COVID-19: PES economic network examines recovery plan

COVID-19: PES economic network examines recovery plan

MEPs, party representatives and experts, and trade unionists held a video conference to discuss measures to contain the shock facing Europe. They agreed that a plan is now badly needed to propel an economic recovery forward in a social and fair way, which respects democracy and the Rule of Law.

Maria João Rodrigues, PES Economic and Financial Network chair and FEPS President, said:

“Our priority is to save lives, to save jobs, and to improve the future for Europe. It is time for a plan which leaves no one behind as we overcome COVID-19.

“Our plan looks at two key dimensions. First, preventions: it is vital that EU leaders stop the coronavirus pandemic turning into a downward economic spiral and a deep recession, and save jobs, economies and welfare systems. Second, recovery: we also need to ready to take bold action to remedy the inevitable impact that the crisis will have. The measures we take must transform our economies and societies.

“As socialists and democrats, we are fighting to make sure the containment and management of this shock is social and fair. The European Green Deal and Social Pillar must remain the framework for our collective action, and the Rule of Law and democracy must be respected every step of the way.”

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“The EU must learn from the past – austerity cannot be the answer. Europe’s recovery must be built on sound progressive principles – strong public services, world-class healthcare, social and economic equality, respect for the environment, and democracy and the Rule of Law.

“We must guard against exploitation of this crisis by Viktor Orban and other aspiring autocrats. Socialists and democrats will never allow COVID-19 to be turned into an assault on core European principles like democracy, Rule of Law and the respect of fundamental rights. We do not accept corona-tyrannies. Our Union is confronted with an unprecedented situation which requires unprecedented measures, but this crisis must never be used as the pretext for undermining democracy and attacking EU founding values.”

The FEN convened to assess a draft Recovery Plan produced by the PES: Saving Lives, Saving Jobs, and Changing our Future. It covers action in three areas: short- and longer-term health measures; employment and social policy; and, economic support.

The COVID-19 crisis has re-confirmed the importance of the state and the welfare state. Neo-liberal cost-cutting – the austerity dogma – implemented since the last economic downturn has shrunk the state and weakened the public sector and health sector, deteriorating welfare states. It has increased unemployment and poverty rates. And, most importantly, it has led to the unsustainable rise of economic and social inequalities.

Today’s FEN builds on efforts to progress Europe’s recovery being undertaken by PES thematic networks, governments, prime ministers, leaders, commissioners, and parliamentarians.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Maria João Rodrigues, FEPS President, meeting Chair  
  • Pedro Marques MEP, S&D and PES Coordinator for the implementation of our progressive Commission Work Programme, S&D Group in the European Parliament
  • Aurore Lalucq MEP, S&D Group in the European Parliament
  • Margarida Marques MEP, S&D Group in the European Parliament  
  • Victor Negrescu MEP, S&D Group in the European Parliament  
  • Andreas Schieder MEP, S&D Group in the European Parliament 
  • Pedro Silva Perreira MEP, S&D Group in the European Parliament  
  • Emanuele Fiano MP, Partito Democratico, Italy
  • Antton Rönnholm, Secretary General of the Social Democratic Party on Finland
  • Christophe Clergeau, Secretary for Europe, PS France
  • Ioannis Dalmas, EU Secretary, Movement for Change Greece 
  • Franz Danner, Department of International Affairs, SPD Germany
  • Emanuele Felice, International Secretary for Economics, PD Italy
  • Peter Hug, International Secretary, SDP Switzerland 
  • Andreas Psaras, Head of Financial Affairs, EDEK Cyprus 
  • Tero Shemeikka, International Secretary, SDP Finland
  • Laszlo Andor, Secretary General, FEPS
  • Jos Bertrand, President of the European Senior Organisation  
  • Ana Pirtskhalava, Secretary General of the Young European Socialists
  • Estelle Goeger, Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, European Commission 
  • Milton Nunes, Member of the Cabinet of Iratxe Garcia Perez, MEP and President of the S&D Group
  • Christophe Soil, Advisor, PS Belgium
  • Vitorino Mello Oliveira, Adviser to the Portuguese Finance Minister, Mario Centeno
  • Ainara Bascunana, Head of Office of the President, FEPS 
  • Vicent Bocquillon, Head of Economic and Social Model Policy Unit, S&D Group in the European Parliament 
  • Beata Borkowska, Assistant to Łukasz Kohut MEP
  • Stéphanie Boon, Assistant to Aurore Lalucq MEP
  • Anna Colombo, Political Advisor, S&D Group in the European Parliament
  • Patrick Clasen, Assistant to Jens Geier MEP
  • Olga Fotinou, Political Advisor, CoR 
  • Nuno Filipe Araujo De Almeida De Eca Guimaraes, Assistant to Margarida Marques MEP 
  • Julia Freidl, Assistant to Evelyn Regner MEP
  • Matthieu Hornung, Political Advisor, CoR  
  • Corina Popa, Political Advisor, S&D Group in the European Parliament  
  • Susanne Reither, Political Advisor, S&D Group in the European Parliament 
  • David Rinaldi, Policy Advisor, FEPS
  • Leonie Rinke, Assistant to Dr Joachim Schuster MEP
  • Justin Nogarede, Policy Advisor, FEPS
  • Matthieu Meaulle, Advisor, ETUC  
  • Filippos Sachinidis, Former Minister of Finance, Movement for Change Greece 
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES  
  • Giacomo Filibeck, Deputy Secretary General, PES
  • Constantin Kourkoulas, Head of EU Policy Unit, PES