Many things have happen since our last Steering Committee meeting at the end of March. Since then, while the economic situation remains fragile, we have witnessed a lot of developments as concerns growth. There is now a growing consensus, not only in Europe, on the need for both stability and growth.
Our message to the European Institutions is clear: that both EU and national policies should create a level playing field allowing social entrepreneurship and cooperatives to compete with other forms of enterprises without giving up their aims and working methods.
Staffan Nilsson's Intervention before EC President Barroso takes the floor
Welcome! I would say it is a good moment, at the beginning of the year, for us to share our views with you, and for you to share with us the Commission's priorities and the Commission's needs in terms of the advice we can give.
The critical situation we are in is more than about economic aspects, it is about social, political and confidence. I feel to say it again and again that we need structural reforms with long-term effect. We look at this from a non-political perspective, from the civil society perspective. We think that austerity measures are necessary, but it is more than about budget and discipline. The management of economic policy in the euro area and in the EU also needs to be more comprehensive and ambitious.
I have talked about getting more people in job, especially from specific groups, and about bringing together unemployed people and available vacancies. In fact this boils down to one question: How can we best assist jobseekers? Key words in this context are "efficiency" and "innovation". We need to strive for efficient and innovative assistance to jobseekers, which is the title of today's conference.