"After calming unrest among markets we have to yet raise hope among our citizens"
"We must take even stronger measures to fight unemployment, notably youth unemployment… I believe that we are still on time to address the issue in the discussion for the next Multiannual Financial Framework," said President Barroso at the opening session of the European Parliamentary Week.
He continued by stressing that step by step, Europe is meeting its challenges directly and successfully, but many remain, notably the social challenges. "A lot still has to be done. Stabilisation is not a recovery. We may have calmed unrest among markets; we have yet to raise hope among citizens," he said.
President Barroso pushed again for a strong EU multiannual budget (MFF) that is essential for investments supporting growth, competitiveness and job creation. Warming up for the debate at the European Council at the end of next week, he said that there is still time to address important issues, notably unemployment and youth unemployment, before the conclusion of the talks - if there is political will.
He emphasised that the EU budget offers even to the strongest member states a European dimension to their economic growth, their infrastructure and research. "Frankly, I cannot see how some governments that are speaking about the need to support growth, rightly so, and to support competitiveness, rightly so, when it comes to the discussion of the most important instrument we have at European level to promote investment, the answer is not so clear."
The President also warmly appreciated the European Parliamentary Week project as an initiative to bring representatives from national Parliaments together with Members of the European Parliament, as well as other European institutions. He said that both national and the European Parliament should play a significant role during the European Semester cycle, making full use of the Economic Dialogue as set up by the six-pack legislation. They should also play a crucial role in fostering a debate on the deepening of European democracy and accountability that must follow economic integration, notably in a run-up to the European Parliament elections in June 2014.