Headlines September 2012
Europe will do whatever it must to bring stronger economic governance and a return to economic growth, Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said on Tuesday.
"What are the next steps that need to be taken if we want a stronger Europe, and how far can we go? Well, my experience of the last two years tells me that the sky is the limit," he told delegates at the Step up for Europe conference organised by the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.
"We need to act now to stabilise the eurozone, exit the crisis, consolidate economic governance and boost growth and jobs. These will be the top priorities for the Commission for the rest of its mandate. This, I believe, will be the true legacy of this Commission: a stronger union, using the potential of the Treaties to the max;" V-P Šefčovič said.
He warned against the "flirtation" with inter-governmentalism, stressing that the Community approach, with concerted EU-wide action coordinated by the European Commission and supported by all Member States, was the only way to achieve these goals.
The European Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe is an ambitious programme designed to help European citizens benefit from the many advantages of modern technology, from access to online content to e-banking and e-commerce. As part of its contribution to the Digital Agenda, the Commission has launched its own new IT strategy, called "e-Commission 2012-2015".
With just two years to go until the next European Parliament elections, Commission President José Manuel Barroso has called for a truly pan-European debate on trans-national issues – a debate that will be helped by the Commission's proposal to give European legal status to European political parties.
Speaking in his annual State of the Union speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, President Barroso said: "We have to recognise the political debate is cast all too often as if it were just between national parties. Even in the European elections we do not see the name of the European political parties on the ballot box, we see a national debate between national political parties. This is why we need a reinforced statute for European political parties."
He added: "An important means to deepen the pan-European political debate would be the presentation by European political parties of their candidate for the post of Commission President at the European Parliament elections already in 2014 [...] This would be a decisive step to make the possibility of a European choice offered by these elections even clearer. I call on the political parties to commit to this step and thus to further Europeanise these European elections."
The proposal on European political parties will help not only to increase their visibility, as mentioned by President Barroso, but also their effectiveness, transparency and accountability.