Socialist leader slams fiscal response to euro crisis

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What is needed to tackle the crisis is a real plan, and this is not what has been proposed by EU leaders at their 8-9 December summit, says Sergei Stanishev, leader of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

Stanishev, who was was elected on 24 November as leader of the PES, argues that the important elements missing from the summit decisions are granting the European bailout fund a banking licence, introducing eurobonds, imposing of a financial transactions tax, and a "real plan" for investment and growth.

"Actually what has been agreed is a continuation of the policy we have been seeing for over two-and-a-half years. That there are measures taken too late, which are not sufficient from the point of view of the markets. And you can see that the reaction of the markets is not overenthusiastic," said Stanishev, who is the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist party and has led his country into the EU in 2007 as prime minister.

Stanishev rejected views that the eurozone crisis could be tackled mainly trough fiscal measures, insisting that without policies to restore growth and create jobs, there could be no fiscal stability either.

"This is why we believe [that] without a combination of coordinated measures from all the member states to create conditions for economic growth, we shall just be sitting back and looking at how recession is coming and the consequences will be really disastrous for every country of the European Union and for the citizens," Stanishev told EURACTIV.

The PES leader reiterated his concerns of a Europe at different speeds taking shape and made ironic remarks on the French-German leadership over their crisis troubleshooting.

"Looking from the point of view of substance, it seems the substance is more what Mrs Merkel was proposing and the form was more what was supported by Mr Sarkozy," he said, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Stanishev also criticised the way in which the proposed deficit-limiting 'golden rule' in the EU countries' constitutions was imposed on an obligatory basis at the summit.

"People in Europe are asking now: Is the European Union democratic enough? Because every country and every citizen will have the burden of the decisions taken on his or her shoulders," he said.

Asked about the position of PES regarding the protests in Russia over alleged fraud in the 4 December parliamentary election, Stanishev said that international observers had revealed a number of irregularities.

"I cannot tell you what exactly was the scale of these irregularities, but I think that many Russian citizens during the rallies which happened in a number of towns and cities in the last days are definitely a signal to the authorities that they are expecting the laws to be respected and to have free and fair elections – which is of particular importance for the forthcoming presidential elections," he said.

Click here to read the full interview.

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