Europe today is experiencing an economic recovery, but to make this recovery sustainable, inclusive and job-rich, we need active and effective public employment policies.
I deeply regret the significant job losses announced by Microsoft today because of the impact these will have on so many individuals, their families and the local communities they live and work in.
The Youth Employment Initiative together with the Youth Guarantee should be a reality on the ground as a matter of urgency. We cannot afford to delay the implementation of such a crucial initiative.
Helping young people find a job must be among our top priorities, along with tackling the risk of poverty among the most vulnerable, such as older people, especially women, single-person households and the unemployed.
This initiative is not only important because of its long-term environmental impact but also because of its potential for assisting the economic recovery of the European Union.
I would argue that EU institutions have an obligation to counter false claims about cross-country mobility in Europe and to explain the advantages of mobility even to sceptical audiences. At a time when chauvinism is gaining strength across Europe, it is particularly important that the EU institutions play their role.
The fight against youth unemployment is still to be won. It has to be a collective effort that involves the young women and men concerned, the business community, the social partners, the regions and the Member States.
Sharing short-term fiscal risks in a monetary union is what I would consider a proper social contract.
My conclusion is that lack of progress on Europe 2020 targets should prompt EU leaders not to water down or abandon the Strategy as such, but to step up the policy responses. The review of Europe 2020 should be connected with the reconstruction of the EMU.
Unless we get the Union back on track of social convergence, the risk of social fragmentation today may well become structural and ultimately put into danger the European project as a whole. We can still forestall that scenario, but it calls for fresh emphasis on the positive role of social policy.