Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday Europe needs a new progressive agenda that will focus on growth and lowering unemployment, following a summit of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in Paris, where he was invited as an observer.
“I think Europe is at a crossroads and it is necessary to put a progressive agenda on the table, an alternative agenda, and especially to focus on growth, and try to find a way to tackle unemployment. This is the most important issue for me,” Tsipras told journalists.
“We decided today to coordinate efforts and to cooperate in order to have a common position in Bratislava. I believe that Brexit was the alarm, Europe and European governments have to wake up because we’re going in the wrong direction, so it is necessary to put a growth agenda on the table to end austerity and unemployment. I believe today we put the basis in order to try to have more coordinated actions between the progressive forces and governments in Europe.”
Summing up the four points he made in his intervention, he argued that since Europe cannot fully abolish the Stability Pact “which is one of the causes of the crisis,” it must gradually review it by correcting some parts or adding some exceptions.
He also proposed doubling the European funds available through the Juncker package and funneling those funds as a priority to the countries that have a low GDP and have suffered most from the economic downturn. “Which means transferring funds from the center to the periphery, from north to south,” he said.
Tsipars also asked to propose exceptions to this strict fiscal framework, such as excluding costs on growth and public investments, as well as any expenditure on supporting employment and tackling unemployment.
A final proposal concerned setting up a forum of dialog between the social democrats and the Left in Europe to discuss European integration, political unification and ways to exit from the crisis.