Representatives of the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) criticised the European Commission for failing to learn from the mistakes that have caused so much division within the Union through austerity measures.

According to a press release posted on GUE/NGL website, the Commission’s key 2017 economic priorities for the EU are insufficient and a gift to the far-right. The statement was issued following the debate on the European Semester package in the European Parliament on November 22.

Opening for the group, GUE/NGL MEP Paloma López (Spain) and shadow rapporteur on the Semester’s ‘Implementation of 2016 priorities’ said: “The economic priorities expressed by the Commissioner are insufficient. The recommendations are measures which have failed year after year. The Commissioner is asking for improvements in education just as public services are being cut!”

“These are the same measures which have led us to Brexit; the dissatisfaction of our citizens and the rise of the far-right,” added the Spanish MEP. “Instead, we should have capital paying taxes; real investment; a protective model that is sustainable; improved productivity and a real social pillar.”

Greek MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis also noted that such policies are destroying Europe. He said: “This reckless, unilateral austerity – the Schäuble doctrine – is killing growth. It is destroying Europe, deepening social and regional inequalities, and helps feed the populist far-right which wants to destroy the European Union.”

“The Commissioner must also stop Wolfgang Schäuble‘s bullying just because he wants to replace the institutional role of the European Commission with automated mechanisms and technocrats like the ESM (European Stability Mechanism). We are hoping for a strong response on this matter from the Commissioner,” added the Greek MEP.

In turn, Portuguese MEP Miguel Viegas warned that the Commission’s previous blackmailing of member states had already backfired.

“This package marks the start of a new round of economic governance with more blackmail on member states and their budgetary policies,” said Viegas. “It’s an ode to neoliberal policies which have underpinned austerity. Yet, despite all these threats of fines or suspension of the Structural Funds, Portugal’s economy has grown and public accounts have got better.”

Viegas also warned that the economic governance that supports the euro and EMU is an instrument that is going to be used to push through the European Union’s neoliberal agenda at the expense of the workers.