Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant told the Economic and Monetary Committee of the European Parliament (ECON) that Europe should not allow poverty to become an accepted state of affairs. The real tragedy on the social front, said Dr Sant, is that the 2020 goal for poverty will not only be missed but the European Commission is accepting that in 2020 the situation will be worse than at the point when the 2020 programme started. “Is it not appropriate that the fight against poverty be given total priority in the formulation of Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) with a view to at least not allowing poverty in Europe to become an accepted state of affairs?” Dr Sant asked when he spoke as the rapporteur of the report in ECON on the European Semester Cycle with the title “European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2016 priorities.”

Dr Sant said, that on the social front, it is clear that employment and social considerations continue to play a prominent role in the Semester as well as the Europe 2020 strategy. The area most frequently covered by a recommendation is that of skills, education and training. The Maltese MEP said it is a good move that the 2016 CSRs put a greater emphasis on the objective to achieve, while leaving the definition of the measures needed to attain it at the discretion of national authorities. But he noted that over the past years there has been a lower commitment to implement the Commission’s recommendations by member states. “Part of the problem in my view is that national Parliaments are still not really being involved in the process, though attempts have been made to correct this. “Does any prospect exist of redesigning the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) process to ensure that national parliaments become an integral and organic part of the adoption process in a meaningful way?”

Referring to investment, Dr Sant said that Macroeconomic reasons have played a role in depressing both private long-term investments and public ones. ‘More attention should be paid to the microeconomic obstacles to investment. But will this be enough? I doubt it.” Despite the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) and despite the structural funds, the big investment gap both at public and private levels has become endemic in the single market. The Maltese MEP said there is a consensus across the political spectrum about the need to enhance investment. “Do you agree that we need new policy proposals in the pipeline that would really help to increase private and public investment across Europe?” asked Dr Sant.

The debate was also addressed by Commissioners Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice President in charge of Euro & Social Dialogue and Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skill and Labour Mobility.

Watch Dr Sant’s intervention on this link:


Il-miri Ewropej dwar il-faqar għas-sena 2020 mhux se jintlaħqu. It-traġedja hija li l-Kummissjoni Ewropea qed taċċetta li s-sitwazzjoni f’dan il-qasam se tkun agħar minn meta beda l-programm 2020. Dan qalu Alfred Sant fil-Kumitat Ekonomiku u Monetarju tal-Parlament Ewropew fejn insista li l-Ewropa m’għandhiex taċċetta l-faqar bħala stat ta’ fatt. Il-ġlieda kontra l-faqar għandha tingħata prijorita` assoluta fil-ħolqien tar-rakkomandazzjonijiet speċifiċi għal kull pajjiż.

Dr Sant, rapporteur fir-rapport dwar il-prijoritajiet tal-politika ekonomika għal 2016, qal li fil-qasam soċjali, huwa ċar li l-impjiegi u aspetti soċjali oħra għandhom rwol importanti fl-istrateġija Ewropea 2020. L-oqsma l-aktar imsemmija fir-rakkomandazzjonijiet tal-KE huma l-ħiliet, l-edukazzjoni u t-taħriġ. L-Ewroparlamentari qal li l-miżuri biex jintlaħqu dawn l-għanijiet titħalla f’idejn l-awtoritajiet nazzjonali.

Dr Sant qal li fl-aħħar snin naqset l-implimentazzjoni ta’ dawn ir-rakkomandazzjonijiet mill-istati membri. “Jien naħseb li parti mill-problema hija li l-Parlamenti Nazzjonali mhux qed ikunu involuti fil-proċess, għalkemm saru xi attentati biex l-affarijiet jitranġaw.” Dr Sant staqsa fil-futur hemmx ħjiel biex ir-rakkomandazzjonijiet speċifiċi għal kull pajjiż jitfasslu waqt proċess li jinkludi sew lill-Parlamenti Nazzjonali.

Dwar l-investiment, Dr Sant qal li raġunijiet ekonomiċi ‘macro’ naqqsu kemm l-investiment privat kif ukoll dak pubbliku. “Jeħtieġ li tingħata aktar attenzjoni lill-ostakli ekonomiċi ‘micro’ għall-investiment. Imma niddubita dan kollu jkunx biżżejjed”. Minkejja l-Fond Ewropew għall-Investiment Strateġiku u minkejja il-fondi strutturali, hemm differenza kbira fil-livell ta’ investiment pubbliku u privat fis-suq intern. Dr Sant qal li hemm qbil bejn il-gruppi politiċi Ewropej dwar il-ħtieġa li jiżdied l-investiment. “Taqblu li neħtieġu proposti politiċi ġodda li veru jgħinu biex jiżdied l-investiment pubbliku u privat madwar l-Ewropa?” staqsa Dr Sant.

Il-Kummissarju Valdis Dombrovskis, Viċi-President għal Ewro u d-Djalogu Soċjali u Marianne Thyssen, Kummissarju għax-Xogħol, Mobilita` tal-ħaddiema u Oqsma soċjali kienu preżenti għal-laqgħa u ħadu sehem fid-dibattitu.

Segwi l-intervent ta’ Dr Sant fuq din il-link:

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