The European Parliament today voted to approve a proposal from the Commission on new financial allocations for certain member states under the European Social Fund (ESF) for the current period. The proposal would see additional funds for action on unemployment exclusively allocated to France, Spain and Italy. The Greens expressed regret at the failure to extend this to other countries. After the vote, Green regional spokesperson Elisabeth Schroedter stated:
“We seriously regret the failure of MEPs to overturn this backroom deal. Instead of allocating this funding to the hardest hit crisis countries, where it could have made a real difference, the allocation of these funds to France, Spain and Italy under the ESF was in reality designed to compensate them for the deal on the EU's multiannual financial framework, which left them relatively disadvantaged, notably as a result of the UK rebate. This opaque deal was the result of internal haggling in the Council, rather than being motivated by social policy priorities."
Green MEP Rui Tavares (Portugal) added:
"The allocation of funds under the EU budget cannot be decided only in backroom Council deals. The outcome of this particular deal means that these funds intended for action on youth unemployment will not target all of the countries under financial assistance programmes, which are experiencing massive problems with youth unemployment. This is senseless, as is the failure by MEPs to rectify it."