21st Feb 2019

European socialists adopt 2009 manifesto

European Socialists (PES) have opted for a green discourse in the run up to the 2009 EU elections, when they aim win more votes than the conservative European People's Party (EPP), the party's manifesto has revealed.

Relaunching the European economy by focusing on "smart green growth" plays a central role in the PES manifesto, People First, adopted at a party council meeting in Madrid on Monday (1 December).

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  • European socialist party leader Poul Nyrup Rasmussen hopes for a revival of the left in the 2009 elections. (Photo: PES)

"We propose a European strategy for smart green growth and jobs that will create 10 million new jobs by 2020 – with two million in the renewable energies sector alone – and help make Europe a world leader in innovation, new green technologies and products", the manifesto reads.

Concrete proposals included "a more competitive and affordable high-speed rail network between major European cities and regions," as well as "an integrated airspace to shorten flying times" and "making maritime and inland waterway transport cleaner, more efficient and safer for workers and passengers."

One new job creating sector, in the PES view, could be the insulation of buildings as part of EU's energy efficiency strategy.

"We propose active co-operation between the EU, governments, regional and local authorities to help people cope with rising fuel prices by reducing their energy consumption, funding energy efficiency improvements in homes, and ensuring that energy companies' pricing and customer policies are fair and responsible," the document reads.

The Socialists also call for an European initiative "to expand energy and broadband infrastructure for the purposes of economic modernisation" and for EU support from the globalisation fund for businesses who "anticipate changes caused by climate change and technological shifts," by helping workers retrain if they lose their jobs as a result of these changes.

"The European budget should be refocused on smart green growth and meeting future challenges. Because it is a budget of solidarity, it should serve to improve living standards and foster social cohesion and growth throughout Europe as well as supporting convergence of the least-developed EU regions, not least in the new member states," the Socialists said.

Obama-style campaigning against the EPP

Echoing the US Democratic campaign, in which the now president-elect Barack Obama used "change" as his key messag, the European Socialists also want to portray themselves as "a force for change," and denounce the conservative leadership that has dominated EU institutions and national governments over the past five years.

The PES formed the largest group in the European Parliament from 1994-1999, but has since fallen behind the center-right EPP, which currently holds 215 seats compared to the EPP's 285.

"Conservatives have pursued a policy of blind faith in the market and we are now seeing the damage that badly regulated markets can do. But we know we can do something about this. We can relaunch Europe's economy," the socialists said, promising to work "for a fairer, safer and greener Europe."

PES also took on the EPP rivals for having "played on the fear factor" in terms of migration policies, instead of offering "humane answers to the challenges of legal and illegal immigration."

"Climate change will also provoke new migration from the poorest affected regions, which we must address," the Socialists note, saying asylum is a fundamental human right that requires a fair and firm system.

The PES supports the free movement of labour, as long as it does not lead to a "brain drain from less prosperous regions" and "reduced social standards or wage cuts designed to give one member state a competitive advantage over others at the expense of workers."

Abolish tax havens

In terms of responding to the current financial and economic crisis, the Socialists propose comprehensive regulation of all financial players, new standards for transparency and disclosure as well as "rigorous capital requirements" and limits on excessive borrowing and bad loans.

"Limits are also needed on top executive pay and bonuses, notably so that earnings reflect losses as well as profits. New rules are needed to prevent conflicts of interest," the manifesto reads.

"We propose to put an end to tax havens, tax avoidance scams and tax evasion, and step up the fight against money laundering in the European Union and globally so that all market actors pay their fair share of tax to the countries in which they operate."

The PES also called for an improved European system of supervision by imposing obligations to disclose asset and regulatory structures and to inform investors about risks, the limitation of excess debt financing and restrictions on investments.


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