Al­fred Sant’s re­port on EU’s eco­nomic pri­or­i­ties ap­proved

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

A re­port on the EU’s eco­nomic pri­or­i­ties for 2017 pre­sented by Mal­tese MEP Al­fred Sant was adopted by the Com­mit­tee for Eco­nomic and Mon­e­tary Af­fairs of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

The re­port was pre­pared against a back­drop of low do­mes­tic in­vest­ments, a lower than ex­pected growth fore­cast, eco­nomic un­cer­tainty de­riv­ing in­ter alia from the UK-ref­er­en­dum and trou­bled re­la­tions with Rus­sia and high youth unem­ploy­ment.

The Re­port in­vites the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to give pri­or­ity to mea­sures that re­duce the ob­sta­cles to greater in­vest­ment flows, es­pe­cially in the fields of en­ergy, trans­port, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and the dig­i­tal econ­omy.

The Re­port was dis­cussed and voted in Com­mit­tee with 39 votes in favour, 14 against and four ab­sten­tions.

The Re­port also fully sup­ports at­tempts to en­sure greater na­tional own­er­ship in the for­mu­la­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of coun­try spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions. To fur­ther en­cour­age this, CSRs should be clearly de­fined around a lim­ited num­ber of EU pri­or­i­ties and with close in­volve­ment of na­tional par­lia­ments and re­gional and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

The re­port calls on the mem­ber states to en­sure a proper demo­cratic scru­tiny of their Na­tional Re­form Pro­grammes in their na­tional par­lia­ments. The Re­port also de­plores that the ob­jec­tive of re­duc­ing poverty in the EU will not be met.

As Rap­por­teur, Dr Sant opened and closed the de­bate.

“The theme of in­vest­ment, or its lack, within the over­all thrust of the CSRs is cen­tral to the on­go­ing dilemma faced by eu­ro­zone economies and the rest of the EU. It is quite likely cen­tral to the ma­jor cap­i­tal­ist economies. In­vest­ment dearth is a main rea­son why Euro­pean growth rates have re­mained unim­pres­sive.

“So it is in the in­ter­est of us all to re­flect on this prob­lem and to fo­cus on how we can re­verse the re­luc­tance to in­vest. This in­vest­ment dearth does not re­late only to the eu­ro­zone. It also re­lates to the cap­i­tal­ist econ­omy model and the global cap­i­tal­ist econ­omy as a whole, es­pe­cially the US,” Dr Sant told ECON.

Dr Sant said that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of CSRs, not least where in­vest­ment ini­tia­tives are con­cerned, is highly de­pen­dent on sub­na­tional and re­gional au­thor­i­ties. This is so to a greater ex­tent than I be­lieved when set­ting out to pre­pare the present draft.

As now tabled, it recog­nises the role of sub­na­tional and re­gional au­thor­i­ties in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of CSRs. The greater in­volve­ment of these au­thor­i­ties could in­deed hope­fully help bridge the own­er­ship and im­ple­men­ta­tion gap be­tween the rec­om­men­da­tions as set in Brus­sels, and the mea­sures un­der­taken in na­tional cap­i­tals to sat­isfy the re­quire­ments of the Euro­pean se­mes­ter.

The re­port will now be sub­mit­ted for dis­cus­sion and ap­proval at the Ple­nary of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment in Stras­bourg. “EU cit­i­zens want to have ac­cess to more films, songs, books, and TV chan­nels. Mod­ernising EU rules to give con­sumers more choice of con­tent re­flects the as­pi­ra­tions of cit­i­zens and a must in the in­ter­net age. This is pre­cisely what I will be push­ing for as Rap­por­teur.”

MEP Therese Co­mo­dini Cachia from the EPP Group made these re­marks af­ter be­ing ap­pointed Rap­por­teur by the Com­mit­tee on Le­gal Af­fairs in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

Co­mo­dini Cachia re­marked that such re­form will not only make a much wider cat­a­logue of con­tent ac­ces­si­ble to con­sumers but also make it eas­ier for stu­dents, teachers and schools to ac­cess dig­i­tal ma­te­rial, sup­port re­searchers in pub­lic mis­sion projects in their work and im­prove the preser­va­tion of cul­tural her­itage.

More­over, the re­form will aim to fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess to pub­lished work for per­sons who are blind or vis­ually im­paired to ac­cess books and other con­tent in for­mats that are ac­ces­si­ble to them.

Co­mo­dini Cachia em­pha­sised that more in­vest­ment in the cre­ative and cul­tural in­dus­tries was needed. She re­it­er­ated that “with­out cre­ators, con­sumers can­not have ac­cess to con­tent and thus their work must be recog­nised and val­ued.”

Over the next weeks Co­mo­dini Cachia will con­tinue to meet stake­hold­ers in Malta and Brus­sels to en­sure that the re­form works in dig­i­tal life­styles. She en­cour­aged stake­hold­ers to come for­ward with their pro­pos­als.

Therese Co­mo­dini Cachia has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in the sec­tor and has al­ready served as EPP Group rap­por­teur on rel­e­vant EU direc­tives. The re­form of the sec­tor is a much ex­pected step as cur­rent EU rules date back to 2001 and do not re­flect the re­al­i­ties of the in­ter­net era and the rapidly-chang­ing be­hav­iour of view­ers on­line.

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