Invest in society, not in wars!
Statement by Neoklis Sylikiotis, AKEL MEP
3rd October 2017, European Parliament plenary, Strasbourg
“You have presented the new industry policy but the new defense dogma promoted by the European Commission annuls in practice any attempts for re-industrialization by allocating all funds to defense policy. The new defense plan heralds the beginning of the process for the full militarization of the European Union. Investments are being planned in defense and to strengthen the arms and military industry so that the EU becomes a more powerful force in the military field. The creation of permanent military structures and a European Defense Fund is being promoted with a budget of 38.5 billion Euros from 2020 to 2027, that is to say € 5.5 billion per year for military equipment, the strengthening of the defense and arms industry and the promotion of military research. With such a huge budget available, why don’t you use it to promote re-industrialization in the EU so that there is again social development and growth, especially in the South which has been hit hardest by the economic crisis and neo-liberal austerity policies being pursued?” This is what AKEL’s MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis stressed addressing the EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SME’s, Elzbieta Bienkovska during the meeting of the Energy, Industry and Research Committee in Strasbourg.
Speaking as Coordinator and Shadow Rapporteur for the defense industry report on behalf of the Confederal Group of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left, AKEL MEP N. Sylikiotis underlined that the proposals being promoted for the defense industry will not only not be of any benefit, but on the contrary will have catastrophic consequences for the peoples. As he explained, the EU is moving in the opposite direction to the needs of the peoples. What, he pointed out, the peoples need are policies for growth to boost the real economy, support SME’s, and combat mass unemployment and poverty, not more funds for the waging of new wars. The AKEL MEP consequently called on the Commissioner to explain why the EU does not use the available funds to promote a comprehensive industrial strategy by accelerating the creation of new quality jobs and promote growth policies for the benefit of society.
In conclusion, N. Sylikiotis stressed that the EU should take initiatives for complete demilitarization and promote an overall strategy for the re-industrialization of the Union on the basis of innovation and technological development to meet the needs of society. A fundamental precondition, he noted, is that the Union should invest new funds in industry, instead of continuing the policy of imposing cuts from other programs.
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