Alfred Sant presents report on new investments across the EU
Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant, rapporteur on behalf of the S&D, presented a draft report focusing on the issue of new investments across the European Union during a meeting of the Economic Monetary Committee of the European Parliament.
The report entitled “European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2016 priorities” is expected to be adopted in ECON on the 11th October and later put forward for approval at the Plenary of the European Parliament.
The committee was also attended by representatives of the national parliaments who are invited to debate the country-specific recommendation from the EU level and translate them into their own actions.
The Maltese Parliament was represented by Charles Mangion (PL) and Claudio Grech (PN) who also addressed the issue of investments in the EU.
Dr Sant introduced the discussion by focusing on the implementation of recommendations and difficulties encountered by member states.
“Given the existing boundary conditions for how policy is defined in the EU and the eurozone, what recommendations based on the Commission’s Country Specific Reports’ can we best emphasize? What consensus, or at least some agreement, about the best way forward regarding investment can be achieved over as wide a political spectrum as possible? – while keeping our report meaningful to all those millions of EU citizens who would like to share in the prospects of a greater economic growth than we have become accustomed to in recent years.”
Dr Sant spoke on the role of National Parliaments to assume a more meaningful and assertive role in the consideration of national reports, at European and at national levels and present them to voters as if they were their own.
“National Parliaments are there to defend the national interest. The European Commission and the European Parliament are there, so we say, to defend the European interest. What may make sense at panEuropean level, even when applied to national economies, can seem like poison, on the ground, at national level, whether applied on a short term or on a long term basis. Yet our constituencies are the same, at national and at European levels. All this should be considered against the background of how Country Specific Recommendations are being implemented by governments.”
Dr Sant said that based on the Commission’s assessment, the proportion of fully or substantially implemented CSRs has more than halved over the 20122015 Semester cycles. At the same time, the part of recommendations with limited/no progress has risen from nearly 30% in 2012 to more than 50% in 2015.
Dr Sant said that the EC reduced its CSRs in 2016 – as in the previous year - to concentrate better on each country’s urgent and specific challenges, and to increase national ownership of the CSRs.
“Still there is a problem of a weak and deteriorating record in the implementation of CSRs. As a result, a fundamental problem of EU economic policy coordination is that it hardly functions at all. Do we need, beyond that, a big further push to promote new investment? Should it just be private investment? Or should more also be done to mobilize public funds?” asked the Maltese MEP.
The Maltese MEP said that economic and social divergences have become a huge challenge with potentially dangerous repercussion for the European cohesion. “How would this play against the need to ensure that the Stability and Growth Pact is never never breached? In all this, how can the growing economic and social divergences between different parts of the Union be corrected and reversed?” pointed the S&D Rapporteur.