Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-03-26-Speech-3-034"

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"Mr President, I would like to turn to Mr Karas and ask him to convey the European Parliament's greetings to the schoolgirl whom he mentioned. Based on what you have told us about her critical thinking, it seems to me that she could go a long way in politics for obviously her mind has not yet been clouded by the endless procession of unvarying texts that are submitted to us, with no follow-up – none at all – in terms of practical policy implementation. In relation to the European Council's resolution on the core topics of the Lisbon Strategy, on economic and social policy, I have asked myself how this text can take us forward, how what it says will make any difference tomorrow compared with previous years and whether it responds appropriately to the economic situation that we have identified. The answer is: it does not! If we look at the situation from a straightforward economic perspective, we have a recession or at least stagnation in the US. We have weakening growth in Asia and no identifiable actor who could take over as a driving force. We are about to experience hard knocks in the European Union: no longer the 3% growth that we have been aiming for, nor even 2.9% growth, but 1.3% or 1.6%, perhaps 1.8% if all goes well. That means that with the productivity trends that are likely, unemployment will increase again in most countries. If I look at this text – which has been prepared by the Commission services, Mr Barroso, in such a way that there is nothing new in the Council's resolutions – I want to know what the alternative is. Where is the engine for our economy? Can we do this in Europe? Can we offer ourselves some kind of perspective? The answer is, yes, we could, because the workers in Europe can do so, because business can do so, because the SMEs are waiting for some kind of 'kick-start' mechanism from politicians. However, there is no political leadership to bring this about. There are no adjustment mechanisms. A decent vehicle has an engine to propel it, but what you are offering us has an empty space where the engine should be, nothing but an empty space. You make no connection with public investment and raising the level of private investment, and you seem to lack any connection with the workers and their demands, workers who – at least in most European countries, the core countries that have been the bedrock of economic growth – are suffering from the lack of any margin of distribution. There is not a word about minimum wages and not a word about social rights being integral to any market economic activity, so that we could move towards prosperity for everyone. I think this a missed opportunity for the Lisbon Strategy and I hope that together we can remedy this situation. It is surely no coincidence that as Mr Schulz has already pointed out, none of Parliament's documents were submitted to the European Council."@en1

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