Young European Socialists strongly condemn the application of discriminatory sanctions to Portugal and Spain

The entertainment of the European Football Cup has ended but with it also ended the good reasoning coming from the European Union. With only a few days passed over the outrageous nomination of former Commission President, Barroso, as Chairman of Goldman Sachs, which shows clearer than any other possible report the revolving doors existing between big business and the EU, it would be expected that EU leaders would show a little more reserve when dealing with its member States. Instead, the Council and the Commission despite seeming to be playing the blame game, throwing at one another the responsibility to act, they’re also putting on the line the last reserves of credibility they had regarding equal treatment of its members.

Just like the nomination of Barroso, the decision to sanction Portugal and Spain for failing to achieve the SGP guidelines for the budget deficit, are another demonstration of how ideologically blind the decisions made by the EU can be. More than just sanctioning the minimal failure to follow the guidelines, these sanctions seem to be much more a punishment to the Portuguese Government’s decision to abandon austerity measures without compromising the budget and public debt, or in the case of Spain, the punishment to its electorate for not carrying on at the first general elections with the right wing conservative Government of Rajoy. Accomplishing economic stability and growth at the same time that austerity is rejected, and be successful while doing it, seems to have cause severe complications to the EU rhetoric hence leading to sanctions.

Moreover, the same rules applied to Portugal and Spain were deliberately overlooked when the subject were other countries, namely France or Germany, though for different reasons. The case is even more troubling as not only does this cause clear discomfort and 1st and 2nd category players in the European scene, but it also sends out a message that it is acceptable to profit with other sister countries’ misfortune inside the EU.

At a time where the two countries have made a tremendous – and harsh – effort to balance their public budgets and debts, the application of any kind of sanctions is not only counterproductive but it is also destroying the possibility for steady economic recovery. The intransigence of the Commission and the Council would be better used against countries that refuse to host refugees or threaten fundamental freedoms every day without facing any sanctions. Europe was founded on values, not on numbers.

Therefore Young European Socialists firmly reject the sanctions to these two countries and urge the Council and the Commission to reconsider their positions in order not to inflict any more unfair, unjustified and incomprehensible measures to their people. Serious times require serious action : we ask European institutions and governments to focus on making Europe a place of social justice, jobs and environmental sustainability for everyone insteading of being obsessed with deficit rates.

About The Author