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Vägen ur finanskrisen

De föreslagna åtgärderna som kommer att presenteras inom ramen för Lisbon Coordination Group (G36) syftar till att förutom lösa de mest akuta problemen också lägga grunden för en stabil och långsiktig tillväxt och för att skynda på Lisabonnstrategins mål om Europa som världens ledande kunskapsekonomi.

Förslagen innehåller bland annat åtgärder för att snabbt få igång kreditgivningen för att underlätta inte minst för små-och medelstora företag samt en liberalisering av telekom-, forsknings- och energisektorerna.

Läs förslaget i sin helhet nedan:

1. Notes that the global financial crisis, stemming from global macro economical unbalances and a worldwide credit crisis has inflicted serious damage in financial systems all over the world, including the EU. The global financial crisis heralded massive destruction of equity market capitalization all over the world and its negative effects on the ’real economies’ are far-reaching. Whereas financial markets are of a crucial importance to the ’real economy’ the first priority for growth and employment is to get capital to flow again, providing credits and financing to investments, which calls for reinstalled confidence and trust, through clear commitments and governmental guarantees as well as better implemented supervision, covering all financial markets in a global perspective, and regulations supporting responsible credits to the markets.

2. Stresses that financial markets are, and will remain at the core of functioning social market economies; they are meant to provide financing for the ’real economy’ and also to infuse efficiency in resource allocation; they are also meant to provide economies with the means to prosper, which in turn have made it possible for citizens to make sustained gains in their living standards in the past decades; underlines that fully reliable, efficient and transparent financial markets are prerequisites for a healthy economy and need to interplay with a strong, growth and jobs creating European economy;

3. Underlines the fact that investment and consumer purchases will be further put off, sparking a vicious cycle of falling demand, downsized business plans, reduced innovation, and job cuts and this will push the EU into a deep and longer-lasting recession: the economy contracting further next year, and unemployment could rise by several million people; underlines that a coordinated European position is now crucial to avoid that the response to the crisis becomes a sum of national plans for financial stability or for economic recovery, with potential conflicts and costs, undermining the Single Market, Economic and Monetary Union and weakening Europe as a global actor. is therefore of the opinion that Europe needs both, major fiscal stimulus, in the framework of the growth and stability pact and its rules of flexibility in order to restore trust and to boost supply and demand by infrastructural investments as well as lower wage costs, and opportunities for bussines life, not least SME´s to invest in new products and markets, among other energy efficiency and “green” technologies.

4. Stresses that the credit squeeze hit hardest the SME sector, since it is the part of the economy that relies most on short-term working capital, usually provided through credits. Lack of capital, coupled with a generalized slump in demand is forcing SMEs to retreat on all fronts. As the largest contributors to GDP and the largest employer in the EU, the current hardships of SMEs have far reaching consequences.

5. Points out that SMEs, which form the keystone of Europe’s economy, are particularly hard hit by the current economic downturn; stresses that the credit squeeze hit hardest the SME sector, since it is the part of the economy that relies most on short-term working capital, usually provided through credits. Lack of capital, coupled with a generalized slump in demand is forcing SMEs to retreat on all fronts. As the largest contributors to GDP and the largest employer in the EU, the current hardships of SMEs have far reaching consequences; Underlines the importance of a rapid implementation of the Small Business Act in general and especially provisions for credits to SME´s by actions from EIB.

6. Underlines that sufficient, affordable and reasonable secure access to finance is the pre-condition for investment and growth; believes that in the current economic climate the Small Business Act and its objectives are now more important than ever, as SMEs offer untapped potential for economic growth and for creating and sustaining jobs and provides opportunity for political leadership and to underpin confidence in Europe’s enterprise sector;

7. Underlines that the top priority must be to protect Europe’s citizens from the effects of the financial crisis; they are the first to be hit whether as workers, households, or as entrepreneurs; is of the opinion that many workers and their families are or will be hit by the crisis and action need to be taken to help stem the loss of jobs as well as then to help people return rapidly to the labour market, rather than face long-term unemploymentcalls for Social Funds to be used for retraining and increased employability;

8. Points out that for sustained growth, Europe needs a healthy, dynamic and skilled labour force. This is unfortunately undermined by negative population growth in most Member States. Europe must make sure to provide incentives for childbearing and to help families to grow. A developed child care, at the preconditions of families, facilitates for women as well as men to take part in working life as well as to raise families. Increasing women’s employment not only produces growth of the economy as a whole but also contributes to alleviating the demographic challenges that are facing Europe today. Solidarity between generations must be stimulated to gain more potential from existing labour force; points out that immigration is inevitable for the EU as it provides for new entrants into the labour force. Nonetheless, Member States must revamp their immigration policies, so as to attract immigrants that are fit for the demands of the European labour market., Education and research policies should be fine-tuned so as to attract foreign researchers and students, and thereby creating one of the crucial prerequisites for creating the worlds leading knowledge based economy.

9. Considers that, in terms of the issue of poverty in the EU, the most pressing concern is the rise in unemployment. The most efficient way of reducing and preventing poverty is through employment. Thus employment must be supported by actions for entrepreneurs, SME´s and investments, as well as initiatives meant to help people in re-entering the labour market. Whereas the principle of solidarity is at the base of the European construction, Community financing has to be made available to Member States in schemes aimed at preventing the excessive shedding of jobs and at the re-training of workers and the endowment with skills of non-skilled people. Labour regulation needs to be developed in order to achieve a higher degree of flexibility and security to getting a new job. Community financial instruments, such as the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund must be revamped so that they can be deployed efficiently and in timely manner, in the case of large sectors of the economy that are shedding jobs; welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to simplify criteria for the European Social Fund and refocus the activities towards the most vulnerable;

10. Is of the opinion that Europe has to follow a common goal: to safeguard employment and prevent mass unemployment; this goal should therefore determine the size and components of the European economic recovery plan; it also makes doing things together indispensable so that we can have the strongest possible impact on employment in Europe;

II. Citizens needs and necessary responses

11. Notes that in the current crisis there are a number of key-priorities of the Community Lisbon Programme whose implementation should be pursued by the European institutions with increased urgency: using national and EU competition, and sticking to the rules of completion legislation as well as consumer policies to make markets work better, bringing down prices for consumers and taking advantage of the Single Market, particularly in retailing and other services; frontload the implementation of the Small Business Act, in particular the rapid adoption and implementation of the Late Payment Directive and the Statute for Private Company; moving forward quickly with the implementation of the European Research Area and the ”fifth freedom” proposals to improve the free circulation of knowledge and innovation by boosting knowledge transfer within the triangle of education, research and innovation; and the adoption of the cost-effective Community patent and EU patent court, which would significantly improve competitiveness of European business, facilitate companies’ access to finance and stimulate innovation;

12. Notes that EU is still lagging behind the speed of innovations in the American economy, points out that innovation can provide for a speedy recovery of European economies by providing comparative advantage on global markets, calls for investments in research and science with the aim of reaching the goal of 3% of GDP, underlines that the EU budget must allow for a bigger share of spending to research… Increased investment in R&D, education enhances productivity and thus growth. Member States should increase, or at least meet their R&D investment targets and they should provide support for private sector R&D investments, through fiscal measures, loan guarantees. Education of adults also needs to remain a priority, as it increases productivity, while providing the necessary skills for entry into labour markets.

13. Points out that by the beginning of the 21st century tools of technology and telecommunications have unleashed the forces of globalization on a previously unimagined scale, they have “flattened” communications and labour markets and have contributed to a period of unprecedented innovation, making the economies more productive and connected the global citizens; therefore believes that by reforms that further open up the internal market in telecom, energy, research and services Europe can maximise the power of technology and strengthen the quality and affordability of its health care, advance climate-friendly energy development and deployment, improve education throughout its Member States, and promote that Europe becomes the world’s leader in technology;

III. Europe’s scope for action

14. Considers that all relevant parties – Parliament, the Council, the Commission, and the social partners at EU and national level – should work together to strengthen future working regards economic governance on the basis of the following suggestions:

a) As an essential component of the Lisbon Strategy and the central economic instrument, the Integrated Policy Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (IPGs) should, with the aim of a balanced ”policy-mix approach”, pursue mutually inspiring reforms and necessary crisis management in the areas of employment, environment and social security; they should recognise the potential of new and green technology as a cornerstone of economic growth coupled with a macro-economic policy mix in time of European economic recovery;

b) The Integrated Guidelines should establish a broad framework for closer economic policy coordination in order to align National Reform Programmes (NRPs) and national recovery plans, taking into account, however, economic diversity and differing national traditions; a regularly consultation of national parliaments regarding those main economic instruments should be established;

c)A stronger link between NRPs and the stability and convergence programmes should be established; the stability and convergence programmes and the NRPs could be presented at the same time (annually at the beginning of autumn) after a debate in the national parliament; the BEPGs could include common budgetary objectives in line with the preventive arm of the SGP;

d) A coordinated response at the EU level is needed more than ever before, based on a common understanding of the problems and common follow-up measures while accepting some national specificities; (Herczog)

15. Stresses that the” Lisbonization ”of public expenditure in all Member States and of the EU budget must become a reality, as it would mainstream the Lisbon Strategy itself and radically enhance effectiveness in the quest of achieving the goals of growth and job creation;

16. Strongly calls that ordinary working people must benefit first and foremost from government action because they are the base on which our entire economy stands; recovery plan should therefore have a strong social dimension focused on the lowest income groups: with lower income taxis and a clear policy for jobs, policies to keep mortgages available and affordable; support for the most vulnerable, such as pensioners; and active labour market policies to get people into new jobs with new skills; therefore European Council and Commission should invite Member States:

a) To invest in these infrastructures using redistribution mechanisms

b) To use Life long learning schemes and programmes at EU and national level towards investment in the social and health services sector to make it more attractive for potential workers;

c) Focus their attention, education and tax incentives on people with low skills and temporary contracts who are to be the most affected by the economic crisis and the first off the labour market

d) To monitor tax policy to ensure that recent developments are not detrimental to solidarity objectives

e) To ensure that the European Social Fund main funding scheme must be mainly directed towards social inclusion activities rather than solely labour market oriented projects and especially investments in rural areas;

f) To invest in developing the sector of personal services working in partnership with actors of the social economy and improving working conditions and qualifications systems

g) To set up an expert group to monitor and make proposals on the social impacts of the financial crisis, especially on social exclusion, poverty and pensions, alike the High Level Expert Group on EU financial supervision;

17. Considers with regard to Economic Governance that the current economic crisis requires firm, coordinated and timely government intervention by all Member States, as well as regulatory measures in order to shore up financial markets and restore confidence. It cannot be emphasized enough that government intervention, although a necessity at the moment can only be temporary. New supervisory measures need to be constructed on the principles of transparency and accountability standards and effective monitoring needs to be implemented so as to safeguard consumer’s rights. Controls need to keep up with financial innovations and Europe needs to enhance the know-how of its regulatory bodies in this respect. More regulation is not necessarily better regulation. It is imperative that Member States coordinate their regulatory actions. Stabilisation standards and regulation of the financial supervision in the Euro zone must be safeguarded.

18. Notes that European funding instruments provide considerable amounts to be used to support public spending. In order to contribute to the economic recovery of Europe, the implementation rate and speed of these funding instruments needs to be accelerated. The Cohesion Fund of the EU is an excellent instrument of territorial solidarity, especially the trans-border components of it, while instruments aimed at social issues provide for solidarity against poverty and exclusion.

19. Highly welcomes that the Commission has called for a High Level Group on deburocratization and asks that the proposals agreed by this Group are to be implemented as soon as possible; underlines that the Lisbon Strategy should provide for the reduction of regulatory burdens on companies, while furthering productivity and thus higher growth rates across the board; Europe must examine alternatives for regulation; consult with stakeholders on new regulation and to focus on the ratios between costs and benefits of regulation;

20. Calls on the Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal to exempt so called micro-entities from the scope of the Fourth Company Law Directive on annual accounts;

21. Urges that in the interest of boosting growth and jobs following actions should also been seen in this light:

a) National budgets should be reviewed to counteract the economic recession and to foster growth potential by investing in smart green growth. Making full use of the revised Stability and Growth Pact and, therefore, to assess the public deficit and debt in light of these two objectives. The coordination of macroeconomic policies should also be strengthened with this purpose; the Euro zone has a particular responsibility in this regard.

b) Selective tax incentives should have as their primary purpose to stimulate domestic demand in a socially fair and effective way.

c) In addition, the EU should consider the possibility of issuing European green bonds with zero loan interest rates in order to invest in smart and green investments which can increase Europe’s growth potential and create new jobs. The European Investment Bank should be invited to prepare this initiative.

d) Furthermore, the midterm-review of the Community budget should be stepped up to be geared towards the same policy goals.

e) The Lisbon National Reform Programmes and the Lisbon Community Programme should, in the current cycle, be swiftly reoriented towards smart green growth and jobs (notably promoting investments in renewals, energy efficiency, green housing, innovation and new skills for new jobs and personal care services) and to respond to the recession.

f) The scope of restructurings covered by the Globalization Adjustment Fund should be widened, to take into account of the impacts of the crisis;

g) More flexibility for co-financing of the Structural Funds should be introduced to take into account the impacts of the crisis.

IV. Post Lisbon strategy

22. Points out with regard to Energy that Europe is currently dependant on fossil fuels as its main source of energy. While dependency on fossil fuels must be reduced, it is also imperative to achieve energy security for Europe. This means to diversify its sources of fossil fuels, while trying to maintain energy at affordable prices. Energy sectors in member states must be opened up and real competition must be achieved. Energy efficiency must be improved through R&D and mainstreaming of ’best practices’. With a high price of oil and gas in the long run, Europe must be able to reduce its exposure in this sense.

23. Notes that the tools needed by the EU to foster the goals of the Lisbon Strategy are essentially the streamlining of all related policies, all financial instruments and funds, as well as the EU budget in a way to induce an acceleration and deepening of efforts for growth and job creation. In the short run, fiscal stimuli are needed for swift recovery from the economic crisis. Possible means are reductions in the value-added tax levels, on capital gains tax levels. Also, funding can be provided for green initiatives in the automobile sector and the construction sector, especially since these sectors are experiencing a collapse in demand on their products. Consumers can be supported in buying greener cars and environmentally friendly housing through tax exemptions.

24. Proposes that the Lisbon strategy should take the form of an integrated ”European Economic and Employment Strategy” on the basis of the existing economic policy instruments – in particular the Lisbon Strategy, the Integrated Guidelines, the Sustainable Development Strategy, and the convergence and stability programmes; calls upon the European Council to support economic activity in a coherent manner, at the same moment and in the same direction;

25. Regrets the still weak visibility of the Lisbon Strategy in the national politics of many EU countries; takes the view that the mobilisation of all economic stakeholders is essential to ensure its effective implementation; in particular, believes that a better involvement of social partners, national parliaments, regional and local authorities as well as civil society will improve the results of the Lisbon Strategy and enhance the public debate on appropriate reforms;

26. Regrets once again that a clear plan and code of practice has still not been agreed between Parliament, the Council and the Commission, which would guarantee appropriate cooperation and the full involvement of the three EU institutions concerned in the appropriate further handling of the integrated policy guidelines as key instruments of the Lisbon Strategy; calls in this connection on the Council and the Commission to submit forthwith proposals for the close cooperation of the three EU institutions with a view to the impending revision of the integrated policy guidelines;

27. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the candidate countries as well as the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Committee.