Economic governance in the EU can only work if Member States carry out the structural reforms needed. Right in the aftermath of the turbulent Greek elections, on 2 and 3 February, national and European parliamentarians from the EPP Group met to discuss economic governance, in preparation of the interparliamentary meeting on the European Semester during European Parliamentary Week.
"Structural reforms are key to growth. We don't want to burden our children with debts," stated Dutch MEP Esther de Lange, EPP Group Vice-Chair in charge of Relations with National Parliaments.
"Europe has 7% of the world population, 25% of world GDP, but 50% of the world's social welfare spending. This is already a challenge for our children," said De Lange, also EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur on a review of the economic governance framework.
Structural reforms are key to growth. We don't want to burden our children with debts. Esther de Lange
Her view on the need for reforms was shared by Lolita Cigane, Chair of the EU Affairs Committee in the Latvian Parliament. "The Juncker Investment funds will also not work without the necessary structural reforms," she noted. On the Greek wishes for debt quittance, Cigane clearly stated: "No write offs, of course."
Over the last few years, EU Member States have created new rules on fiscal and economic governance. This usually happened with debates on their legal basis in the EU Treaty. Polish MEP and Chairwoman of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Danuta Hübner, noted: "How long can we go on with this 'treaty stretching'? We have to see."
MEPs Dariusz Rosati (Poland), David Casa (Malta), Jose Manuel Fernandez and Sofia Ribeiro (both Portugal) and Andreas Schwab (Germany) attended the debate. From the national parliaments, the EPP Group also welcomed Vicente Martinez-Pujalte and Ana Maria Madrazo Diaz (both from Spain) and Norbert Barthle (Germany).