As the current economic and financial crisis drags on, many Europeans are being forced to get by on less. This loss of purchasing power puts consumers at risk of social exclusion. The EU estimates1 that more than 120 million people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2013.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is the biggest and most ambitious free trade agreement currently being negotiated by the European Union. Economists believe that an agreement with the USA will be advantageous for both the European Union and the USA, and the negative effects of trade liberalisation will be insignificant. This publication is a summary of the debate on "What development opportunities does the TTIP bring to Europe?" that was held in Sopot on 2 October 2014 as part of the European Forum for New Ideas.
Energy is crucial for modern societies; the development of the economy is directly linked to its price and availability.
Today, Europe is highly dependent on external energy resources; in 2012 90% of its energy was imported. Yet the various political crises throughout the world (Ukraine, Iraq) remind us that this dependence makes Europe very vulnerable.
In order to minimise the effects of this, Europe must rely on a true energy mix. Diversification, both in terms of geography and energy sources, is crucial.
Undeclared work in Europe undermines the European ideals of the rule of law, security, solidarity, social and fiscal justice, free market competition and the free movement of workers. Therefore, the setting up of a European Platform to combat irregular employment must be welcomed. The elimination of undeclared work in Europe would be a great achievement.
"Member States cannot face the challenges brought by immigration alone. There is a need for a greater solidarity to ensure that no Member State is facing a disproportionate amount of pressure due to its geographical situation. A common policy on immigration and integration is needed to benefit from migratory fluxes."
Panagiotis Gkofas, rapporteur on 'European immigration policy and relations with third countries'
"EMU, which is substantially more than what is being discussed on the table now, is indispensable to re-create confidence in the European project. Only its completion and full implementation will encourage investments and boost growth and jobs."
Joost van Iersel, co-rapporteur on ‘Completing EMU – The next European legislature’
Although the role of SMEs in the EU economy is crucial and their well-being should be a priority for European policy-makers, they struggle with access to finance especially in the countries severely hit by the crisis. The Greek experience might and should be taken as a case study and lead to conclusions on how to improve the system for the future.
The social dimension of the EU economy is a fact, not something that needs to be created. The nature of the single market is social; many of the benefits it creates are par excellence part of the social dimension.Improving Europe’s competitiveness and stimulating greater growth are just two essential conditions needed to further develop the social dimension of the EU. A strong economy resolves the problem of high unemployment much faster than new funds or administrative measures could.
Summary of the discussion during the extraordinary meeting of the Employers' Group. The discussion on boosting industry and competitiveness in Europe took place during the Extraordinary Meeting of the Employers’ Group in Brussels, Belgium on 13th November 2013. The discussion on re-industrialisation of Europe took place during the panel organised by the Employers’ Group in the framework of the European Forum for New Ideas on 26th September 2013 in Sopot, Poland.
Members' conclusions after the conference held in Vilnius on 25 October