"What was inevitable has now been said: for the future of the EU, we must not be afraid to speak of a federation of nation-states and we must continue to deepen cooperation. Let us build it together and have the courage to turn a challenge into an opportunity. Europe needs vision and strong leadership. Mr Barroso has shown vision and leadership today in his State of the Union speech", states Mr Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, in response to the European Commission's State of the Union address in the European Parliament today.
A clear vision enables the EU to restore sustainable and job-rich growth. We need all twenty-seven Member States around the table, showing strong commitment. We must win the battle of opinion. For this, Europeans must be convinced that the EU is a fertile ground for the creation of a modern continent with high quality of life and strong common values.
A robust banking and budgetary union would allow competitiveness, avoid moral hazard and would foster responsibility and compliance. Europe’s redress measures must be aimed at consolidation and the balancing of investment. Greening the economy means combining innovation, investment and economic modernisation with reductions in the use of scarce natural resources. In this way we can improve European competitiveness and resilience in the long term while triggering growth and creating employment in the short term. Close European cooperation is needed in these areas. By way of example, the EESC has been calling for the establishment of a European Energy Community as a cost-efficient means to restore EU growth.
In the short term, we need a sufficient and robust EU budget combined with the list of highly relevant objectives and initiatives drawn up by President Barroso and his College of Commissioners.
The correct way to implement economic and social reforms for a renewed and modernised Europe is by deepening the Europe 2020 strategy. This is the way to make the decisive deal for Europe to deliver. Over the coming months and while the debate goes on, the EESC will continue to advocate a strong budget for the EU.
On 25 September, the EESC will hold a major conference which will lead to European civil society proposals on how to make the European growth pact a reality and achieve the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.
The EESC believes that the European Commission should take the driving seat and bring on board all economic, civil and social partners to participate in building a sustainable and strong Europe. We now need the full support and genuine commitment of every national government. The EESC is best placed to expand the public debate on the "decisive deal for Europe".