Sassoli: The choice for EU is to find new development model

We know that the neo-liberal model that pushed the Union into difficulties and imbalances must not have a role in this new phase

Photo: EP David Sassoli.

On the need for a new European model accented on Saturday during his speech to the inaugural session of the Italian Government’s consultation on a strategy for the economic recovery, European Parliament President David Sassoli.

In Brussels, the first phase of the pandemic prompted us to reflect on the need for a different Europe and we are in a new moment, which means taking choices that are very different from the past, he stressed. “Europeans recognise that this is not the usual European response. Instead the Union has brought about historic change in just a few weeks. Missing this moment would be a political error. Of course, there are still questions to be clarified, negotiations to be completed, and tough decisions to take, but a turning point has occurred”, he said.

He also pointed out that not only emergency measures are discussed, but “the coordinates of where we are heading have changed”. According to him that requires changing the guidelines that have governed Europe for the past 20 years. We know that the neo-liberal model that pushed the Union into difficulties and imbalances must not have a role in this new phase, he said explaining that this is “a political knot that must be grasped, if we are to truly start again”.

“It is clear that nobody can face this crisis alone, national interest requires European cohesion, unity, and solidarity. National governments must show great responsibility to ensure this money is used in the most effective way possible. The funds that arrive in national treasuries will be public and any loss or waste will not be admissible.

 The EP President underlined that it is the right time to establish a renewed public role in economic and industrial policy. It is not a question of taking models from the past but of protecting the most vulnerable in society and aligning national programs with European objectives, he urged.

He emphasised the need for structural reforms and direct support measures for people and gave an example with Spain that announced a minimum income to support its poorest citizens. "In his words the choice for the Union is to find a new development model, based on the Green economy, sustainability, and the digital transition. We want to be leaders in the fight against climate change. It is therefore essential that national recovery plans are aligned with this goal.”

In Europe, even in this period, we have seen first-hand how aggressive some countries' tax practices are, taking resources away from other countries and it is right to remedy this, he said adding that “Chancellor Merkel spoke about it recently and I expressed to her the support of the European Parliament”.

The EP President also stated: “The European Union is indicating the port to be reached, European governments are setting course and holding their hand firmly on the helm. Together we must build a new identity for our continent, as Hermann Hesse said, “pushing the roots deeper without shaking the branches”.

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