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Staffan Nilsson's Comment (former EESC President 2010-2013)

Archive: July 2011

What political resolve can do for Europe

22 Jul 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

The decisions taken on 21 July for rescuing Greece and other Eurozone countries are not bad news and they are not good news either. What was absolutely needed has been done, at a time of high risk for Greece and for the Eurozone. It is not bad news because the Greek state will benefit from lower interest rates thanks to the help of other Member States. As a consequence, this will reduce the weight of the burden on the Greek people's shoulders. This is solidarity at work for a safer Eurozone. It is not good news because the Greeks will have to make huge efforts to reduce the debt. I believe in their resilience to do so. Still, we need to be aware that the Greek people will suffer more than others. The poor and the most vulnerable, and young people, could be the ones to pay the price. Read More...
Fisheries have been no exception in these times of EU reforms. Today the Council has discussed the European Commission's proposal on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). I believe that Commissioner Damanaki's plan for the new policy is a good one, since we need serious changes today in order to ensure sustainable fishing communities in the long term. The proposal is not enough, however. While we need to plan for the long term, some measures need to be implemented urgently. Is the fisheries industry not one area in which austerity measures would help the sector to become more economically healthy and sustainable? If we want yields to rise again and future generations to have fish on their plates, we need to stop overfishing now and allow marine biological resources to recover. Sharing this “burden” amongst the fishermen and coastal communities of Europe is going to be a huge task which will require strong political leadership. And something more: fishermen and all related industries must be involved in all reforms. Read More...

Poland: a tonic for Europe

15 Jul 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

The newly-inaugurated Polish Presidency will act as a tonic for Europe. For two main reasons: first, with its ambitious programme based on pro-European values, Poland is promoting greater EU integration in the interests of growth, especially in the current euro crisis; second, the strong commitment of the Polish government shows that "new Europe" is becoming an old-fashioned label for some of the Member States that joined the EU in 2004. Read More...

ACP and the A, B, C of good governance

7 Jul 2011

By: Staffan Nilsson

H.E. Mr Usman Baraya and Mr Staffan Nillsson
Over the past few days, I had the opportunity to meet a number of leaders and economic and social players from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries gathered together for the 26th meeting of ACP-EU economic and social interest groups. Under the Cotonou Agreement, the EESC is tasked with organising regular consultation with representatives of ACP economic and social players in order to strengthen ACP-EU relations. I believe that wherever and whenever possible, we can promote gradual political change. We need to support the African countries – provided this support is accompanied by economic, social and political reforms. We have to act in solidarity, and make a shift from aid to smarter development policies which include the involvement of civil society in the reform processes Read More...