If we want Europe to be the sort of place we want to live in by the year 2020, we need to make sure we can compete, that our way of life is sustainable and our society remains cohesive in spite of the changes which it is and will be undergoing.
The end of the transitional measures on free movement of workers represents a great opportunity, not just for individual workers, but also for Austria as a whole.
We have to transform the European business model, and Europe 2020 sets the direction. However, the social model also has to adapt. We need to make sure that it keeps apace with the challenges of the 21st century – that it is 'fit-for-purpose'.
It has become a standard narrative on the crisis to stress how profound effect it had on Europe, on our economies and on our society as a whole. (...) But one has to go beyond this very standard "horizontal" picture to really understand the situation on the ground. And here we see that the actual impact of the crisis has significantly differed across Member States and across regions themselves.
Lack of finance is among the most important reasons that hold back European business starters. One clear way to promote entrepreneurship is to increase the availability of microcredit for those who want to start up or further develop their own enterprise but do not have access to traditional banking loans.
We should recognise that ongoing reforms carry new risks. Indeed, as reforms make future pensions far more dependent on long-term developments in labour markets and financial markets. This means that we need to create employment opportunities and increase the stability of financial systems.