Udo Bullmann: Europe needs a radical change

Following the “State-of-the-Union” address by the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, S&D president Udo Bullmann calls for a radical change in Europe to overcome current crises and build a sustainable future for all Europeans:

“We are proud to see that the Commission has finally reacted to our pressure to better protect our democracies from online manipulation. For months, our Group has been pushing for measures to tackle the threat of foreign interferences in elections. The proposal to fine political parties if they misuse personal data for electoral purposes is a step into the right direction. However, it is not enough: we also need concrete measures to stop the spread of fake news on social networks and instruments to fine social media companies if they do not fight misuse on their platforms.

“Apart from that, the Commission is clearly lacking awareness of the need for overall radical change in Europe. Growing inequalities, the rise of right-wing populism, and attacks on our democracies by fake news, are a vital threat to the European project. We cannot and will not go on with business as usual. We need to reinvent Europe if we want to overcome the current crises and build a sustainable future for all Europeans.

“The change that we need means, first and foremost, a transformation of our economic and social model. Our economies have to work for the many, not just the few. Economic success has to be measured not only in euros, but also in social and ecological terms. If the Commission wants to protect people, as Juncker claims, they need to come forward with a package to fight inequalities including, for example the Child Guarantee that ensures that children can learn and thrive in a healthy environment.

“Even though Jean-Claude Juncker hardly mentioned the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), we urge the European Commission to concentrate on this in the upcoming months alongside the European Parliament. Our priority from now on is to make sure that the Parliament can fully use its prerogatives to scrutinize the Commission proposal. The MFF is an important element in our battle for a fairer society; it is the EU’s master plan that determines which direction we take.”