Volt rebuttal to the Frugal Four

Volt rebuttal to the Frugal Four

5/27/2020, 9:20:47 AM

In a clear rebuttal to the proposal by the Frugal 4 - the co-presidents of the Volt parties of Austria, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden have provided this reply.

Volt sees a very clear path forward: Together.

We propose CO2 taxes to energise the Green Economy. We propose heavy investments in research and in electrifying our transport sector. Finally, to allow for those to realise, we need to strengthen our capacity for growth and solidify our European economy. Therefore, we support Coronabonds. 

Our road forward from the Corona crisis is not a temporary one, it is persistent. It has a strong Green focus for revolutionizing our entire economy, not just business as usual. Our European path is one of solidarity and responsibility for the past and the future. 

The Merkel-Macron proposal is a negation starter. The Frugal 4 counter-proposal is a negotiation starter.

The difference between the Frugal 4 and the Macron-Merkel proposal is that, while Merkel and Macron acknowledge their differences and work past them, the perspective of these four governments lack diversity, European solidarity and seem to resist the fundamentals of Europe: Stronger Together.

Driving a wedge between countries is old politics. It is the way we began and not the path we must follow now. Rather, a unified approach based on solidarity and shared values will empower citizens to look beyond our national borders and strengthen our collective Europe after Covid19, to reveal what Europeans stand stronger together than ever before.

The country presidents of Volt Austria, Volt Denmark, Volt Netherlands and Volt Sweden stand together in the rejection of the non-paper by the Frugal Four governments on the following grounds:

  • We need to Kickstart the Green Economy

The strategic objectives of the European Union as laid out by the Commission President speech of green revolution and making Europe the first climate neutral continent.To remove the existential threat from climate change, we must reduce our CO2 emissions drastically and this means a transition in our energy supply and a transition in our transport and building sector as well as our labour force.

  • Coronabonds are the 21st century Marshall Plan

We support the issue of Coronabonds to safeguard our common market and to strengthen our European solidarity. If we allow nations to only reap economic advantages of the single market during economic growth and fail to take financial responsibility for member states in times of need, then we fail to understand the true potential of our Union. The currency union needs to be upgraded by a fiscal union, and this time with all member states on board. The Frugal Four propose loans instead of grants to highly in-debted countries and at the same time reject mutualisation of funding between member states. In this way, by not supporting, nor enabling countries to recover, we are crippling our own economies and we have learned nothing from the financial crisis. Providing loans is a short-term measure that will postpone the full recovery of our economy. The Single Market does not mean that we are 27 individual markets, it means we are one and should act like it.

  • Our shared challenges need a strong EU budget!

The Frugal Four propose reducing the budget AND frontloading expenses NOW. In their mind, this will avoid a repeat of the global financial crisis where lack of expansive financial policies prolonged the recovery. However, by investing in the CURRENT economy, rather than the future economy, we are not revolutionising anything. It will be business as usual.

In addition, reducing the budget after the departure of the United Kingdom would leave the European Union with less actionable resources to achieve the strategic objectives that our next generation is demanding.

  • Our shared European values must pave the way.

The Emergency Recovery Fund as proposed by the Frugal Four includes focus on rule of law aspects. Addressing the misuse of European Funds by Hungary’s Orbán and the misuse of government power in Poland is an ongoing fight that the current European Commission and Parliament has failed to tackle.  We cannot be blind to misuse of the power, the reduction of citizens’ rights, nor be bullied by strongmen who do not value equality, rule of law or human dignity. We therefore propose that any Emergency Recovery Funds may only be allocated to countries currently targeted for Article 7 violations if applied for by registered and recognised NGOs and education facilities.

We, the Volt presidents of Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden reject the notion that all we have to do is to merely recover from the crisis. We want the Covid19 to be the starting point of the Green Revolution that we owe our children and ourselves

Signed by
Kathrine RIchter, co-president Volt Danmark
Ina Dimitrieva, treasurer Volt Österreich
Alexander Harrer, co-president Volt Österreich
Marlies Steinhauser, co-president Volt Österreich
Jason Halbgewach, co-president Volt Nederland
Michael Holz, co-president Volt Sverige