Merkel Announces ‘Growth Agenda’ for the EU
May 2nd, 2012
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced at the weekend, the drafting of a “growth agenda” for the European Union, which should be ready for the Summit of the EU Heads of State and Government in June.
In remarks published on Saturday in the newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung, Merkel cited the “strengthening of the capabilities of the European Investment Bank” among other measures to promote growth in the EU, and stressed that several European Councils have already addressed the issue of growth, emphasising that “today countries can already, for example, take advantage of the flexibility of the structural funds to help SMEs.”
These statements expanded those made by the Chancellor on Friday in an interview on the NDR radio station in which she said that a fiscal pact for greater budgetary discipline in Europe can be achieved with a pact for growth.
“Growth should not necessarily cost money,” said Merkel, who hopes to address this issue at the EU summit. The Chancellor insisted, however, that without a solid financial policy, Europe will not be able to free itself from the debt crisis, but she recognises that the fiscal pact is insufficient to overcome this crisis.
“That is why it is necessary to develop, in parallel, a policy that promotes growth and employment, to return competitiveness to the Member States, but not growth based on credit,” she explained.
After commenting that new short-term state programs will not help Europe, Merkel reiterated her opposition to the initiative of the socialist candidate for the French presidency, François Hollande, to renegotiate the fiscal pact.
“There will be no new fiscal pact negotiations. Twenty-five heads of government have signed it. In Portugal and Greece it has already been ratified and in Ireland it will be subject to a referendum at the end of May. In many member countries, as well as in Germany, the fiscal pact is already in the parliaments,” she said.
Despite that, Merkel said that it is part of her political responsibility “to cooperate well” with any French president.
Meanwhile, El Mundo reported that the Social Democrat opposition has demanded new aid for crisis-hit countries such as Spain, where the savings policy is good but insufficient to solve its economic problems, according to the SPD parliamentary organisation secretary, Thomas Oppermann.
“Angela Merkel is the only one in Europe that does not seem to have understood,” says Oppermann in remarks published in the newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, and in which he demanded a master plan to boost growth in countries like Spain.
“Only in this way can they recover and pay the state debts on their own”, said the German Social Democrat politician, who emphasised that if Merkel does not acknowledge this fact, the German taxpayer will ultimately end up paying the price.
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