A Sustainable Development and Employment Pact and an ECB that works for people and the planet are among the proposals for a post-pandemic Europe the Left group in the European Parliament is presenting today.
Titled ‘Solidarity is the Cure’, the plan recognises the unprecedented nature of the health, economic and social crisis facing the EU today while taking stock of the mistakes committed during the 2008 financial crisis to offer a progressive vision for Europe where people & planet come before profit and greed.
The Left calls for the recovery to be funded through increased taxation of large corporations and wealthy individuals, and a Financial Transaction Tax, as alternatives to forcing working people to pay for crises.
The green transition must be a means for recovery, the document contends, calling for carbon neutrality to be moved forward to 2040. Given the magnitude of the current health crisis and the possibility of future recurrences, Left MEPs call for EU support for requisitioning health facilities and production sites for rapid mobilisation of care and supplies.
Decrying the way frontline workers have been treated in this crisis, Co-President Manon Aubry called for an urgent reassessment of how their labour is recognised:
“The pandemic has laid bare the disastrous consequences of austerity in our public services, especially in the health sector. It has revealed the catastrophic impact of free trade and the loss of our industrial sovereignty as we’re seeing in the pharmaceutical sector. And it demonstrates the total absence of coordination and solidarity between member states.
“Health must come before profit: we need massive investment in the development of our health and social care systems to give its workers, mostly low-paid women, the social and financial recognition they deserve. The people must not be made to pay for the crisis. ‘Frugal’ member states need to accept the mutualisation of costs: the ECB has a key part to play, cancelling debts, and acting as a lender of last resort.
“The EU must immediately stop all negotiations on free trade agreements and plan the relocation of key industrial sectors to protect citizens from the domino effect of another collapse of the global supply chain.”
For Co-President Martin Schirdewan this is a seminal opportunity to reimagine a more socially and ecologically just Europe, with solidarity as its backbone:
“The decisions we make at this critical moment will determine the nature of the world we live in for decades to come. Do we allow a return to the policies of the past that have impoverished and disenfranchised people, and devastated public services and communities? Do we use public funds to prop up corporations and banks and allow them to continue exploitative practices?
“Or, instead, do we turn away from the failures of the past and build a better society based on meeting the needs of all, saving the climate and ending inequality? The Left is putting forward concrete proposals that outline how we can reach these goals, and what we need to do to get there.”