Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-02-15-Speech-2-317"

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"Mr President, Mr Andersson’s report contains a lot that is of interest. Unfortunately, what is most interesting is that the report, which purports to be concerned with a combined strategy for modernising social policy, instead proposes an extension of traditional social policy and more supranationalism in the social sphere. Social policy to be renewed in order to reduce unemployment in the Member States. Even though the socialists, now that there are so many social democratic governments, talk much less about unemployment than they used to, the unemployment in question is still high, and this in spite of the trade boom. Something must be done so that unemployment does not turn the so-called European model into a parody. Social policy must facilitate employment, creating incentives for employers and employees to, respectively, provide and accept jobs. Mr Andersson’s report demands social convergence, that is to say that systems should be increasingly standardised within and throughout the EU. The EU should apparently adopt what are called real convergence criteria, which would be binding and of real effect. Mr Andersson also wants to see efficient and ambitious tax coordination, that is to say supranationalism in the fiscal sphere. The EU should also, on the basis of a uniform definition of poverty thresholds table recommendations concerning what is called the minimum acceptable subsistence level in the Member States. The EU should devise guidelines governing the quality of the job opportunities which are to be created, whatever that may mean. It is certainly not going to be possible to reduce unemployment with all these additional regulations and forms of interference. Those structural problems which make unemployment higher in Europe than in the United States will become even greater. There is no need at all for supranationalism in this area. The Member States can devise their own systems in the social sphere, each within the framework of its economic resources and political preferences. It is most especially important not to create unnecessary problems before the enlargement of the EU. Mr Andersson thinks that the less wealthy Eastern countries should be reminded that social convergence is to apply to them too. It is obvious, however, that these countries, impoverished within a Communist economic system, cannot cope with a social policy like, for example, Sweden’s. Talk of minimum regulations and poverty thresholds is meaningless to the present Member States and unreasonable as far as less wealthy applicant States are concerned."@en1
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