The UK has no doubt about the benefits it owes to access to the Single Market, so I do not understand certain calls for the repatriation of EU social policy legislation. A marketplace depends on free competition if it is to function properly, and that calls for agreed rules and a level playing field. I have every confidence that the British people’s innate sense of fair play will guide them in this area.
As we stressed in the 2012 Annual Growth Survey, the EU must address the economic, employment and social dimensions of the crisis together. Greater labour market participation and social inclusion are essential for job-rich growth and they are key elements of the Europe 2020 strategy.
What brings us together today has its roots in a phenomenon that originated here in the USA, and quickly extended to Europe and the rest of the world as a financial, economic and, more and more, a social crisis. A crisis labelled by some as the Great Recession and which I will designate as the Great Crisis.