Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, reacted to the State of the Union address from EU Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker with concern over the growing chasm between the winners and losers of today’s economy.
Speaking from Strasbourg after President Juncker addressed MEPs in the European Parliament, Ms. Childers said:
“I believe there is more to Mr. Juncker’s vision for Europe’s future than markets and fiscal rules, and that did shine through his speech.
“However, he has remained too beholden to the mess he inherited from the Barroso era, when markets and finance ruled our Continent, and their champions were put in charge of a mess of their own making.
“We were told we would face a lost decade if we did not put our taxpayers on the line to save the financial sector.
“Yet a lost decade we had, but with a hemorrhage of our public coffers and of our youth.
“The glimpses of optimism that shone through Mr. Juncker’s speech, his last one with a full political year ahead of him at the Commission’s helm, are overcast with dark clouds from far right populist quarters.
“We may have got some reprieve from the recent electoral cycle, but they are still lurking, ready to exploit the deterioration of basic social conditions for many, and to stoke fear and hatred against easy, vulnerable targets.
“We are yet to see proper compunction for the damage inflicted from the Troika’s mistakes in substance and process, and commensurate resources to redress them.
“Big business keeps on dodging tax, and the fiscal constraints imposed on very different economies, without sizeable investment resources, keep on tearing our social fabric and the sense of common purpose among the peoples of the EU.
“At a time when the implications of Brexit threaten the peace and prosperity of our communities at home, we must refocus our priorities on the most vulnerable.
“They have borne the brunt of this past decade, and will keep bearing it if we stick to a boom and bust model for property and finance.
“Mr. Juncker showed a fondness for sailing imagery in his speech, but the wind on the sails of our Union better bring more resources than hot air.”