One the one hand, he called to back the EU and promote European solidarity, on the other he portrays austerity measures as the one and only right answer to the crisis. At no point did we hear any recognition of the role that EU policies have played in increasing poverty and inequality. Although he mentioned the Europe 2020 Strategy and some of the targets (particularly innovation, climate change), he made no mention of the poverty target, or rising poverty, exclusion and inequality – only a vague reference to social cohesion. Social Investment was not pronounced either –Priority, again, was put on growth, jobs and the ‘market’.
The main message is a call to back the EU and ‘make the case for Europe’, work together to improve rather than dismantle it, prioritising growth and jobs, and completing the internal market.
Also, according to Mr Barroso, the European Commission generally got it right in the measures on the crisis – tackling austerity and reducing public debt.
Barroso calls for the necessity to ‘go beyond the Europe 2020 Agenda’. Divided Europe and social polarisation between Member States is given a focus, with a call for European Solidarity, and to safeguard its values.
The main text remains last year’s Blueprint for a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union, with a focus on completing existing proposals before the end of the current Parliament in April: Banking Union, Single Supervisory Mechanism and Single Resolution Mechanism.
A key concern remains the agreement of the EU budget.
Other important messages:
Strengthening the social dimension of the EMU: A new Communication will be launched by the Commission on the 2nd October.
Framework for tackling infringements by MS of EU law, making use of Article 7 – suspension of MS rights…: the Commission will produce a Communication.
Adopting a new proposal for pushing forward a single market in telecoms (published today).
Investing in skills, education and vocational training – but the measure mentioned is linked to mobility (Erasmus Plus).
Building for a binding global climate agreement by 2015.
See full speech here: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/president/soteu2013/
Read also 21/06/2013 – EAPN writes to EU Prime Ministers and Heads of State ahead of the European Council on 27 and 28 June 2013: “The EU must become a beacon of hope – Future support for the EU depends on a strong social dimension, balancing economic and social goals and agreed democratically”. Read the letter.