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Sant wants less complaints on Brexit and Trump: ‘revise Eurozone rules’

Labour MP Alfred Sant: ‘Independently of Brexit and Trump, the rules set by the Stability and Growth Pact should be revised’

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella
23 November 2016, 9:29am
Former prime minister Alfred Sant has criticised European Semester rules which he said had not led to a stable, significant and sustainable recovery in Europe, and had failed to boost growth, significantly reduce unemployment and revive investments.

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, which discussed the Annual Growth Survey by the European Commission, the Labour MEP said that “independently of Brexit and Trump… what is urgently needed in Europe, is a recognition that the rules on investment, structural reforms and fiscal consolidation should be revised... these rules, which were defined in a period when the state of affairs was completely different to the current one, were instrumental in driving down public investment.”

The Annual Growth Survey sets out the general economic priorities for the EU and offers EU governments policy guidance for the following year.

“It is counterproductive to refer to Brexit and the Trump election as a sign of the times that justifies reconsideration of policies followed under European Semester rules. These rules were defined technically, even when sometimes, they were interpreted politically. They helped prevent a recurrence of 2008 but they have not led to a stable, significant and sustainable recovery in Europe. They failed technically and this is generating a political backlash,” Sant said.

The Maltese MEP said unemployment remains at historically high levels and economic growth anaemic. “Investment has not revived, in the public and private sectors. The rules embedded in the European semester process are the main contributors to this state of affairs. They were defined in a period when the situation was completely different to the one we are in. The benchmarks they set no longer fit our circumstances. Some of them were anyway set arbitrarily and have no logical or existential justification.”

Sant also criticised the rules as having been instrumental in driving down public investment.

“In turn, private investment which piggy backs on public investment was negatively affected. What is urgently needed in Europe, is a recognition that independently of Brexit and Trump, the rules set by the Stability and Growth Pact should be revised.”

matthew_vella
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.