and social and regional cohesion, whilst preserving the rules and principles that guarantee a strong and stable currency,

R.   whereas it is of the utmost importance that confidence is restored in order to allow for the orderly functioning of the financial markets and thereby to limit the negative effects of the financial crisis on the real economy,

S.   whereas Member States that have recently acceded to the European Union and that are not in the euro area are badly affected by speculation against their currencies, capital flight and the freezing of international credit markets,


1.  Welcomes the Commission initiative to launch a European economic recovery plan (Recovery Plan) as a reaction to the serious ongoing economic downturn; notes, that the Community dimension of that proposal amounts to 15 % of the budget for the recovery programme, which still needs to be implemented urgently;

2.  Stresses that the top priority of the Recovery Plan must be to stimulate the economy and competitiveness of the European Union in order to safeguard citizens' opportunities and security, and to avoid increased unemployment; considers that the Recovery Plan must reverse the economic decline by enabling financial markets to function properly again, facilitate investments, and improve opportunities for growth and jobs while strengthening the EU economy and labour market and improving the framework conditions for growth and the creation of jobs;

3.  Expects from the Commission clear and strong guidance towards an improved coordinated approach amongst all Member States in managing this deep economic crisis in order to safeguard as many jobs and as much employment in Europe as possible;

4.  Insists that all financial aid be timely, targeted and temporary; warns of possible crowding-out effects and dissolution of EU competition policy; urges to restore, as soon as practicable, fair competitive markets as defined in the Treaties; notes with concern the rapid rise in public debt and budget deficits; moreover, calls for a return to sound state finance as soon as possible, as provided for in the revised Stability and Growth Pact (revised SGP), in order to avoid putting too much burden on future generations;

5.  Stresses that temporary exceptions and deviations from Community competition policy must be reversed, and normality restored, in clearly defined time perspectives;

6.  Stresses that the Recovery Plan must serve the purpose of delivering a fair and equitable international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 and that such an agreement must, inter alia, give poorer countries the opportunity to escape poverty without fuelling global warming by helping to finance massive investment into adapting to climate change and into renewable energy and energy efficiency;

7.  Notes with concern the rapid rise of public debt and budget deficits; is concerned that public debts may become an excessive burden for future generations;

8.  While accepting the need to adjust to a globally competitive environment and turning the European economy back to growth as very important common goals, calls for the European Union to step up its efforts to invest in skills, training and sustainable job creation, the safeguarding of employment, and the prevention of mass unemployment while ensuring constructive tax policies, which should help determine the size and components of the Recovery Plan; expects agreement at the 2009 Spring European Council on clear guidance and concrete measures towards safeguarding employment and creating job opportunities;

9.  Recommends, as an essential requirement for effectiveness, that the coordination of national recovery plans allows for each programme to be tailored to each country's specific needs, but taking into account the common interest, the common strategies defined in terms of fight against climate change, and the assurance of the strongest possible multiplier effect, in particular as regards employment;

10.  Recommends new horizontal initiatives at EU level, given that different national capacities and margins of budgetary manoeuvre may generate very asymmetric outcomes across the European Union; recalls, however, the responsibility of each Member State to exercise fiscal discipline, investments and structural reforms;

11.  Strongly advises against the risk that the solutions implemented become the sum of all the national policies, with potential conflicts and costs, undermining the single market, the economic and monetary union and weakening the European Union's role as a global actor;

12.  Supports the Commission's commitment to the revised SGP and notes its willingness to use all the flexibility as a way to conduct anti-cyclical policies to address the economic recession which is foreseen by the pact in order to allow Member States to respond adequately to the economic crisis, namely to assess whether short-term investment decisions are compatible with medium-term budgetary targets and conducive to sustainable growth and long-term Lisbon Strategy goals;

13.  Emphasises that it is imperative that Member States continue to follow the revised SGP with a view to tackling the present exceptional circumstances effectively on the one hand and to guaranteeing a firm commitment to bringing normal budget discipline back on track as soon as the economy recovers, whilst reinforcing the counter-cyclicality of the revised SGP on the other;

Financial markets: from controlling the crisis to sound markets in the future
Returning to confidence in the financial sector

14.  Welcomes the short-term measures adopted to restore confidence to the financial system; recalls that those emergency measures are insufficient to tackle some of the fundamental problems at the source of the crisis, namely global imbalances, extreme risk-taking, leveraging and rewarding short-termism; recalls the necessity to review remuneration schemes as possible sources of financial instability;

15.  Calls for coordinated action between Member States allowing for general and explicit national bank guarantees covering liabilities, but excluding equity capital, in order to reduce uncertainty in the credit markets and facilitate the functioning of those markets;

16.  Invites the Member States, and in particular those belonging to the euro area, to examine the possibility of a major European loan guaranteed jointly by the Member States;

17.  Restates that safeguarding the savings of, and credit provision for, individuals and undertakings, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is the overriding justification for the current exceptional public intervention in the financial system; reminds Member State governments of their responsibility for and accountability to their parliaments in the use of public money in rescue plans and strongly recommends that a set of adequate surveillance and, as necessary, sanctions, be introduced and coordinated at EU level to ensure the achievement of such goals;

18.  Stresses the importance of ensuring that central interest rate cuts are passed on to borrowers;

19.  Recalls the necessity for regulators and the relevant Member State authorities to scrutinise in depth the activities of the banks and the bankers over the last months, and also to determine whether reprehensible and even criminal behaviour might have contributed to the banking meltdown and to ensure that the public intervention and monetary policy decisions, in terms of interest rates, has been able to reverse the credit squeeze;

20.  Considers that strict monitoring of the rescue packages to financial institutions must be implemented in order to ensure a level playing field, including: the solvency level, the expected benefits, the liquidity on the interbank market, the evolution of human resources and the confidence of clients, whether private clients or entrepreneurs;

21.  Considers that conditionality should be attached to the banking sector rescue plans in terms of monetary incentives, provision of credit, lending conditions, restructuring of the sector and protection of social policy terms;

22.  Believes that the development of microcredit, which is recognised as an efficient tool with a strong multiplier effect, should be encouraged, in particular by making it a requirement for commercial banks that have benefited from public support;

23.  Insists that prime consideration must be given to recovering to normal levels of credit extension by banks when considering any new regulatory environment particularly in the interests of reviving the securitisation process as essential to the recovery of finance for mortgages, car finance and credit card funding;

24.  Calls on the Commission to produce a clear analysis of the impact of the rescue package on the competitiveness of the financial sector and the functioning of the interbank market; calls on the Commission to establish interdisciplinary teams, including expertise from the Commission Directorates General for Competition, Economic and Financial Affairs, and Internal Market and Services, the three Level 3 supervisory committees, and the European System of Central Banks, in order to pool knowledge and know how and to ensure that there will be balanced impartial high-quality and timely judgements across the Member States;

More effective regulatory and supervisory structures

25.  Considers that although the European Central Bank (ECB) has no official supervisory mandate, there is a need to enhance its role as regards monitoring financial stability in the euro area, notably in terms of supervision of the EU-wide banking sector; recommends, therefore, that the ECB should be involved in EU-wide macro-prudential supervision of systemically important financial institutions on the basis of Article 105 (6) of the Treaty;

26.  Regrets the absence of clear EU instruments and policies by which to address, in a thorough and timely manner, the asymmetric impacts of the financial crisis among Member States inside and outside the euro area;

27.  Reiterates its call for the Commission to analyse the effects of the behaviour of banks that moved their assets from the more recently acceded Member States after adoption of rescue plans by other Member States and to examine carefully the speculative action (short-selling) in relation to the currencies of the more recently acceded Member States; invites the Commission to communicate the results of that analysis to the de Larosière group and to Parliament's responsible committee;

28.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to tackle the problem of banking guarantees urgently, in order to ensure that similarly designed schemes would prevent banks from failing across the European Union, thus allowing interbank lending to be revived, such revival being a necessary condition for ending to the banking crisis and allowing new credit to be given to the real economy, increasing investment and consumption and so leading the way out of the economic crisis;

29.  Strongly urges the de Larosière Group to take on board the recommendations put forward in Parliament's previous resolutions, relating to financial market supervision; urges the Commission to endorse its contributions to create a stable and efficient structure of regulation and supervision, which may prevent or limit the adverse impacts of future crises; calls on the Council duly to take into consideration the position that Parliament may express on those conclusions before endorsing them;

30.  Acknowledges the recommendations of the de Larosière group and stresses that many of them have been called for by Parliament in recent years; welcomes the Commission's intention to use its power of initiative and take action to tackle the most urgent problems in relation to the financial crisis, and urges the Commission to start the process as soon as possible; calls on the 2009 Spring European Council to give a strong political impetus and to establish a road map for all legal initiatives in order to ensure their timely adoption together with Parliament;

31.  Reaffirms that more transparency and better risk-management as well as coordinated supervision provide most of the solutions to further crisis prevention and that the regulatory reform must be all-encompassing, applying to all actors and transactions in the financial markets; points to the fact that the global nature of financial markets necessitates an international coordination of reforms; stresses that regulatory initiatives must aim to create transparency, sustainability, stability and increased responsibility of financial actors in the market; reminds the Commission of its obligation to respond to Parliament's requests regarding hedge funds and private equity;

32.  Considers that credit rating agencies should close information gaps and reveal uncertainties as well as conflicts of interests; insists on the need for a revision and improvement of accounting policies in order to avoid pro-cycle effects;

33.  Proposes to assess carefully whether or not future steps towards the sound regulation of the financial sector, notably the macro-prudential supervision of the regulatory framework, may render economic recovery and innovation in the field of financial products difficult or impossible and reduce the attractiveness of EU financial markets, diverting financial flows and enterprises towards third markets; recalls its best interest to remain the first financial market place in the world;

The real economy: the crisis as an opportunity to achieve sustainable growth
Safeguarding employment and boosting demand

34.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to use all means at their disposal to support EU undertakings, in particular SMEs, to promote job creation and boost the confidence of EU investors, employers, workers and consumers;

35.  Strongly recommends that sufficient, affordable and reasonably secure access to credit is urgently guaranteed across the European Union to SMEs, citizens and those sectors in which a sustainable future is endangered due to the crisis, in particular due to the lack of credit; calls on the Commission to ensure exchanges of best practices in this respect;

36.  Stresses that, in the current climate where SMEs face severe cash-flow problems and restricted credit access, public authorities and private clients should respect a maximum 30-day period for payments to SMEs; urges the Commission to take over this issue when revising the late payments directive(7);

37.  Calls for full enforcement and accelerated implementation, at both EU and national level, of Parliament's recommendations in relation to the Commission communication on 'Think Small First' - A 'Small Business Act' for Europe (COM(2008)0394);

38.  Calls for the effective launch of a comprehensive European employment initiative, by ensuring that an undertaking can be set up free of charge anywhere in the European Union within three days, and that the formalities for the hiring of first employees can be fulfilled via a single access point on the one hand, and, by reinforcing activation schemes, particularly for the low-skilled, through personalised advice, intensive training or retraining and up-skilling of workers, apprenticeships, subsidised employment and start up grants for the self-employed and businesses on the other; in addition, is supportive of the allocation of the European Social Fund payments by the Commission to promote the development and matching of skills;

39.  Strongly recommends that the EU employment initiative include an early intervention at the time at which jobs are in fact lost, not least in order to reduce the risk of people becoming excluded from the labour market; considers that such interventions will require significant investment in training, including an increase in training providers while concentrating on the better coordination of training and labour reintegration programmes, and should use not only short-term measures but should also endeavour to make high-level qualifications possible in order to increase the overall skill levels within the European Union and to respond to the changing needs of the current economy;

40.  Welcomes the proposals of the Commission and calls on the Member States to adapt new provisions of the regulations of the European Social Fund, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the European Regional Development Fund, including the simplification of the procedures and the widening of eligible costs to serve employment and social inclusion goals even more efficiently, continuing to support employment in key sectors of the economy and ensuring that when providing such assistance strengthening of social and territorial cohesion remain a priority in order to avoid asymmetrical development within the European Union; hopes for the speedier release of funding targeted at employment support, and for EU support programmes to be geared to helping the most vulnerable groups in society including programmes to guarantee decent living conditions and access to high-quality services of general interest;

41.  Calls on the Member States to invest in the social economy, which can contribute to growth since it has considerable potential for creating high-quality jobs and strengthening social and territorial cohesion;

42.  Stresses the importance of implementing common principles of flexicurity while guaranteeing adequate social protection for all, in particular social security systems that provide appropriate protection with respect to national traditions;

43.  Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to continue to monitor regularly the development of the situation on the EU labour market and the impact of the crisis on that market, and to take appropriate measures to set the economies of the European Union on the road towards sustainable development;

44.  Stresses the need to guarantee adequate living standards for all citizens of the Union and calls for adequate emergency measures to be taken; calls for social policies to be adapted to cope with the recession, supporting active labour market and social inclusive policies and paying special attention to the most vulnerable members of society;

45.  Calls on the Commission to assess urgently the recession risks affecting industrial sectors across Europe in order to intervene at EU level, if needed; stresses, however, that some of the problems of EU industries may not be caused only by the financial crisis; is of the view, therefore, that State aid measures should be carefully targeted so as to not go beyond offsetting the effects of the financial crisis, and that they must be accompanied by the strictest conditions of restructuring, investment in innovation and sustainability;

46.  Warns against the undue loosening of the EU competition rules, as this might weaken the internal market; is concerned that national responses to the economic downturn may lead to protectionism and distortion of competition, which, in the long term, would seriously undermine the economic prosperity of the citizens of the Union;

47.  Calls for an assessment of the measures contained in the national recovery plans as regards their immediate impact on purchasing power;

48.  Calls for the Council to approve the proposal to give all Member States the option to apply a reduced VAT rate for energy-efficient goods and services, labour-intensive and locally supplied services; considering their potential employment and demand-boosting effect;

49.  Stresses the added value of the trans-European transport network programme (TEN-T) for the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy, the European Union's climate change goals and for greater social, economic and territorial cohesion, while providing timely support for sustaining aggregate demand in the European Union; stresses the importance of the 30 TEN-T priority projects - in particular the cross-borders corridors - for re-launching the economy and for enabling the increasing demand for a better, environmentally friendly, co-modality; calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop new methods of financing transport infrastructures and to increase substantially the budget for the TEN-T projects in future financial frameworks and in the Recovery Plan;

50.  Asks Member States to consider the possibility of reducing labour taxation in lower incomes in order to increase the purchasing power and stimulate demand for retail products;

Greater cohesion and less economic divergence

51.  Stresses the importance of territorial cohesion goals within the framework of proposed stimulus arrangements, given the clear asymmetric impact of the crisis across the European territory;

52.  Calls for the Commission duly to address, particularly in light of the present crisis, the impact of horizontal policies on regional divergent performances in the euro area, as highlighted in its Communication on EMU@10;

53.  Calls for the development of adequate mechanisms to guarantee that accelerated convergence of the less dynamic regions is structured upon strategic objectives such as, the greening of the economy and an adequate participation in the Lisbon Strategy namely by supporting innovation, SMEs and micro-level initiatives;

54.  Welcomes all the Commission proposals that simplify and accelerate access to the available cohesion instruments, and speed up project implementation, namely through front-loading funds, temporarily increasing community support rates, improving technical assistance, and accelerating payment procedures;

Smart and sustainable structural reforms and investments

55.  Calls for the refinement of the recovery instruments and policies at both EU and Member State level, capable of boosting demand and confidence across the European Union, in accordance with a common set of priorities within the Lisbon Strategy, such as: investing in education, infrastructure, research and development, skills and lifelong learning, energy efficiency and green technologies, broadband networks, urban transport, creative industries and services, health services, and services for children and older people;

56.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal to bring forward from 2010 to 2009, EUR 500 million in investment in transport infrastructure; nevertheless stresses the need for the Commission and the Member States to include urban transport and TEN-T priority projects among those for the additional EUR 5 billion fund to be mobilised in accordance with the Recovery Plan; considers that those TEN-T projects at an advanced stage of implementation should, in particular, benefit from the greater availability of appropriations;

57.  Stresses that in the current, very dire, circumstances, access to EU funds is necessary for Member States that have more recently acceded to the European Union and that are not members of the euro area; those funds would be the required budget stimulus for countries which do not have the room for manoeuvre of the Member States in the euro area, or because they are running large budget and current account deficits;

58.  Stresses that the crisis has extremely negative economic and social consequences in many of the new Member States, posing a substantial risk to reduced growth and stability and increased poverty; furthermore, expects there to be spill-over effects affecting the euro and the economies of the euro area; therefore, calls for a Community-wide and coordinated approach for the purposes of Community solidarity and the realisation of collective responsibility in this respect; calls on the Commission to review and tighten all instruments for the stabilisation of affected Member States, including the stabilisation of exchange rates, so that quick and efficient safety net provisions and response packages can be implemented;

59.  Calls on the Commission to consider possible measures for the improvement of the energy security through the accelerated development of an internal gas transmission network of the European Union that would ensure the security of supply;

60.  Believes that a strong public investment policy, aiming at creating a "low-carbon economy" is of utmost importance to face the economic recession;

61.  In this respect, calls on Member States to undertake reforms in their fiscal regimes for ensuring that certain sectors like agriculture, transport and energy, which impact so heavily on the environment, perform sustainably;

62.  Strongly supports the launching of a set of urban policies combining energy efficiency in transport and buildings with job creation;

63.  Stresses the need for an unprecedented coordinated effort to make major investments in the fields of energy, the environment and infrastructure to support sustainable development, help the creation of high-quality jobs and ensure social cohesion; considers, therefore, that people are more likely to accept the efforts required of them if those efforts are perceived to be fair and on the one hand and to guarantee employment and social integration on the other;

64.  Calls for EU initiatives in the field of education and training, and access to risk capital, credit and microcredit facilities in order to boost growth and convergence throughout the European Union;

65.  Stresses the need to reduce the bureaucratic burden on investment projects co-financed by private companies; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to take measures that accelerate and facilitate investments;

66.  Stresses that in tackling the acute problems resulting from the economic crisis, sight should not be lost of the long-term strategy and the possibility of achieving some long-overdue goals, notably to:

   intensify the elimination of barriers to the freedom to provide services, as provided for in the Services Directive(8), the implementation of which has been delayed, because of the enormous job-creation potential in the services sector;
   enhance the implementation of the Postal Services Directive(9);
   complete the internal market for energy;
   urgently enhance investment in R&D, including by requiring substantial investment in R&D and innovation as a pre-condition for any support to industry, because the - fairly modest - Lisbon target of 3 % GDP has not been met to date, mainly because the private sector has failed to deliver on its 2 % share, and because, despite the stated objective of becoming the most dynamic knowledge economy in the world, the gap in R&D investment between the European Union and other regions is widening;
   urgently finalise the EU patent regime;
   remove any remaining obstacles to the freedom of movement for workers;
   complete the TEN-T priority networks;

European economic instruments: the European Union acting in unison
Economic coordination

67.  Calls for improved coherence between the present recovery plan at Member State level, the Lisbon Strategy goals and priorities, the integrated policy guidelines and the National Reform Programmes as well as the use of the flexibility facilities granted by the revised SGP;

68.  Notes as a central dilemma in the current crisis that European economic policy instruments are not yet developed enough in order successfully to meet the challenges ahead; requires, therefore, a review and an update of the essential policy tools towards the 2010 Spring European Council, in particular the integrated policy guidelines;

69.  Calls for guidance by the Commission on the National Reform Programmes in light of its growth forecasts;

70.  Calls for adequate detailed criteria and standards to be developed for the close monitoring and regular reassessment of the effectiveness of the recovery plans by the Commission, in particular as regards the reality of the announced investments, bearing in mind that the full extent of the crisis and the requisite remedies cannot yet be totally assessed;

71.  Calls upon all relevant parties - Parliament, Council, the Commission and the social partners at EU and national level - to work together on the basis of the following suggestions during the Spring European Council in March 2009:

   - the development of mutual reinforcement of stability, and growth-oriented macro-economic policies by making stability policy and investment a matter of common and mutually supportive concern;
   - the establishment of a binding framework for Member States within which they consult each other and the Commission before taking major economic policy decisions, based on a common understanding of problems, priorities and the remedial measures which are necessary and appropriate;
   - the adoption of ambitious and tailored national recovery plans, updated stability and convergence programmes and a review of national budgets to react to the latest economic forecasts, as well as a commitment to their urgent implementation;
   - the formulation of a coherent EU strategy of short and long-term measures, based on common priorities and targets;
   - the strengthening of the economic governance of the euro area in line with the recommendations set out in Parliament's resolution of 18 November 2008 on the EMU@10;

72.  Calls for an urgent examination by the Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the European Investment Bank of the benefits that would derive from the feasibility of a European sovereign debt fund, the debt servicing cost of which would be lower than for the equivalent aggregate of national debts and which would be temporary in nature and would be transferred after a period of time to national debts;

European Investment Bank

73.  Considers that involvement of the European Investment Bank (EIB) is crucial and that a large share of lending referred to in the Recovery Plan is within its competence; welcomes the Member States' agreement on a capital increase for the EIB; recalls that some of the EIB interventions also require support from the EU budget, but that this is not currently provided for in the Recovery Plan; considers that this could be done either through blending grants and loans or in the form of equity or joint-risk sharing instruments such as the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) and the Loan Guarantee Instrument for Trans-European Transport Network projects (LGTT); in the latter case, the EIB could be requested to contribute with its own reserves, which would multiply the leverage effect; emphasises the EIB role in refinancing SMEs, commercial banks, including existing private-public partnership structures; recalls, in this respect, that there is a need to develop environmentally friendly funding criteria;

EU Budget

74.  Recalls that the Economic Recovery Plan and the subsequent measures proposed on 28 January 2009 by the Commission contain a Community contribution estimated at EUR 30 000 000 000, to be distributed among the following sectors: EUR 5 000 000 000 for energy interconnections and high-speed internet through a revision of the 2007-2013 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and measures related to the CAP "Health Check"; advanced payments under the Structural and Cohesion Funds; several initiatives in the area of research and innovation such as the European green cars initiative, factories of the future initiative and energy-efficient buildings initiative; an increase in the pre-financing for the most advanced trans-European transport projects as well as for initiatives in favour of SMEs or the Community innovation programme (CIP) and for funding already granted by existing or new loans and funds from the EIB;

75.  Stresses that the current crisis should not be used as a pretext to delay a much needed reorientation of spending towards 'green' investments, but should, rather, be used as an additional incentive to press ahead with such reorientation, and reiterates, in this context, the importance of the budgetary review planned for 2009, which should not be limited to a theoretical vision of what the budget could look like after 2013, but which should include bold proposals for a shift in programming at the time of the mid-term review of the multi-annual programmes to respond to the current crisis, promoting sustainable development and taking into account the challenges posed by climate change;

76.  Stresses that some elements proposed in the Recovery Plan are too vaguely formulated; asks the Commission to supply the two branches of the budgetary authority without delay with all the detailed information they need to take a decision; also stresses that several elements included in the Recovery Plan require the modification of the existing multi-annual programmes; recalls, in this regard, that these changes must be made in full compliance with the powers of Parliament;

77.  Stresses that, as a result, there is a risk that the implementation of the Recovery Plan as proposed by the Commission will take a considerable time and urges all the institutions concerned to adopt the necessary decisions as quickly as possible, given the very difficult current economic situation of the European Union;

78.  Stresses that most of the Community measures proposed by the Commission are based on a budgetary redeployment of allocations already programmed and not on the mobilisation of new budget resources; calls on the Commission to draw all the necessary conclusions from the very bad economic forecast it published in January 2009 and to reassess it budget proposals in the light of these new forecasts;

79.  Welcomes the Recovery Plan and related initiatives and recalls that any new expenditure that is not foreseen in the 2009 Budget must be financed with fresh money, in order not to compromise the 2007-2013 MFF negotiated between the two branches of the budgetary authority; recalls, in this context, the possibilities offered by the provisions of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 (IIA), in particular points 21 to 23 thereof;

80.  Emphasises that the Recovery Plan proposes multi-layered coordinated action to strengthen Europe's economies; reiterates Parliament's readiness to enter into negotiations with the Council for the EUR 5 000 000 000 revision of the 2007-2013 MFF proposed by Commission and any other modification of instruments that would have a budgetary impact; considers that negotiations should concentrate on extending the area of projects supported within this budgetary revision, in accordance with Member States" priorities;

81.  Acknowledges the predominant role of the EIB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in contributing to financing investments and enhancing access to financing for business, in particular for SMEs; points out that contributions by the EU budget to EIB operations have the potential to create a substantial leverage effect on investment and wishes to examine how the EU budget could contribute further to bringing about such effects, and that, in any event, they should be accompanied by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the EIB on the priorities for investment, ensuring that these are geared towards truly sustainable projects; expresses concern at the growing tendency in the Council and the Commission to confer on the EIB and the EBRD many extra duties without having first provided all the necessary economic and financial guarantees that the EIB and EBRD will be able to carry out these duties successfully; notes that the Commission proposes to increase the financial instruments put in place by the EIB under the 2007-2013 MFF; asks the Commission to supply a first evaluation of the activities already undertaken in this context and to propose solutions regarding the budgetary and regulatory difficulties in the implementation of actions such as JASMINE, JASPERS and JEREMIE;

82.  Expects the Commission to clarify its intentions regarding the future actions, in particular regarding a possible contribution from the EU budget to reinforcing these instruments; calls on the Commission to indicate to the two branches of the budgetary authority the extent to which new instruments made available to the EIB for future initiatives will require intervention from the EU budget; further notes that the increase in the tasks conferred on the EIB and the EBRD poses significant questions with regard to the democratic scrutiny of the projects being financed, when funds from the EU budget are at stake;

83.  Regrets that the Commission proposal to invest in trans-European energy interconnections and broadband infrastructure projects remains in vain because of a lack of agreement within the Council, contrary to the will of the European Council, as expressed in December 2008; considers that the EU budget should be used to contribute in facing the economic crisis by means of the appropriate instruments provided for in the IIA and invites Council to enter into discussions with Parliament as soon as possible; considers that use can be made only of those margins that have been confirmed and not on the basis of estimated needs in future budget years; recalls that the exercise of redeployment could hinder existing policies; considers the mid-term review to be an ultimate and late opportunity for reacting to the economic crisis; points out that the Recovery Plan, if approved, will have a significant impact on the 2009 Budget; reminds the Commission that its proposal is indicative and dependent on the approval of the legislator; requests further details on the development stage of each project to guarantee a speedy implementation as well as an assessment of their effects in the short term on employment and growth of the whole EU economy and asks for concrete figures relating to implementation, particularly in respect of the financial programming; points out that EU spending on energy projects, which under the current EU financial framework must be limited, should focus on projects that can be started swiftly and which help to reach the European Union's 2020 targets on climate change policies, notably energy savings and energy efficiency projects as well as investments in renewable energy networks;

84.  Recalls the joint declaration agreed at the conciliation meeting on 21 November 2008 on "Implementation of the cohesion policy" highlighting the benefits for the economy of accelerating the implementation of structural and cohesion funds and on "payment appropriations" supporting the financing of new initiatives particularly regarding the economic crisis; notes that the amount of additional advance payments foreseen in 2009 on the basis of the Commission proposal on the financial management of the ESF, ERDF and the Cohesion Fund is EUR 6 300 000 000 and that other proposed modifications to the financial management of the funds may increase the speed of interim payments;

85.  Asks the Commission to keep the budgetary authority informed and clarify whether anticipating payments in the framework of the financial management of the Funds will be in line with the schedule of payments foreseen for 2009 by the budgetary authority, namely if the level of payments agreed by Parliament and the Council will be enough to finance current or future initiatives;

86.  Recalls that any change in the level of payments that the Commission will propose must be included in an amending budget to be adopted by the two arms of the budgetary authority;

87.  Stresses the added value of the trans-European transport network programme (TEN-T) for the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy, the European Union's climate change goals and for a greater social, economic and territorial cohesion, while also providing timely support for sustaining aggregate demand in the Europe Union; therefore welcomes the Commission's proposal to bring forward from 2010 to 2009 EUR 500 000 000 in investment in transport infrastructure;

88.  Asks the Commission when presenting the list of specific projects applying for EU budget financing, and as requested by the December 2008 European Council, to take into account the need to increase the competitiveness of the EU economy with a long-term perspective, advancing infrastructure projects already decided and planned;

89.  Recommends a flexible approach to the European budget spending structure and the allocation of uncommitted appropriations or non-annually budgeted appropriations to priorities identified under a cohesion framework; calls once again for the urgent strengthening of the European budget, reassessing its size and its expenditure structure;

European Union and global governance

90.  Strongly encourages the European Union to play a leading role in international fora, notably in the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and at the coming meetings of the G20; considers it especially important to strengthen the multilateral surveillance of currency areas and financial markets; recalls that, in times of free global capital flows, convergence is at the heart of a true level playing field and of a comprehensive regulatory and supervisory framework;

91.  Recalls the importance of the next G20 Summit to be held in London on 2 April 2009, when it is anticipated that statements will be converted into decisions; recalls the importance of agreeing on a clear timetable for action so as to make the process output-oriented; insists on the fact that not only financial considerations should be agreed upon but that Member States' Heads of State or government should also reflect on how to correct global imbalances and agree to coordinate the various, recently adopted recovery plans, bearing in mind the unemployment issue; supports the use of the recommendations of the de Larosière group as a basis for shaping the EU position on future financial architecture; calls on the Council and the Commission to seek Parliament's views before agreeing on a negotiating position for the Summit;

92.  Strongly supports the decision of the European members of the G20 to take definitive action against tax havens and uncooperative jurisdictions by agreeing on a toolbox of sanctions as soon as possible, to be endorsed at the London summit; recommends that the EU should adopt at its own level the adequate legislative framework to restrict business with those jurisdictions; stresses that global convergent approaches are essential in order to tackle this issue;

93.  Strongly recommends that the impact of international transactions on the real economy across the European Union, particularly as regards trade, climate change and finance, be duly assessed; supports enhanced international dialogue with the most important currency blocks to avoid the consequences of currency manipulation and volatility on the real economy;

94.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to intensify consultation and foster cooperative relations with the European Union's commercial partners, and, in particular, with the newly appointed US administration;

95.  Considers that the present crisis must not preclude the European Union's responsibilities as regards promoting international development and combating world poverty; warns that the risk of a fallback to protectionist policies must be avoided; stresses that the worldwide recovery effort could be greatly enhanced by the timely conclusion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations;

o   o

96.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Economic and Social Committee and the president of the Eurogroup.

(1) OJ C 16, 22.1.2009, p. 1.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0506.
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0058.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0543.
(5) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0425.
(6) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0476.
(7) Directive 2000/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 June 2000 on combating late payment in commercial transactions (OJ L 200, 8.8.2000, p. 35).
(8) Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36).
(9) Directive 2008/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008 with regard to the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal workers (OJ L 52, 27.2.2008, p. 3).

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