Statement by Sandra Pereira, PCP’s MP in the European Parliament

On the European Council of December 10 and 11

As expected, the European Council approved the new Multiannual Financial Framework, as well as the “Recovery Fund”.

The difficulties and stalemates surrounding the approval of these financial instruments, and the way in which they were overcome, confirm contradictions and problems indissociable from the nature of the European Union, which are far from being resolved and which go beyond obvious divergences with Hungary and Poland.

The approval of the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021 to 2027, set at 1074 billion euros, confirms a decrease in funds compared to the previous Financial Framework, between 2014 and 2020.

Without prejudice to more detailed knowledge, namely on the amounts receivable and payable by each country, the PCP considers that the agreement reached suffers from serious shortcomings that objectively harm Portugal's interests, since it foresees a significant cut in the funds earmarked for the so-called economic, social and territorial cohesion and for agriculture and fisheries, as well as an increase in the national contribution to the European Union budget.

Furthermore, the agreement reached also foresees a reduction in the contributions by the countries that benefit most from the Euro and the single market, such as Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden or Denmark.

These facts confirm the general trend of deepening asymmetries in development and inequalities between countries.

It should also be stressed that, while the funds directed to the so-called economic and social cohesion are reduced, the funds earmarked to enhance the militaristic and interventionist aspect of the European Union are unacceptably increased.

The so-called Recovery and Resilience Fund remains, as the PCP warned, far from the amounts initially announced, confirming to be insufficient in view of the seriousness of the situation and the needs of public investment by some States.

The idea that Portugal has never received so much money brazenly conceals that these funds result essentially from the anticipation of funds from future EU budgets or from borrowing, a fact that may determine that, after 2028, Portugal will have fewer resources available and greater financial charges, in a context of even greater dependence. In other words, it is not an effective support through non-repayable grants.

As the PCP alerted, the use of funds under the so-called Recovery Fund is linked to the imposition of conditionalities and subject to approval by the European Union.

However, the PCP considers that the use of financial means must be determined by the necessary response to the problems that workers, people and the country face, contributing to ensure the sovereign development of Portugal, and not subordinated to the priorities and interests of large economic and financial groups and the great powers of the European Union.

Contrary to the talk of “flexibility” in the use of funds, what is evident is the objective of instituting conditionalities, designed to impose investment options and so-called “structural reforms” - such as the attack on labour rights and public social welfare systems - , as well as the deepening of the single market, namely through the so-called “green economy”, the “digital single market” or even the intention of creating a so-called “European health market”.

The PCP reaffirms its rejection of the creation of so-called “European taxes”, a project that undermines the economic and budgetary sovereignty of States and which subverts the principle that the EU budget should be based on the national contributions of Member States, according to their gross national income.

The PCP also alerts to the increase in mechanisms - such as the so-called “mechanism for democracy and the rule of law” - which represent increased conditionalities and, if necessary, possible forms of blackmail, which more than the concern of defence of democracy, aim at safeguarding neoliberal policies, including the prevalence of capitalist competition in the single market over any prospect of solidarity or sovereignty of States, according to the interests and conveniences of the great powers of the European Union and of monopoly groups.

In fact, the so-called “strong-arm with Hungary and Poland” essentially translates into an exercise in hypocrisy, when the European Union maintains in essence its relations with Turkey untouched, when it objectively agrees with situations like that of Ukraine or when in several countries that are part of the EU, fundamental rights, freedoms and guarantees are increasingly trampled.

The PCP condemns the reinforcement of militarism of the European Union, associated with NATO, as well as the adoption of a policy of sanctions, in a clear confluence, and even submission, of the EU with the objectives of “world leadership” by the US, now affirmed by Joe Biden .

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