Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-05-07-Speech-3-029"

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"Madam President, Commissioner, in order to confirm the success of the policies followed, the Commission report on the new round of the Lisbon Strategy lays undue emphasis on the fact that economic growth in Europe has risen from 1.8% in 2005 to 2.9% in 2007, and is forecast at 2.4% for 2008. Now, however, a correction has been made, as we have recently heard from Mr Almunia: economic growth will drop to 2% this year, and then to 1.8% in 2009. We are pointing this out because it clearly proves what happens in liberalised market conditions. Inevitably, as a result of the EMU and, naturally, neoliberal globalisation, overall rather than sporadic growth is by no means a certainty because the mechanisms resorted to are dictated exclusively by rigid market forces. Although limiting inflation, purportedly the paramount priority of the European Central Bank (ECB), the rate will reach 3.6% this year. What on earth is going on? Could it be that even for their limited purposes the procedures are failing? Now that the EMU has been in existence for 10 years, things may justifiably be brought into question. What can we hope to gain from the rigid conservatism of the Stability Pact? According to that, all Member States are assumed to have started on an equal footing, budgets must be balanced and the deficit must be reduced annually, regardless of the standard of living or whether the deficit is already below 3%. What social benefit do young people and workers stand to gain from the insistence that social expenditure must not increase, even in prosperous times? What framework and what policies are being put in place for workers, whose minimum income in most Member States is EUR 92-668, at a time of long-term price rises and inflation? Unemployment may be in decline compared with 1999. However, there is an even greater rise in uninsured, uncertain employment, which not only does nothing to improve the population’s standard of living, but also undermines it. What is needed now is a complete change of course, away from today’s frameworks and policies. This is what the majority of the EU’s population demands, in the face of Shell and BP’s EUR 4.2 million-an-hour profits for the sake of the so-called free market, while workers are being hit by ever-increasing job insecurity and a drop in the real value of wages."@en1

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