Rules of in­vest­ment, struc­tural re­forms, fis­cal con­sol­i­da­tion should be re­vised – Al­fred Sant

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

For­mer Prime Min­is­ter Al­fred Sant told the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment that what is ur­gently needed in Europe, is a recog­ni­tion that in­de­pen­dently of Brexit and Trump, the rules on in­vest­ment, struc­tural re­forms and fis­cal con­sol­i­da­tion should be re­vised.

Dr Sant said the Euro­pean Se­mes­ter rules have not led to a sta­ble, sig­nif­i­cant and sus­tain­able re­cov­ery in Europe, fail­ing to boost growth, sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce un­em­ploy­ment and re­vive in­vest­ments. These rules, which were de­fined in a pe­riod when the state of af­fairs was com­pletely dif­fer­ent to the cur­rent one, were in­stru­men­tal in driv­ing down pub­lic in­vest­ment.

Dr Sant ad­dressed the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment in Stras­bourg on the Euro­pean Se­mes­ter pack­age in­clud­ing the An­nual Growth Sur­vey 2017. This doc­u­ment was pub­lished by the Com­mis­sion last week and the Com­mis­sion of­fi­cially pre­sented it to Euro­pean Par­lia­ment for dis­cus­sion. The An­nual Growth Sur­vey of­fi­cially launches the Euro­pean Se­mes­ter process for the year ahead. In par­tic­u­lar, it sets out the gen­eral eco­nomic pri­or­i­ties for the EU and of­fers EU govern­ments pol­icy guid­ance for the fol­low­ing year. The Com­mis­sion guid­ance is built around three in­ter-con­nected strands: in­vest­ment, struc­tural re­forms and fis­cal con­sol­i­da­tion.

Dr Sant said it is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to re­fer to Brexit and the Trump elec­tion as a sign of the times that jus­ti­fies re­con­sid­er­a­tion of poli­cies fol­lowed un­der Euro­pean se­mes­ter rules. These rules were de­fined tech­ni­cally, even when some­times, they were in­ter­preted po­lit­i­cally. They helped pre­vent a re­cur­rence of 2008 but they have not led to a sta­ble, sig­nif­i­cant and sus­tain­able re­cov­ery in Europe. They failed tech­ni­cally and this is gen­er­at­ing a po­lit­i­cal back­lash.

The Mal­tese MEP said un­em­ploy­ment re­mains at his­tor­i­cally high lev­els, eco­nomic growth anaemic. In­vest­ment has not re­vived, in the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors. The rules em­bed­ded in the Euro­pean se­mes­ter process are the main con­trib­u­tors to this state of af­fairs. They were de­fined in a pe­riod when the sit­u­a­tion was com­pletely dif­fer­ent to the one we are in. The bench­marks they set no longer fit our cir­cum­stances. Some of them were any­way set ar­bi­trar­ily and have no log­i­cal or ex­is­ten­tial jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The rules them­selves were in­stru­men­tal in driv­ing down pub­lic in­vest­ment. In turn, pri­vate in­vest­ment which piggy backs on pub­lic in­vest­ment was neg­a­tively af­fected. What is ur­gently needed in Europe, is a recog­ni­tion that in­de­pen­dently of Brexit and Trump, the rules set by the Sta­bil­ity and Growth Pact should be re­vised, Dr Sant re­marked.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.