Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy tonight slammed the proposals for reform of the Eurozone contained in the European Commission’s ‘“reflection paper” on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
Addressing MEPs during a debate on the reflection paper in Strasbourg this evening, Carthy said:
“There is one positive element of this reflection paper – the Commission finally admits that the status quo, and the divergence it has led to, is unsustainable and has to change.
“But the proposals to deepen the EMU entirely fail to address the problems caused by the structural flaws of the euro, which are becoming clearer and clearer and are now acknowledged by mainstream economists.
“The plans to deepen the EMU are based on enshrining permanent austerity and the dubious economic model of export-led growth.
“The German current account surplus is the cause of existing debt crises in the Eurozone and it will be the cause of future crises. If one country is constantly exporting more than it imports, other countries – in our case, the EU peripheral countries – will have to import more than they export.
“But while the EU’s ‘rules’ set a limit for current account balances of plus-six per cent of GDP, no sanctions have been imposed against Berlin despite the fact Germany has exceeded this limit for 21 consecutive quarters and for 31 out of 40 quarters since the start of 2007.
“In typical Commission fashion, a European Unemployment Insurance Scheme is dangled in this reflection paper to gain public support – while the trade-off is the ‘harmonisation’ of labour relations and anti-worker reforms.
“As for the proposed ‘investment scheme’, it is contradictory nonsense to create a scheme to protect investment during downturns while insisting on keeping the Fiscal Compact straitjacket in place.”
Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, continued: “These measures won’t solve the euro’s structural problems, and they demand trade-offs in rights, democracy and popular sovereignty.
“I don’t oppose transfers to correct imbalances – but I will definitely oppose them if they are conditional. Social rights cannot be dependent on economic performance or a state’s following of the fiscal rules. Rights are rights.
“We will not fall for the trap of surrendering more ground on democratic rights in exchange for these crumbs from the table.
“We need a real public investment plan to stimulate growth. We need effective sanctions against current account surpluses; for investment to be excluded from the fiscal rules; and to reject the Fiscal Compact being enshrined in the Treaties at the end of this year.”