Despite the supposed commitment to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the Annual Growth Survey focuses only on growth-enhancing initiatives and the need for fiscal consolidation, pressurizing Member States to reduce public deficits quickly and keep down wages, with no consideration for how these measures will increase poverty, social exclusion and widen the inequality gap.
“EAPN is dismayed at the narrow approach taken in the Growth Survey. Nowhere in this document is there a mention of an integrated approach to ensure inclusive growth. It’s not possible to focus on growth only, then tag on the other elements afterwards. This will just repeat the failures of the previous Lisbon Strategy. We need an integrated approach committed to social cohesion right from the start”, said Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN. “The approach to fiscal constraint pressurizing Member States to carry out austerity cuts and reduce wages, will increase poverty and dangerously weaken the EU’s social cohesion, at a time when it most needs it”.
EAPN is also confused by the inconsistencies between the Growth Survey and the Annual Progress Report and Employment Report.
“’It seems strange that the Progress Report can emphasize, in its section on inclusive growth, that “there can be no sustainable growth unless its benefits accrue to all”. It recognizes the problems of growing inequality and the relevance of ensuring that “growth and social cohesion go together”, when the main document focuses on Growth first. We call on the Commission to deliver on its promises of a consistent, integrated strategy from the start!” said Ludo Horemans, President of EAPN.
EAPN will be carrying out a full assessment of these proposals.
- Read here the press release in PDF.
(1) The European semester is a six-month period every year during which the Member States’ budgetary and structural policies will be reviewed to detect any inconsistencies and emerging imbalances. The aim is to reinforce coordination while major budgetary decisions are still under preparation. This new governance cycle will therefore drive the new European strategy, the ‘Europe 2020 Strategy’.