Progressive Economy - "We need an alternative to austerity", say S&D Euro MPs
A week before the European economic summit, S&D Euro MPs called for a change of policy in Europe – away from the current path of austerity. The top priority for European heads of state and government must be to find a better balance between reducing deficits and focusing on growth and creating jobs.

The call came during a conference organised by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) on the topic: 'Failed austerity in Europe – The way out'.

The one-day conference gathered an impressive number of big political, academics, trade union and media names including French finance minister Pierre Moscovici.

Said S&D Group leader Hannes Swoboda during the press conference today:

"The EU and the troikas (the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank) have set themselves up as an austerity watchdog and they are failing.

"We see more and more protests against the austerity imposed on Europe. We need to see alternative policies in place, focusing on growth and social inclusion. The European Commission has just started to adapt its strategy and the International Monetary Fund has also announced a change of direction.

"We should not stop the economic reforms but we have to implement them in a way that is socially responsible and acceptable for our citizens, bringing back hope for the future. The process of reducing deficits and debts must be slower to be more effective.

"We need a socially responsible Europe. We need to invest in growth, education and fighting soaring unemployment or citizens will turn their back on Europe."

The Socialists and Democrats strongly believe that all EU countries should be committed to reducing public debts and deficits but that the EU needs a better balance to stimulate growth and create jobs.

A more balanced approach to consolidation, in line with European rules, would free €80 billion in 2013 alone for policies to enhance growth and create employment, saving thousands of jobs.
These figures are based on an independent report commissioned by the S&D Group and published by three major economic institutes, the French Economic Observatory (OFCE) (Paris), the Macroeconomic Policy Institute (IMK) (Düsseldorf) and the Economic Council of the Labour Movement (ECLM) ( Copenhagen ).

As well as French finance minister Pierre Moscovici, other guests included Luxembourgish employment minister Nicolas Schmit, OECD deputy secretary-general and chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan, world-renowned economists Professor James K. Galbraith from the United-States, Professor Jean-Paul Fitoussi from Paris and the Professor Dr. Gustav Horn from Germany, and Members of the European Parliament from the S&D Group.

In the afternoon, the president of the S&D Group Hannes Swoboda will chair a debate exploring the ways progressive voices can win the battle of ideas currently in discussion within the economic and social fields. Political leaders including Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, secretary general of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the former President of the PES and former Prime Minister of Denmark, will be members of the panel. The debate will be livestreamed at www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu from 14h30-18h00.

On the occasion of the conference, the S&D Group in the European Parliament and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) have officially launched 'The Initiative for a Progressive Economy'. It aims at generating a truly public and informed debate on economic policy at European, national, and global levels.

More information is available here: www.progressiveeconomy.eu
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