United for the future of Europe: now is the time for action

Solidarity and cooperation in the EU are central to jump-starting the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at the June plenary session, Luca Jahier, president of the EESC, and Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, agreed that the role of cohesion policy in the Commission's European recovery plan and in the revised, more ambitious Multiannual Financial Framework proposal was crucial.

The next key step was to speed up their adoption and implementation, they said. Mr Jahier stressed that the EESC supported the Next Generation EU package as an unprecedented and comprehensive plan that sent a clear and long-awaited political signal, showing that Europe was there and that no one would be left alone in the crisis and its aftermath.

"The plan also responds to the EESC's call for the EU to do whatever it takes to get out of this crisis, stressing that we can only successfully address this challenge if we stay and act together as a community of common destiny," said the EESC president.

"The EESC has always insisted on solidarity, cohesion and sustainability as the driving concepts behind any EU-led recovery, and we are happy to find them all in the plan proposed by the Commission. Now that the decisions have been taken, we need to work on implementation, because those who need the financial help to restart need it as quickly as possible."

Emphasising that the Commission's plan for recovery required the support and mobilisation of all actors and institutions for its implementation, Ms Ferreira said: "Today, I want to sound a call to action. First, a call to action for cohesion, which is in the DNA of the Commission's new proposals. Our policy is already at the forefront of Europe's response to the crisis.

"Second, a call to action for economic and social partners, and civil society. And by this I mean action for the partners, and action with the partners. Our job is not done. Our job is only beginning. We have the tools, now is the time for action. Action to ensure that repair and recovery get a level playing field." (mp)