Page last updated at 20:50 GMT, Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Fears raised over EU public finances

MEPs have backed a report by the Economic Affairs Committee that claims the state of public finances in Europe is "worrying".

The report by Italian centre-right MEP Alfredo Pallone, debated on 15 January 2013, calls on member states to reduce "unproductive" public spending, instead of increasing tax revenues to make up any deficit.

The report also says there should be increased funding for research and education policies to boost the long-term economy.

But Greek socialist MEP Ani Podimata warned that MEPs were in danger of focusing too much on economics.

"It's not just about finances," she said. "It's about the environment and social cohesion as well. We should not just pay lip service to these issues when discussing the crisis."

The European Commission is urged to give more "positive and negative feedback" to member states including country-specific recommendations on each country's public finances.

However Belgian Conservative MEP Dirk-Jan Eppink said he feared the report contained too many "compromises with the left," including calls for a youth guarantee scheme.

"It is difficult to promise jobs that do not exist," he concluded, saying he would abstain when the report came to the vote, which takes place during the voting session from 11am on 16 January 2013.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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