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Carthy hosts top economists in EU conference on Alternatives to Austerity

8 December, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has hosted leading economists from across Europe in a conference in Brussels titled 'EU peripheral economies: From austerity to sustainable growth'. Academics and economists from Ireland, Greece, Spain, Hungary, Britain and Belgium spoke at the event, including Prof Jim Stewart from Trinity College Dublin. The Sinn Féin MEP organised the conference in collaboration with the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament.

Speaking after the event, Carthy said:

“The urgent dilemma we are facing is Europe’s failure to fulfil the promises it has made to its citizens. EU leaders have promised jobs, growth, social inclusion and economic cohesion, and they have failed to deliver on all fronts, causing deep discontent. The failed euro policies of internal devaluation by cuts to wages, welfare and pensions, and increases in regressive taxation along with the macro-economic straitjacket of the Stability and Growth Pact are the recipe for an economic and social disaster.

“The Eurogroup continues to inflict savage austerity on Greece, and their insistence this week that European labour rights do not need to apply to Greek workers demonstrates the dangerous attitude of the EU leaders." 

Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, continued:

“At the same time as the Stability and Growth Pact blocks national governments from investing in their own infrastructure and public services, we have the so-called Juncker investment plan which has proven to be a total failure.

“The Juncker plan, or the European Fund for Strategic Investment, actually provides hardly any new additional funding for investment in Europe but is made up of redirected funds from existing areas in the EU Budget.

"It aims to encourage banks and insurers to invest in infrastructure with the risk borne by taxpayers, a strategy described by one of our speakers as 'Trumponomics'. Not only has this plan failed to generate growth, it directly contributes to the creeping privatisation of public infrastructure and services.

“We urgently need to respond to the warnings sounded by academics, economists and historians that if we do not change direction from austerity to sustainable growth then the economic crisis may become a crisis of democracy the likes of which Europe experienced 80 years ago.”

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