Working for a safer, better future for Europe
Building on the good work that has helped the EU onto the path to recovery this year is vital for the future prosperity of Europe, and European leaders must maintain that momentum ahead of the legislative pause caused by next year's European elections.
Agreement on a single resolution mechanism for Europe's banks at the December European Council would allow the next European parliament and Commission mandates to begin in 2014 with a banking union in place, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič told MEPs on 11 December during a European Parliament debate ahead of the summit.
This, he said, would continue with the major economic governance reforms introduced by the EU over the last five years, and would help protect European economies from a repeat of the economic crisis.
But, he argued, completing the banking union is only part of the effort. "We need to underpin our model with an even more credible and coherent system for coordinating economic policies across Europe, coupled with effective solidarity," he said. This is why the European Council will discuss contractual arrangements – binding agreements between Member States and the Commission designed to encourage the completion of reforms and to allow additional funding for them – which he said would encourage "stronger commitment, ownership and implementation – to the benefit of the Euro area and the EU as a whole".
EU leaders will also debate proposals for a deeper defence and security union, looking at the variety of ways in which Europe can strengthen its capacity to act despite widespread reductions in budgets. "It makes no sense that we need seven models of the same helicopters or sixteen types of frigates serving the same purpose, while the US has just one," he told MEPs. "We need to share assets and develop common standards, or we will risk losing critical expertise and autonomy."
A European approach to defence would also help bring greater economies of scale to an industry that already directly employs 400,000 people and indirectly generates another 960,000 jobs in Europe, with a turnover of €96 billion in 2012 alone and €23 billion of exports in 2011, VP Šefčovič underlined.