European Parliament president fights for investment and grow

Without investment and growth incentives, economic recovery in the European Union is “virtually impossible”.

This was the message of both Portugal’s main opposition leader, António José Seguro, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (pictured), who was in Lisbon last week on his first official visit to Portugal since he was elected to his post in January.

The PS leader said: “The Prime Ministers of Portugal (Pedro Passos Coelho) and Germany (Angela Merkel) are keen supporters of austerity and Martin Schulz and I support convergence between budgetary discipline and economic growth.”

Schulz was critical of Portugal’s policies which were “exclusively” austerity-oriented. “Most European Parliament members are fighting for (financial) discipline, which is inevitable, but also understand that without investment, growth or clear policies to fight unemployment, it is not possible to achieve economic recovery,” said the German social-democrat, adding that his German government was favourable to reducing the EU’s financing prospects, but “this is wrong as the EU needs more investment”.

He continued: “The philosophy that it is through public expenditure cuts and deficit reduction that a country gains the confidence of investors and encourages growth is wrong.”

Schulz also hopes to fight for a better budget for the European Union, focusing on investment, employment creation and support for small and medium-sized enterprises, which have “innovative projects up their sleeves but cannot access credit”.

While in Portugal, the President of the European Parliament held meetings with the President of the Republic, Cavaco Silva, the president of the Portuguese Parliament, Assunção Esteves and the Prime Minister, Pedro Passos Coelho.