Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said the dominance of the centre-right European People's Party has not been good for Europe.
He said the EU had four major economic challenges, all of which needed to progress substantially in the next five years.
These challenges are, he said:
- Pledging carbon neutrality by 2050, to include compensations for Polish coal miners and other groups of workers, and "just transitions" to new, high quality jobs, whoch is also required for Irish peat workers.
- Reverse the growth of inequality, by increasing workers’ share of national income and investing to strengthen universal basic services such as healthcare, childcare, public housing and public transport.
- Remain competitive in the global economy, without lowering social and environmental standards.
- Integrate migrant workers into the mainstream economy, including those with lower educational attainment or skills, "and avoid creating ghettoised sectors of the economy, which in turn manifest as second-class social status and lower living standards".
He said the new four-party coalition in the European Parliament needed to show a real change of direction from the past 10 years.
Deputy Howlin added that the growth of populism has had a negative impact on countries.
"We've had, thankfully, fairly progressive policies by the European Central Bank under (Mario) Draghi when he took over from (Jean-Claude) Trichet...
"(However,) the central direction which allowed populism to grow (and) which was fixated on a line of fiscal probity which didn't allow any scope for individual countries to manage their own affairs, has to change," he said.