“As Merkel is set to leave the stage – so too must her failed policies” – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the EU leaders and institutions to finally abandon the failed austerity policies promoted by Angela Merkel, as MEPs took part in a debate with outgoing German Chancellor in Strasbourg this afternoon, Tuesday. The Sinn Féin MEP took part in a protest against Merkel’s economic policies along with other progressive MEPs before she addressed the plenary.
Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: “The EU is still recovering from a decade of austerity, which was forced on the peripheral economies principally by Germany.
“Angela Merkel, since her election as Chancellor of Germany in 2005, has been the chief architect of these policies, which have caused devastation for millions of people across the EU and especially in countries like Ireland. Europe, and in particular the Eurozone, has lost a decade as a direct result of the policies imposed under Merkel’s leadership.
“The results of the European response to the crisis are damning. Three patterns are obvious: the Eurozone countries have in general fared far worse in terms in terms of recovery than countries outside of the common currency; the recovery within the Eurozone has been sharply asymmetrical, with divergence between strong and weak countries increasing; and there has been a significant rise in inequality across Europe. History will confirm that Merkel’s policies prolonged and worsened the crisis in the EU.
“The political crisis that has developed across the EU in the past five years is not only a reaction to the global financial crisis, but also to the policy choices enacted by EU leaders in response to the crisis, which amounted to socialisation of the bankers’ losses.
“World leaders have feted Merkel as the so-called leader of the free world, counterpoising her to US President Donald Trump. This misses the key dynamic at play between these two types of leaders – namely, that the policies of Merkel and other similar political leaders have directly contributed to the rise of the far right and demagogues such as Trump. Being ‘less bad’ than Trump is not good enough.
“The Spitzenkadidat (lead candidate) selected by Fine Gael’s political group, the European People’s Party (EPP) is none other than Merkel’s close ally and colleague Manfred Weber, from her sister party in Germany. Weber has already indicated he fully supports her approach towards economic policy, and has further demonstrated he is willing to turn a blind eye to racist and misogynist policies enacted by parties such Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, a member of the EPP. The EU does not need a right-wing German at the helm of the commission.
“Instead, we need fundamental reform of the EU – including restoring fiscal powers to member states, enacting effective and binding policies to tackle climate change, putting trade union and collective bargaining rights on a firm statutory basis, ending corporate tax avoidance, and ensuring people’s basic needs in terms of housing, healthcare and education are fully met. The ECB’s mandate and accountability structures need major reform, and the EU Treaties must be changed in order to facilitate all of these changes. This is an ambitious programme but it is now crystal clear – more of the same for the EU is not an option.” ENDS