Juncker’s message distorted in media reports

EC President is not asking for a new financial instrument, his press team explained

Concerning the different interpretations in various media reports claiming that President Juncker is “asking for” a European unemployment insurance, the European Commission disseminated a statement with clarification on the matter. This is a distortion of the message conveyed by President Juncker and based on cutting short the full answer he gave to this question in an interview with “Welt am Sonntag”, the statement reads. The interview was published in the German newspaper on 30 December last year and his replies were quoted a number of times in the media across Europe.

President Juncker is not asking for a new financial instrument, his press team explained noting that in fact, the European Commission in its proposal for the MFF has already proposed a shock-absorption mechanism to cope with asymmetrical, external shocks – this can also include a re-insurance for national unemployment insurance schemes.

The Commission gave as well the full verbatim of the question and answer.

 WELT AM SONNTAG: In southern Europe in particular, however, many people are demanding that the EU become more social. Would a European unemployment insurance scheme, for example, be a good idea?

Juncker: Even though I am very much in favour of a European unemployment insurance, this must not be a 'carte blanche' for countries that do not carry out reforms and find themselves in difficulties as a result. In our proposal for the medium-term financial planning, the Commission put forward two instruments: €25 billion for a reform support programme and €30 billion for a stabilisation function, a shock-absorption mechanism to cope with asymmetrical, external shocks – this can also include a re-insurance for national unemployment insurance schemes. This instrument could help to mitigate sudden economic crises in a particular country caused by external developments, and thus provide re-insurance at European level for national insurance systems. It is not right that a particular EU country has to reduce unemployment benefits because of rising jobless numbers in a crisis that is not of its making. It is important not to respond to crises with the wrong type of spending cuts, lowering investments, education spending and unemployment benefits.

The full text of the interview in German and English is available on the Welt am Sonntag website.

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