De Jong: European Commission has a calculator but no heart

24 November 2011

De Jong: European Commission has a calculator but no heart

SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong has described new proposals from the European Commission as ‘the latest example of European budget fetishism’. They are, he says, ‘aimed lopsidedly at budgetary discipline. With these measures the European Commission is trying to resolve the Eurocrisis with a calculator and no heart.’ In the SP’s view the proposals are technocratic and fail to understand that intelligent policy always demands a consideration of a range of interests. As De Jong says ‘ you don’t need a degree in economics to know that if every member state cuts its spending at the same time, the whole of Europe will have to deal with negative economic growth. What we’re risking here are years of recession.’

Dennis de JongThe Commission’s proposals include a kind of step-by-step plan: the worse things become for a member state’s economy, the more the Commission can intervene. “I’m really concerned about the democratic character of such a way of doing business,” says De Jong. “You already see the influence of Brussels in the appointment of government leaders in Italy and Greece. These new proposals go as far as to suggest that a whole squad of officials from Brussels could descend on a member state and take over its government. That’s no longer democracy.”

The Commission hopes its proposals will persuade the financial markets that the European Union will install the kind of intervention in the member states that they deem necessary. De Jong’s fear is that this will lead only to further deep austerity. “That’s why I want the European Commission in its crisis proposals to accompany its budgetary austerity goals with social goals. Attention must be given to reducing unemployment, the introduction of a minimum wage, and support for small businesses which will otherwise go under.” The SP Euro-MP also expressed disappointment that the Commission has not come forward with any specific proposals to tackle corruption.

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