Dear Madam President,
First and foremost, I would like to express my satisfaction with the constructive work done with the other two rapporteurs, and the high-quality and well balanced result that we have achieved together.
The resolution "A New Narrative for Europe" that we are voting today, is a timely document which has the full force of the three groups behind it. It is a resolution through which we aim to send a strong political message in view of the upcoming launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe on Europe Day.
What we are presenting today, is a glimpse of our vision for the EU of the next decades – a Union that:
- efficiently focuses on the most pressing needs and expectations of European companies, workers and citizens;
- makes a tangible difference where it is needed the most;
- and effectively involves its citizens across borders.
We all have our own dreams and priorities when we think about the future of Europe. For me, this would be a prospering Europe that successfully recovers from the COVID-19 crisis, and leads the world in the green and digital transitions. This recovery must really include everyone. I know we are using the slogan – no one should be left behind – but lets move away from such cliches and work together to deliver solid and concrete solutions so that only after we can then say that we really left no one behind.
To achieve this, and deliver high quality jobs and real sustainable growth, we need:
First of all, a strong and resilient European industrial basis to remain at the forefront of global technology and innovation.
Second, we need a genuine digital single market, creating the framework conditions, including the necessary skills profiles.
Third, we must do our best to ensure that the EU remains a strong defender of open markets, while addressing the climate change challenge.
As outlined in the Action plan, the Conference can help us upgrade and strengthen our own role and influence – by improving the ways of engaging with our constituencies "on the ground".
And I truly believe that companies and the private sector must be a key part of the solution to bring the EU closer to the needs of people. For us, as the Employers' Group, it will be crucial to engage with all those entrepreneurs who have invested in building a responsible business, large or small and continue to create jobs.
As we say in the resolution in front of us, Competitiveness and inclusiveness have to go hand in hand keeping in mind that the best performing Member States, from an economic point of view, are those which have the highest social standards and not vice versa.
Last but not least, in terms of follow-up and expectation management, the EU's credibility is clearly at stake here. Therefore, I believe that the we should take an active role in all efforts to prevent negative outcomes.
I encourage all of you to support the resolution!
Stefano Mallia at EESC Plenary, 27 April 2021