Czech Presidency: "Europe as a task" that makes perfect sense

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By Stefano Mallia, President of the EESC Employers' Group

Prague has put forward a pragmatic and dynamic programme that correctly identifies the immediate challenges we face.

The Czech Republic is taking over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU at a difficult time for our Union – probably the most critical time ever – as we face war on our continent again while we are still grappling with the impacts of the pandemic, weak recovery and inflation.

The slogan chosen by the Czech Presidency is telling: Europe as a task. Indeed, we are all tasked with leading Europe to rethink, rebuild and repower, and with finding the courage to re-evaluate many of our current approaches.

The challenges in front of us are considerable: we must focus on creating the conditions for peace, security and prosperity in the EU, while ensuring the strategic resilience and competitiveness of the European economy. It is only through a strong and competitive economy that we can face up to international pressures while taking care of our citizens.

The internal market needs to be further deepened, especially in the service sector and the digital economy. We must improve the business environment, including support for science, research and innovation. Only that will boost the competitiveness of European firms.

We are all in favour of the Green Deal and the "Fit for 55" agenda, but we must be careful about the pace of decarbonisation of EU industry. Our energy security issues are currently more pressing than the energy transition. First and foremost, we need to strengthen the energy resilience of the EU as a whole. We must ensure that we eliminate our dependency on Russia while securing energy from different suppliers.

When it comes to immigration and refugees, we must seek to put in place permanent and lasting solutions that ensure equal responsibility among EU Member States.

We trust that the Czech Republic will lead the Union with great resolve. Prague has put forward a pragmatic and dynamic programme that correctly identifies the immediate challenges we face and sets out to address them in the shortest possible time and in the most effective way possible.

It is a Presidency programme that puts the economy and its competitiveness at its core, and one that the Employers' Group will support.

Europe is a task that makes perfect sense.