Solidarity, accountability the key to future of Europe
Europe needs to remain 'united in adversity' if it wants to emerge stronger from the current crisis stronger and better able to avoid future crises. This was the message from Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič at the Global Security Forum (Globsec) in Bratislava on Friday.
Taking part in a panel discussion on a future vision for Europe, Maroš Šefčovič stressed that there was widespread agreement that the EU needed to reform, but warned that words needed to be backed by actions as well.
With Europe's economies inextricably intertwined – whether they are part of the Eurozone or not – solutions to the current economic problems must be at the European level, endorsed and implemented by all Member States, he said.
But pooling their sovereignty in areas that have traditionally been dealt with by Member States alone will require a new level of accountability and transparency – which means enhanced roles for both national parliaments and the European Parliament , and a deeper political union to match the greater integration in the economic union.
Maroš Šefčovič also stressed the importance of Europe's place in the 21st century globalised world, referring in particular to the proposed new free trade agreement with the United States, which the Commission hopes to be able to start negotiating soon.
When the world's two biggest economies agree on standards and norms, they effectively become the global standards, he said. In this way, the EU and US have a real chance to frame the way the world does business – and strengthen their respective positions in a future world where the balance of economic power is expected to shift to the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).
Also at Globsec, Maroš Šefčovič took time to speak to young European diplomats, students and entrepreneurs at the Globsec Young Leaders Forum. There he shared his own personal experiences as a diplomat, ambassador and Commissioner, as well as offering advice on how to cope with the pressure of modern life.