The Nation (30 January 2012)

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Australia and Indonesia working together towards education for all. Australia-European Union Ministerial Consultations. They have been able to prevent a few serious mistakes from being made. This will allow us to work together to prevent the mistake that has been made with this Treaty from becoming the general rule. If it is ever accepted and comes into force, it must remain an exception. A strong voice will enable Parliament to be heard more clearly in future.

Please also take note of the fact that labour market policy is the responsibility of the Member States and that imposing sanctions in areas where companies have to hire people definitely does not make sense but simply aggravates the situation. Please also take note of the fact that the citizens of France will elect their own president. The citizens will elect their president and it is quite clear who they will choose. In answer to the other question, I would like to make it quite clear to you that, for me and for my group, youth unemployment is a European issue.

We cannot tolerate it. Youth unemployment levels are so high because too much trust has been placed in market forces and no one has thought about the fact that sometimes active measures need to be taken. Look at the countries with low unemployment rates. I invite you to pay a visit to Austria. It is disgraceful that young people are beginning their working life with unemployment and we must not tolerate it. Seven pages of words and seven pages of good intentions.

I think what we need now in the middle of this crisis is not seven pages of words, but acts — acts of the European Union and acts of the European institutions. Let me give you just three examples. The first is the European patent. It is a major instrument for growth in Europe, but, for more than a year now, its introduction — which is so needed — has been blocked. Why is it blocked? Because, for the moment, the big countries cannot agree on the seat: that is the reality in Europe for the moment.

On the seat! This is completely ridiculous and I should say even tragic, because, in the mean time, our small and medium enterprises are paying eight times more for the protection of their innovations than their American counterparts do. I think it is a shame to have a Council summit about growth but not to be capable of definitely launching the European patent in Europe. Let me give a second example of this, namely the project bonds. How many times have we already discussed the project bonds in this Parliament?

We have been discussing them for years. My question is: why do we not start tomorrow with project bonds in the European Union? Why is it necessary to wait for two years of discussion inside the Council and inside other institutions? Let me give a third example of this, namely the enormous amount of unused money in the structural and other European funds. We could change the regulation immediately. You know what the problem is — if you put in one euro from the structural funds, you also need one euro from the country in question, and these countries, for example Greece and Portugal, cannot do this at the moment.

So why is it not possible immediately to change the regulation and immediately to use this unused, unspent money for countries in recession, such as Portugal and Greece? That is what we need today — acts and not words, not the seven pages we have seen up to now. Finally, I think another problem we have today is the existential problem that we have in this euro crisis. We have now secured a new treaty. We now have fiscal discipline — let us be honest, a six-pack, a two-pack, a new treaty — but how will we now deal with the high interest rates we still have, even after the intervention of the European Central Bank, in countries such as Spain and Italy?

The reason for this is that we always take half measures. We need a structural solution to this crisis. In my opinion a structural solution means a mutualisation of a part of the debt in a disciplined way. That is the proposal of the five wise German economists: to create a redemption fund. Let us be clear. My conclusion is a message to the German taxpayers. If the solution we opt for is a redemption fund, it will be the bond holders who receive lower interest rates: they are the solution to the crisis, and not the German taxpayers.

So my message today to all of you is: let us take up that proposal of a redemption fund and let us in our legislative work bring it about as fast as possible. However, when I look at what really happened, my evaluation of it is completely different. What did happen? We have a Treaty which is still being drafted and we will have to wait and see where it ends up. This is a Treaty which aims to ensure that existing European Union Treaties are complied with, but is positioned outside those Treaties. This new Treaty which lies outside the other treaties has succeeded in completely marginalising democracy.

I believe that you are much wiser in political terms than the speeches that you have given today about this most recent informal summit and its results might indicate. I would like to say to you that I think this whole thing is a political charade. I do not believe that the citizens of Europe will be very happy about this.

I believe that the citizens are increasingly realising that the charade which took place during the Summit is intended to deceive them. What is the biggest problem? In my opinion, the biggest difficulty is the analysis that lies behind the Fiscal Compact Treaty which cites public debt as being the major problem in the crisis.

However hard I try to understand this interpretation of the crisis, I cannot come to the same conclusion. Nevertheless, the fact that we are still only arguing about the restructuring of public budgets has been making the crisis worse over a period of years. Therefore, the subject that should really have been debated is the programme to combat recession in the countries which are in crisis.

Where is it? You have been talking today once again about jobs and growth, but, as far as I can see, only passing mention was made of this whole subject at the Summit. I am still able to read and do sums. Where is the money to back up the announcements and promises that you have made, which are sheer invention? I do not know where it is. Ladies and gentlemen, if we take a look at Greece and at Portugal, we must all be aware of the risk of infection. What does Greece need now? An austerity commissioner? Another instrument of torture, thought up by European technocrats who have already put in place a technical government, with a financial expert at its head, and now an austerity commissioner?

In my opinion, what the Greeks need is an honest analysis at last and an honest commitment to a better future. A programme to combat recession is urgently required. We know that the programmes in the areas of general infrastructure and energy infrastructure had already been completed and we could have introduced them. There were European companies who would have invested in Greece. We are talking about an austerity commissioner instead of discussing with the Greeks what the Greece of tomorrow will look like and instead of giving the Greeks some encouragement. I thought that it was a particularly low point when Greece was discussed as some sort of side issue.

I would like to make one final point. We need to have a private talk about how the countries which have not yet joined the euro are being treated. How can you justify this? His political background is quite different to mine. For me a masterpiece is something quite different. As a fiscal conservative myself, I should be delighted that we are enshrining fiscal discipline and balanced budgets within national laws and constitutions.

We are making socialism illegal. This pact is effectively rendering all elections null and void across much of Europe. Let me say this. As a free market conservative myself who finds much to admire in the German model of fiscal and monetary discipline, we cannot impose our vision by force of law; we must also use force of argument. We need to show that austerity is not forever, that there is light at the end of a tunnel but, as long as we cut off the possibility of a Member State leaving the euro, then we block that tunnel.

We condemn many countries to years of deflation, of poverty and of emigration, with no end in sight. Recovery will not come to many of the countries in southern Europe, in my view, until they are free to reissue their own currencies and to price their way back into the market.

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Nor of course can we preach austerity to them unless we practise it ourselves. Imagine how a European summit — with its banquets, its motorcycle outriders, the armies of hangers on — must look to a public sector worker who is facing redundancy because of government cutbacks. Imagine how taxpayers in our home countries feel when every pound or euro saved in domestic spending is swallowed up by higher contributions to the EU budget. My group makes no apologies for being single-minded about the single market.

We will continue to pursue this agenda of creating the single market, of further extending services and reviewing procurement rules to encourage innovation. We will continue to push for better implementation of existing single market rules. And of course opening the single market would be pointless unless we continue to open our markets to the rest of the world; the parts of the world, that is, where there is still growth happening. But many of these actions are in the medium and the long term. There is one action, however, that we could take right here right now to show businesses our commitment to growth.

Surely one of the best ways for the EU to speed up growth is to scrap the Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs in the Commission and repatriate its responsibilities to national governments. Then we could scrap the Working Time Directive, the Agency Workers Directive, the Pregnant Workers Directive and all of the other barriers to actually employing people if we really want to create jobs in Europe.

We cannot create those jobs by talking about them; by passing resolutions. In fact, we Eurocrats and MEPs cannot actually create any jobs at all.

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What we can do is get out of the way and allow entrepreneurs to invent things, to make things and to sell things. That is where employment growth comes from and it is also where social security comes from. It was supposed to make Europe the most dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by Only radical measures to prevent speculation on the markets will be able to put a definitive stop to the crisis. Instead of this, with the adoption of the Fiscal Compact Treaty we are seeing a further increase in the one-sided focus on austerity policy and the destruction of social cohesion.

My group is strongly opposed to this radical approach of debt reduction and cuts in public budgets. It has even been criticised by the International Monetary Fund. The financial guru George Soros says that this austerity policy has thrown Europe into a deflationary spiral of debt. The debt brake was laid down in the Treaty of Maastricht and its adoption in national law is now intended to force its implementation. If that does not happen, the Member States are to be penalised with the help of the Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union. That is absurd, and it is also undemocratic, as the Member States will lose their most important right: their budgetary sovereignty.

Furthermore, it is totally unacceptable for the aid that is used to show solidarity with Member States which are in difficulty to be made conditional on signing up to the Fiscal Compact Treaty. This sacrifices the most important fundamental principle of the European Union on the altar of the financial markets. The Left will work to bring about a reversal of this disastrous policy. We need a pact for sustainable growth and employment. We need public programmes for investment in the environment and education and, above all, we need the European Parliament and the citizens to have a say.

The Treaty must be approved by referendum or by public consultation. David Cameron had you worried for a bit, you even thought he was a Eurosceptic, but it is OK. You have had a quiet word with him and the real David Cameron is back. Whatever happened to the veto? No more vetoes any more.

Indeed, Mr Cameron is now actively supporting this quite despicable pact, this plan to destroy and humiliate nation states that do not live up to a Germanic view of how economies ought to be run. Even this EU, I thought, could not possibly sink to those depths — but of course it was just a negotiating position and what we now have for Greece is diplomacy at gunpoint.

It is the kind of strategy that Palmerston used against Athens back in the 19th century. Nobody can deny today that Greece is no more than a colony. And this is all a terrible, huge mistake. Greece is not a failing subsidiary company where head office needs to come in and take control. Greece is a nation with a soul, a nation with pride, with history — goodness me, they invented democracy in the first place. They are suffering. You are causing the misery in these countries and you blather on about creating jobs and growth.

None of this is actually going to happen. And remember, these people are being driven into humiliation and desperation. Desperate people do desperate things, and I am deeply fearful for what will happen in Greece if we continue with this mad course. It would appear that he is promising to refrain from doing something that he cannot completely prevent and in some areas would not need to prevent.

Article 8 of the draft agreement states that it will use Article of the TFEU to enforce the agreement. However, whilst it can adjudicate on such agreements, it probably does not have the power to fine Member States for not complying with them. Furthermore, its jurisdiction does not extend to adjudicating on excessive budget deficits. Article 8 of the draft agreement does say that the Commission can initiate any action, but I am afraid that the draft agreement is not a treaty and so cannot grant that power.

Article of the Treaty refers only to disputes between Member States and not to disputes with the Commission.


It would appear therefore that the Commission does not have the power to initiate any action. In fact, it would appear that the Commission will have no role in this draft agreement at all. The Court of Justice will be able to say whether or not a country has broken the agreement but it will not be able to compel an erring country to obey.

If euro area countries want an agreement that can be enforced, they will need a new treaty which will have to be agreed unanimously. In my view it would be disastrous for Britain to agree to such a mechanism because it might be used today to enslave euro area countries but one day it will be used to enslave us. He spoke here of Gauleiter. I would therefore like an apology from this gentleman. No one in Berlin is employing Gauleiter anywhere in Europe.

He is inciting hatred in the European Parliament, hatred between the peoples of Europe. He should take that back, or you should ensure that he does not say anything like that again. If you want to talk about hatred, just look at what this European project is doing. We have German newspapers slagging off the Italians for being cowards, slagging off the Greeks for being lazy and useless, and we have Italian and Greek newspapers depicting leading figures in Germany wearing Nazi uniforms.

Surely the whole point is that this project that was designed to bring us all together in peace and harmony is actually ripping us apart and bringing back nationalisms. And if there was one country I really had a go at in my speech, it was actually the United Kingdom because I admitted the way we behaved towards Greece in the 19th century was not acceptable.

As far as I know, you are also among this group. Elmar Brok PPE. Secondly, I have to say that we did not want this Treaty. We wanted a Community-based Treaty. However, this was not possible on account of the position of the United Kingdom, because it imposed the condition that we must not regulate the financial markets. We want to regulate the financial markets so that this casino does not destroy us, and that is why we had to reject the demands of the United Kingdom. The language of the past is now coming from certain circles.

This Treaty makes the debt brake, the reverse qualified majority and the Court of Justice of the European Union possible. These are not possible with the current Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However, we ought to ensure that everything else falls within the framework of Community legislation, and we have managed this with a great deal of support. Greece and other countries need a light at the end of the tunnel. In reality, citizens need to see that the dredgers are operating and working for the future. We need fiscal discipline.

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We need structural changes in these countries in order to remove barriers to competition — these are mostly to do with national legislation. However, we also need to utilise the possibilities afforded by European instruments. We need to help Greece to take control of its administration so that it can generate growth.

That is what it is all about. These are the three pillars. If we forget discipline we will destroy the future of subsequent generations. That, too, needs to be viewed in this context. The Community method and the rights of the European Parliament are being maintained here.


Everyone is trying to put his house in order, and on this basis we will provide assistance. That is what this strategy is all about. We should give this our support. That was the negotiation prize, so to speak. Barry Madlener NI , Blue-card question. Furthermore, does he think it normal that Eurobonds may potentially be introduced without allowing your countrymen, the Germans, or the Dutch to vote or to choose whether that is what they want? It is clear that the boundary of what can be done within the limits of democracy has been exceeded.

If we accept rules, sign treaties and lay down legislation, we must ensure that these are applied. That is all we are talking about. Secondly, all the measures that are now being decided on will only be taken as a result of decisions by the national parliaments, the parliaments in Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, but not the United Kingdom, because it is not involved in the solidarity measures for Greece.

I believe, for that reason, we could only have such a Commissioner for austerity if there were a common set of rules with a legal basis which applied to all countries that did not comply with the rules. I therefore strongly reject the idea — and that is the position of the German Government — that there can be no special solution for Greece in this regard. That is exactly what my group has been calling for since the start of the crisis. The problem is that you have already made the choice of a dumb , rather than a smart , approach to fiscal consolidation.

That dumb approach is embodied in the so-called six-pack and it is made even worse by this new international treaty. If you really want to be smart, you can do much more. The Council could join this Parliament in seeking to put in place a real system of Eurobonds that would lower our interest rates on public debt and create room for manoeuvre for new investment.

That would be smart. I would like to thank him for putting so clearly on the record the Conservative position. The other issue that has made the top of the agenda is the crisis for youth, but it is more than the fact that we just have devastatingly high numbers of young jobless. The ECB liquidity operations may have lifted the mood, but we should not be deceived. Potentially 2 trillion plus being sucked up by the banking system by next June should tell us that some kind of transfer already is going on. The question is: will this generation face up to it or foist it, along with joblessness, on to the younger generation?

And for those who try to lay the blame on the EBA for its bank stress tests, I would like to remind Member States that the deal was a combination of stress tests and firewall, and it is the constant delay in the firewalls that has made matters worse — among, of course, a few other delays. In fact it comes 10 years too late. A monetary union needs budgetary underpinning, without which it will crumble.

But the long-term objective does not solve short-term problems. Greece will not recover in the euro area, Portugal is a cliff-hanger, and Italy, Spain and France lost their competitiveness years ago, partly because of the euro. Transfers will not cure the loss of competitiveness.

Nor will increased taxation, as Mr Sarkozy thinks. Every time he appears on television he proposes a new tax. Now we also have a Brussels-based budget tsar. It was truly unbelievable. If there are countries that have problems with their economy, impose a fine on them and — hey presto — that will solve the problem! Why could we not have thought of this a little sooner? It is so simple and so effective. Why not use this method to solve other problems?

For example, a country that has far too high a rate of unemployment could simply receive a fine. Or what about a country that has too many poor people, what should we do about that? Combat poverty with fines!

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The Heads of State or Government did not want to go that far, however. Millions of people in the EU are poor and out of work. I am sorry, but is this not a very blinkered economic policy? I am very well aware that the summit was met with a general strike by Belgian workers. This is something we will see more and more often if this policy continues. Niki Tzavela EFD. My question to you is this: is what we have witnessed here today a sign that we are indeed moving towards a single Europe.

Have you ever seen an officer from Michigan attack over-indebted California, as various high-profile European citizens are doing? Basically, I believe that we are doing all we can to deconstruct the European construct with criticism, comments, stupid proposals and a lack of discernment which is imposing policies on countries and hence on people, on their citizens.

We are witnessing procedures to circumvent democracy and democratic procedures and we are witnessing procedures to circumvent the laws of the International Labour Organisation. As a Greek, I accept any constructive criticism of what my country has done and is doing.

Address to the Federal Assembly

However, I believe that the whole of Europe is hiding behind one small country, Greece, as if Greece alone had all the problems from the crisis, as if we had built the euro on the right basis and as if no one had made any mistakes. As long as we have problems in Greece, we will have problems in Europe. We call on all of you to stop focussing on Greece, because we will do our job and we call on our German colleagues, because a divide is already emerging which has a name and a face: the face of Germany. I am concerned and very fearful about what is happening.

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We all need to join forces if we are to make progress. Barry Madlener NI. Once again, nothing was decided.

go to link Vague plans were forged to limit youth unemployment in the euro area, while Greece was not even on the agenda. You know that, I know that and all independent economists know it too. Then we have budgetary discipline — seemingly the magic word for It does not even make a difference, given the fact that Portuguese interest rates yesterday rose to a record high. The markets do not believe in it. It is like asking whether water can burn.

In southern Europe, we will soon have a situation where more than half of unders are jobless. Instead of that, the EU is providing us with a nightmare. We would have liked to have been able to inspect the approved new text, but apparently it will only be divulged when this Treaty is signed by the European Council. Congratulations on your election.

Herbert Reul PPE. I could have imagined better, but sometimes in politics there are times and situations when you have to try and achieve the best you can. You have to be satisfied with that and then continue to work, step by step. Incidentally, what we have now achieved is along the same lines as what we decided six months ago in connection with the six-pack. I really cannot understand all the agitation here. We wanted the Member States to be more careful with their spending.

We said that we need to pay attention to growth. We have now done that — although not in the form or the manner that we wanted, that is true. Then we see such a display here from the chairs of the large groups, who are playing the worst form of party politics. I have to say that to make such a show here at a time when Europe is experiencing such problems is utterly irresponsible. I am appalled. I am truly appalled at how people are dealing with this issue.

They say that we need to bring Europe together, hurling accusations at others in this regard, and then spread hatred and division here themselves. Thus, if I were to use the sort of language that many fellow Members here have used — and these were the chairs of political groups — then I would have to now sit back with a certain amount of humility and say that this is no way to treat each other and this is not the way to find a solution for Europe as a community. That is not the way to go about it.

When will the fiscal pact produce results, and in which countries will this fiscal pact also create stability? You also know very well that all of the decisions we take here always require a certain amount of time to be implemented. The same applies in this case, and you criticised the content, not the timeframe. You criticised the substance and the procedure that was adopted here on Monday. I find that hypocritical. I regret it because it is inefficient in its response to the market in the face of the crisis as it does not rebuild confidence.

We have seen the problems Greece and Portugal have had in the same period. We are seeing two countries, who are the greatest contributors to our budget, France and Germany, whose growth rates have been halved. We understand that it is the wording of this treaty which, normally, should have served to settle things and reassure everyone, including the people. However, in Parliament, we must realise that we have to be consistent.

We are elected by our voters; and our voters are the retired people who are in debt, the workers who marched through the streets of Brussels, the unemployed people waiting for work, and the young people who want to have a future. We cannot content ourselves with criticising a treaty which is based solely on fiscal discipline, on penalties, and which, even worse, introduces government by the judiciary to the detriment of the sovereignty of national parliaments.

We, the Members of the European Parliament, should rise up against this outcome and put forward proposals. I, for one, have proposals that I should like to put forward. This is not simply about criticising. This treaty must be renegotiated, on a basis which allows for true coordination of economic policies, including industrial projects to provide work for our factories and our workers, projects in the fields of energy and the environment, the creation of Eurobonds, which have regrettably been forgotten about or crossed off the agenda, and financial regulation.

We need justice, we need solidarity. That is what we must defend in Parliament. Mario Mauro PPE. Commissioner, the European strategy for growth is contained in those references in the Council results, which, as is appropriate, refer to proposals that the European Commission will be making. We wish to support the Commission in its efforts. Please therefore innovate the decision-making process, opening up not only downstream but also upstream of this process to the contribution of parliamentary committees.

By doing so, we will make the process not only more transparent but also more efficient. Please help us to make sure that this is fully understood by those Heads of State or Government tempted to give greater credence to the consensus of fickle public opinion than to the sense and beauty of the European project. This has been the case. There was a real risk that the new treaty would seriously undermine the law and the common European institutions, by establishing standards, mechanisms and procedures external to the Union and in contradiction with its laws.

That is no longer the case. Parliament, the Commission and the President of the European Council have averted this danger. Now the treaty will have to be implemented through EU legislation. The parameters for defining deficit and debt levels have been substantially, although not completely, brought back into the context of the current regulatory framework, and the dreadful possibility of having a new parliamentary institution has been averted.

But even though we have significantly limited the damage, the fiscal compact is not an adequate response to the crisis. There are still unacceptable and unwise aspects, such as the limitations on the presence of Parliament at Euro summits. Only if the proposals that Parliament put forward with one voice in its resolution — financial transactions tax, project bonds, stability bonds — are finally adopted, can Europe overcome a crisis that unidirectional fiscal discipline threatens to aggravate. That is because you are a group chair and were there in a dual capacity. Therefore, I would like once again to thank all of them most sincerely.

Let us not be mistaken. This treaty represents an important step in favour of greater economic and fiscal integration, and in favour of greater financial stability. Let us say it again. We cannot sustainably stimulate growth and employment without cleaning up our public finances. Of course, growth cannot be decreed; this is not a treaty which can stimulate growth on its own. However, a treaty, that is, a collection of rules and mutual commitments, can bring confidence and greater awareness of responsibilities.

Since the Chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament thought it appropriate to introduce politicking into this Chamber by alluding to the upcoming French presidential campaign and mentioning the socialist candidate to this French presidential election, I wanted to respond. We in the PPE Group consider the declarations made by the French socialist candidate, who stated that he wanted to renegotiate the treaty concluded by 25 Member States, completely irresponsible. Renegotiate what and with whom?

Such statements are totally irresponsible. They have little regard for the word of the French State and show no respect for its commitments. The Germans have election fever. So much for the question as to the extent to which the summit has helped to calm the economic situation, or the question of to what degree the new intergovernmental treaty has pacified activity on the market. If anyone asks himself where the disquiet is coming from, then perhaps the answer is from the economic data and from the feeling that what we have done is not enough.

I believe that this is a line that this House will be able to agree on, and we will be able to continue to develop a common economic policy. Our economic policies are facing credibility tests by financial markets and we have to act in a spirit of unity and solidarity with the Union and avoid unnecessary divisions. Those who are macro-financially healthier should provide credibility to those who are macro-financially weaker.

That leads me to two conclusions. First, we should share credibility via mutualisation of debt — being an added value added — in exchange for executable deficit and debt rigours. It would be another added value for the euro area, and it would be in its interest, as a rule, to allow those countries to join euro area summits. Unfortunately, it is above all dangerous. First and foremost, this is because it reinforces a prescription that does not work, with further punishments and stringent rules.

The spiral of recession has started.

Who could trust a doctor who cannot tell the difference between weight loss and anorexia? How many more countries have to go into recession for the Commission and the Council to realise that their diagnosis is wrong and, what is more, dangerous? Here we are representing the European public. There are Do the Council and the Commission not see that ignoring this fact and failing to give an adequate response reveal an insensitivity that is politically explosive? The great recession is not an inevitability, it is an ideological obsession.

There is an alternative, but this must take the form of action, rather than words. Where are the project bonds to finance European investment? Where is the tax on speculative financial products, aimed at strengthening the European budget? Where is the barrier that should be protecting countries from the ruinous interest rates imposed on them by the markets, leading to their ruin? Marietta Giannakou PPE. Four years after the start of the crisis, there is still no definite exit strategy for Europe as a whole. We should therefore accept that this is the solution, as all the other potential solutions will be worse for the strong Member States of the Union.

The recession alone will not throw up a solution to the problem in any country, especially not mine. Fiscal prudence and the austerity programme are absolutely necessary but, without growth, they are a no-win policy that will have disastrous consequences both on the countries to which they are applied and to Europe as a whole. However, we cannot evade the fact that the process of harmonising an unsuitably prepared intergovernmental pact with Community law has been underway since December.

Let us be frank: it is no coincidence that several Members believe that this new draft intergovernmental agreement is unnecessary and contains nothing new compared to the six-pack adopted earlier. Although I do not share their opinion, I find it extremely regrettable that this content could not be incorporated already into the six-pack. At the same time, I would like to stress that any agreement that facilitates common economic governance and urges common European action is an important one; not only on the level of words but also backed by deeds.

Still, I am not fully satisfied because common action cannot be realised, as on the one hand, the pact was unfortunately not signed by everyone, and on the other hand, Member States from outside the euro area will not be invited to both events of the summit. Of course all is well that ends well, and I am happy that the signing will bring the pact to a conclusion, and I hope that the time until the end of March will be sufficient to remedy any shortcomings.

The future belongs to young people and they are the main beneficiaries of everything that is being built today, good or bad. For this reason, it is imperative that we take measures to improve their situation, both at EU and individual Member State level.

I believe that a basic tool to achieve the objectives proposed in this regard is the cohesion policy. The national programming processes of the European funds for the period have now started. I strongly recommend the Commission and Member States to pay greater attention to youth and include in the structure of their national programmes well-financed axes, specially aimed at youth employment. I do not think that there is any point either in addressing them or in commenting on what they say. However, I do wish to address the rest of the House and to ask them to take time to consider with us where stereotypes, derisory attitudes and statements about a country and an entire nation being severely tested by the crisis will get us.

Gay Mitchell PPE. Mr Draghi said two weeks ago in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs that you can have fiscal rectitude without growth but you cannot have growth without fiscal rectitude. I support that. I think that is a fair definition, but please, more emphasis, more leadership, on growth. As part of this we surely need some new definition of what the market economy is meant to stand for. We are in a situation, it appears to me, where the private sector is regulating the public sector and there is very little accountability. Oligarchs seem to be in charge of certain parts of the markets, so please, let us have more attention to what the markets are doing to the public sector and to us as parliaments and governments, and let us do more to give leadership, to try and bring about growth and jobs.

On the one hand, I can appreciate that the majority of European decision-makers recognise the need for immediate action in order to handle the crisis, which I agree is no longer solely economic. On the other hand, I am convinced that our point of departure is not the proper one. Of course we cannot do without financial stability and strict rules but, in my opinion, the root of the problem is that there has not been enough attention paid to and emphasis on growth, employment and social inclusion.

Understandably, the majority of the conservative leaders were too preoccupied with the austerity measures, which was a big mistake. In addition, I am not convinced about the way in which the crisis is being handled. We should follow the Community method because we cannot let Europe diverge from what it represents — the foundation of European construction, a way of working together, irrespective of the differences between the Member States.

Apart from this, I underline an important point. The European Parliament is the only directly elected body among the institutions. Our President should fully participate in the Euro summits. Their major concern was the lack of customers, which is a feature of the recession, and in second place was the lack of credit; in other words, another dimension, another problem resulting from the crisis.

I therefore do not understand; I confess that I am completely unable to understand. Why are the governments insisting on reducing wages as a solution? Seriously, what is wrong? Is it the survey? What is wrong? Is it your proposals? Is it both? Please answer this question with more than just words. Jacek Protasiewicz, PPE. This is a fact. It was, nonetheless, a summit of sensible and good compromises. As with every compromise, not everyone is happy with it. However, we have been given an instrument thanks to which, by applying greater discipline to public finances, we can revive the economy of the members of the euro area, but also and most importantly we have managed to avoid the appearance of institutions and political decisions which would cause the rise of two unions in Europe.

Thank you. For it is biased to focus only on the deficit, and for the only stimulus to be the reallocation of resources which are entirely insufficient when it comes to fulfilling the objectives for stimulating growth and creating employment. It is also biased because it is side-stepping Parliament and, through an intergovernmental treaty, trying to avoid making the reform needed to turn the European Central Bank into what the European economy needs. This procedure was introduced — and I must ask the group chairs once again to consider this — so that we can allow Members to take the floor spontaneously at the end of the debate.

In reality, it seems that the catch-the-eye procedure is being used to try to introduce a second speaker list here in order to put pressure on the President to give certain people the floor. I will not do that. I will focus here on the spontaneity of Members and ask that, in future, at the end of a debate we actually give the floor spontaneously to those who are here and who ask to speak.