2020. 06. 02.
A wide-ranging discussion was held by MEPs on the European Semester’s Country Specific Recommendations in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. The meeting was attended by Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for An Economy that Works for People, as well as Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy and Nicolas Schmidt, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights.
Fidesz MEP Enikő Győri, the keynote speaker at the meeting pointed it out: “The European Semester is an important tool for coordinating the economic policies of the Member States even in the current crisis. Now we need to focus primarily on short-term solutions as these can mitigate the direct damage caused by the epidemic: we need to save our companies and jobs. At the same time, we must not forget the future of Europe: the digital and green transition and closing the gap between the levels of development of the Member States. “
Regarding the crisis management, the EPP MEP pointed out: “We need to be prepared for the increase of the general government deficit and public debt, as now this is the price of saving the economy. However, we should refrain from irresponsibly accumulating debt at the expense of future generations; we must come up with a plan on how to repay the loans. According to the current plan, not just our children, but also even our grandchildren would reimburse the cost of the Recovery Tool that came out today. ”
The representative emphasized: “Hungary has been hit by the crisis at a stable development trajectory, thanks to that the Coronavirus will do less harm for the economy than in the case of other states. The European Commission also recognizes this outstanding Hungarian performance. ”
MEP Enikő Győri highlighted: “The European Semester is too important of an economic tool to waste its original role and to let it be converted into a political weapon in the wrong hands. Keeping the focus is also important in economic terms. We already know from the experience of previous years that Member States have implemented only 40% of the recommendations. Nevertheless, there is enormous pressure from the Commission to broaden the original scope of the instrument. This is not a viable option if we aim for actual results. It is important that the problems are remedied at the levels laid down in the Treaties, such as unemployment and the minimum wage, which are the competence of the Member States, the decision is not on EU level,” she concluded.
The commissioners agreed with the MEP on the shortcomings of the implementation of the Semester’s recommendations and confirmed that this need to be addressed. Executive Vice President Dombrovskis also shared the view of MEP Győri that after the crisis, Member States must return to responsible fiscal policies. Answering the question of Enikő Győri, he confirmed that the European Semester would act as a compass for the distribution of resources in the Recovery Fund.