Commission President José Manuel Barroso sets out a EU strategy for sustainable growth and jobs in his annual State of the Union speech to the European Parliament.
“We are now facing the greatest challenge our Union has ever known throughout its history,” he said, referring to the continuing economic crisis.
The EU must renew itself by becoming more competitive, living within its means, taming “irresponsible” financial markets, addressing economic imbalances and addressing the pressures of globalisation.
Above all, more political will and leadership is needed to rebuild confidence and trust – among its citizens and in the financial markets.
The Commission’s full reform agenda needs to be implemented so Europe can create sustainable growth and jobs.
The agenda includes:
continuing support for Greece – eurozone countries have pledged to provide support, provided the country successfully implements its reform programme
a new system of financial regulation – some of the proposals have been adopted and others are awaiting approval, such as new rules on derivatives, short selling, credit default swaps and fair remuneration for bankers
a financial transaction tax – a contribution back to society from financial institutions. Some of the tax would help fund the EU’s proposed budget for 2014-2020, geared towards investment in growth and jobs
preventing tax evasion – through an EU savings tax and providing the Commission with the mandate to negotiate tax agreements on behalf of the EU with other countries
strengthening economic union – removing legal and administrative barriers to trade in services across the EU (the proposed Services Directive)
investing in research, innovation, resource efficiency and education – detailed proposals need to be adopted
connecting Europe’s energy, transport and digital networks
addressing youth unemployment – providing more support for internships and apprenticeships, and accelerating other EU programmes.
The Commission will also present proposals for EU project bonds, which would raise money for investment in infrastructure projects across Europe.
We can renew Europe, he said.
President Barroso’s speech – State of the Union 2011
Letter by President Barroso to the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek
Citizens can submit questions to President Barroso up to 5 October. He will answer them in a live interview, which will be broadcast on World View and Euronews TV.