“As Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker’s message has always shown a marked improvement from the bleakness of the Barroso era, but he remains tied down by conservative doctrinaires. As a consequence there was little joy to be found in today’s message” stated Dublin MEP Nessa Childers.
Speaking from Strasbourg in reaction to the EU Commission President’s annual State of the Union address to Parliament today, Ms. Childers said:
“President Juncker believes in the need for growth-stimulating investment, and his intention to double the strength of his current investment plan is welcome. But a year ago, Mr. Juncker made much of his plans for a Triple-A social agenda, yet Europe continues to limp along without a social pillar worthy of its name.
“Former internal market Commissioner Barnier, now in charge of Brexit negotiations for the EC, had it right when he laid much of the blame for Brexit on Europe’s ultra-liberal drift – and I hope Mr. Juncker and Fine Gael take note. They mightn’t listen to me but these words came from a most senior and experienced member of their political family.
“In his speech Mr. Juncker rightly called the EU budget an expression of European solidarity, but roughly one percent of our gross product is little help against the ravages of austerity which are by default now enshrined in the EU’s economic governance rule book.
“We need to get the conservative right to acknowledge the consequences of putting the economy at the service of blind rules, rather than of the citizens who bore the brunt of the financial collapse. A collapse and its fallout that was not supposed to happen if the neat free-market logic really worked as they claim.
“Moreover, selective application when the big member states interests are at stake does little to add credibility to their questionable validity.
“So there was little joy to be found in today’s State of the Union address. We’re stuck with social subprime, when we need social cohesion, not bankruptcy.