European Interest

Recovery plans should aim for sustainable, smart and inclusive growth

flickr/Universidad Pablo de Olavide/CC BY 2.0

Fiscal policies should include social objectives such as sustainable public investment and well-being, along with traditional macro-economic indicators, MEPs say.

In a resolution adopted on Wednesday by 347 votes in favour, 162 against and 191 abstentions, MEPs highlight that social policies are vital to economic recovery in Europe.

National recovery and resilience plans

Sustainable, smart and inclusive growth needs to ensure sustainable fiscal policy in the medium-term to achieve a long-lasting recovery from the crisis so that EU countries are better prepared for the green and digital transitions, MEPs say. These goals should also underpin member states’ national recovery and resilience plans (NRRPs) as well as the country-specific recommendations (CSRs) that contribute to social objectives.                    MEPs also demand a timely and rigorous implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) Action Plan and its three main targets to be achieved by 2030.

Fight Youth unemployment

MEPs are concerned about the serious social aspects of the COVID-19 crisis, especially for young people, and call on the Commission and EU countries to prioritise the fight against youth unemployment. They urge member states to make full use of financial instruments such as the Youth Guarantee.

Access to essential services and debt protection

MEPs also stress the need for specific proposals to address the growing problem of energy poverty and assess energy markets in order to avoid the negative effects of rising energy prices on SMEs, competitiveness and on households.                                                Finally, Parliament is concerned about an increase in debt due to the pandemic and its economic and social consequences. MEPs point out that the EU Recovery Facility can be used to invest in debt advisory and debt protection services.

“Placing sustainability, social inclusion and citizens’ well-being at the heart of the EU economic strategy is essential to ensure that Europe remains home to the world’s most advanced welfare systems, becomes the first climate-neutral continent and is a vibrant hub of innovation and competitive entrepreneurship”, says rapporteur Lina Gálvez Muñoz (S&D, ES).

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