Invest more at EU level to counter crises, says Financial Crisis Committee

Shifting policy making and spending in cross-border areas such as energy and transport from national to EU level would improve investment returns and cut costs by generating economies of scale. It would also give an urgently-needed boost to EU competitiveness, says a draft resolution voted by the Financial Crisis Committee on Monday. The committee’s final report also proposes introducing Euro-bonds and a financial transaction tax.

“Tackling the public debt crisis and increasing the EU’s competitiveness, convergence and solidarity require a shift of competences and spending towards the Union”, stresses the committee’s non-legislative final report on the financial, economic and social crisis, as drafted by Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR), and approved with 32 votes in favour, 9 against and 2 abstentions.

This shift in policy making would be accompanied by a proposed increase in the EU budget beyond 2020 - to 5-10% of EU GDP - which should come partly from fresh own resources, but also from shifting a larger share of the EU Member States’ spending to EU level, in order to fund investment in, inter alia, energy, transport and R&D. These plans should create added value for citizens without increasing their tax burden, add MEPs.

Parliament’s special committee on the next long-term budget, the Policy Challenges Committee, last week voted for an increase in the EU budget after 2013 of at least 5% over the 2013 level (i.e. 1.11% of GDP), for the next long-term budget. This figure will be put to a plenary vote in Strasbourg next week and, if approved, will become Parliament’s input to the Commission proposal.

Eurobonds, European Treasury and financial transaction tax

Crisis committee MEPs stress that both EMU and the single market need a stronger co-ordination of national tax policies, and call on the Commission “to carry out an investigation into a future system of Eurobonds”. They also ask it to develop the concept of a European Treasury, and point out that revenues from a financial transaction tax “could be used in part for financing the Millennium Development Goals” and to meet climate change commitments.

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