Magazine article European Social Policy

Eurozone : Socialists Table "Progressive" Growth Plan

Magazine article European Social Policy

Eurozone : Socialists Table "Progressive" Growth Plan

Article excerpt

European Socialists have promised to expand the EU economy by 10.9% by 2015 and create up to 20 million jobs between now and 2020 as part of a new "progressive" growth strategy. In response to what they have dubbed the "austerity only" plan by the European People's Party and other Conservative-minded groups, they claim to be able to reduce the jobless population by 2.5 million people over the next five years, while bringing spending and borrowing below the EU's limits.

The Party of European Socialists, which held a 4 March summit in Athens to rival the EPP's Helsinki think-in, has labelled itself the party of "economic responsibility," saying that deficit reduction plans being imposed on EU governments across the bloc will result in the destruction of 600,000 jobs and increase unemployment to 10.7% (from its current level of 9.5%), while boosting growth by only 6.4%. A central plank of the PES plan is a tax on financial transactions (see separate article), which they say could raise up to 200 billion for cash-strapped governments across Europe. They are also in favour of a system of eurobonds and say further cash injections into the economy, rather than cuts, are necessary to boost innovation, green' growth, education and the fight against social inequality.

Their statement comes the week before eurozone leaders meet to discuss a joint bid by France and Germany to tighten up lax wage, pension and budgetary systems across the 17-member bloc, a quid pro quo for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to agree any changes to the 440 billion European Financial Stability Facility. …

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