Labour Finance spokesperson Joan Burton TD, has welcomed calls for EU governments to engage in more economic stimulus. The comments were made by Christine Lagarde at the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
Deputy Burton said:
“I welcome Christine Lagarde’s argument for the European Central Bank to be agile and to react to changes in the world. While we come from different political traditions, she managed to be non-partisan and to make evidence-based decisions while at the IMF, where she introduced a focus on gender, inequality and climate. I welcome her desire to focus on these issues again at the ECB.
“Labour agrees that Europe and the Eurozone needs an economic stimulus, and part of that stimulus should be government-led investment in ageing infrastructure, improvements in schools and medical facilities, and investing in green technology like energy efficiency and renewable energy, which will provide new sustainable jobs. It makes sense, as Lagarde suggests, for EU governments to co-operate in this stimulus, such as creating an EU-wide market for investment in climate technology and green enterprises.
“Europe also needs a stimulus to consumer demand, which should be achieved by raising the wages and living standards of Europe’s lowest paid workers, not least the 23% of workers in Ireland who earn less than 60% of median average wages. Ireland has the third highest level of low pay in the European Union, and this is both unjust and unsustainable with our high living costs, especially exorbitant rents. We need to accelerate the move to an evidence-based Living Wage as the minimum for all workers
“I hope that if Ms Lagarde is confirmed as the first woman President of the European Central Bank, she will also signal other real changes to the ECB’s policies, including a much greater focus on unemployment, which is part of the mission of the US Federal Reserve and other central banks worldwide.”