European Parliamentary Week discusses EU's economic priorities
On 3 and 4 February 2015, MEPs are meeting their colleagues from the national parliaments for the annual "European Parliamentary Week, to discuss the EU's economic priorities for the coming year. According to the European Commission's Annual Growth Survey, EU countries need to continue to cut their budgets, even though the lack of investment is hampering growth.
Among the European Parliamentary Week participants are EP President Martin Schulz and Vice-President Olli Rehn. This year's discussion will focus on the Juncker Plan, the Commission's proposed investment package to boost growth and create new jobs (including setting up the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI)), as well as establishing a social dimension for the EU's economic and monetary union. Parliamentarians have criticised that the budget cuts imposed on member states as a result of the European Semester are part of a process that needs greater democratic legitimacy, since according to existing rules governments send their economic and budget plans to the Commission for approval before national parliamentsare able to vote on them.
Further complicating matters is the divide between those who argue for the continuation of austerity policies and those that blame cuts in public spending for weak growth and increasing unemployment.
European Semester: http://era.gv.at/directory/157
European Fund for Strategic Investments: http://era.gv.at/directory/222TOP