On 7th February, as we mark the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, the European Economic and Social Committee turns to political leaders, the European civil society organisations which we represent, and all European citizens, with a call: the call for social and economic solidarity, which is urgently needed across Europe.
25 years ago, Europe was in turmoil: the aftermath of the Cold War; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany; the path of Eastern European countries to democracy, all shaped the zeitgeist. Yet, on this momentous day in 1992, the 12 nations of the European Communities signed this European Treaty, thus creating the European Union as we know it and its greatest achievement, the single currency.
Today, the geo-political landscape is also in turmoil: the Western alliance is questioned; Eastern Europe feels threatened; Southern Europe borders on conflict zones and refugee crises. Everywhere nationalists and populists are on the march, and upcoming Presidential and parliamentary elections risk giving voice and power to extremists. Brexit beckons; terrorism remains a constant threat; citizens ask for jobs, security and answers. The contemporary European idea is challenged as never before. The main elements of a deep and genuine Economic and monetary union are also still missing.
As our Committee declared during our recent debate with Commissioner Moscovici and our hearing on the future of the euro, we urge our political leaders to be bold and act with courage once again and to provide the new vision and inspiration which Europeans need so badly in order to rediscover our common sense of purpose.
The EU and the EMU, both created in Maastricht, need to be deepened with a joint political narrative. In particular, the missing pillars of a deep and genuine EMU need to be put in place to ensure lasting stability and prosperity for the people of Europe. This is the number one priority today for businesses, workers and all other civil society organisations across Europe. Decisive steps need to be made towards a credible, ever closer and irreversible partnership among the EU's Member States.