Sassoli: It is time to decide, the conditions of the European Parliament 


Extracts of the speech of European Parliament President David Sassoli to the European Council

“The discussions and decisions we will be called upon to take will be crucial in rebuilding our Union for the decades to come.
“What we want to achieve is clear. The idea of unlimited growth has been put to bed forever. The time has come to decide how and where to grow, in the interests of our citizens and the planet. The pandemic gives us new responsibilities and duties, the responsibility to decide and the duty to do so in the interests of all, not just the few. If this is the background, the decisions on where to invest are clear: the green economy, healthcare, education, digitalisation, and democratic and social rights. Inclusion instead of exclusion.  This was the vision outlined when the European Parliament voted in favour of the Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen. Our priorities were already the right ones, and the crisis has now only confirmed that belief.
“The recovery plan must live up to these ambitions. It must help to transform the economy and combat worsening disparities. We must take this crisis very seriously, because the social effects and job losses will spare no one. The package of measures announced by the European Commission on 27 May is a decisive step in the long history of European integration. The Commission has proposed, for the first time, to borrow up to €750 billion on the financial markets as part of a new recovery tool. This is the essential device for Europe at this moment.  Parliament supports this approach, the amount, and the distribution indicated between grants and loans.”
The President continued to speak on the Parliament’s priorities:

“We expect the introduction of a package of own resources with a commitment that they enter into force as soon as possible, and by 2023 at the latest. We also believe that the time has come to eliminate the rebates that some Member States receive, which are unfair and difficult to justify. These are priorities for the Parliament, alongside a governance mechanism that ensures adequate democratic control over allocation of resources and the approval of national recovery plans. Money that is borrowed together must be accompanied by governance that respects the Community method.
It would be unimaginable for a Europe that has decided on a common response to the crisis to then exclude the Parliament. It would be a grave mistake to move backwards from the reforms to economic governance that have been implemented in Europe since the last financial crisis.
On the MFF, President Sassoli said:
“I have to be frank - Parliament is disappointed by the MFF proposal on the table. For there to be a sustainable recovery, it is not possible to act without clear and long-term guarantees of funding. This is a fundamental condition for Parliament.”
“Europe has grown together based on common values. Let us not reduce the European Union to a continent-wide ATM. Parliament places great importance on good management of common resources and at the same time in respecting the principles of the rule of law. Solidarity and the benefits of the common market go hand-in-hand with respect for our values.
“As you have well understood, Parliament will only give its consent to the MMF if it meets the priorities I have mentioned today. I say this with all due respect to your role, but also with the firmness that comes from the mandate I received from Parliament by a very majority that backed the resolution voted last May.
The President finished by stressing the need for Europe to tackle widening inequalities:
“In the past years we have been told that what benefits the rich would also benefit the poor. We all know that it has not worked out that way. For too many decades, those who are born poor remain poor. Social mobility, so important for my generation, has stalled for too long. That is why Parliament is calling for greater ambition. We represent all European citizens, a large number of whom often struggle to make ends meet. If we do not live up to our responsibilities, and respond with courage and a sense of justice for these people, then we will not only face major problems for the structure of Europe, but will see the resilience of our democratic institutions threatened.”

The full speech is available here.