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Speech to the European Council, 27 June 2013 by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament

EU institutions face a test of their credibility by failing to act on promised reforms, warned Martin Schulz. The EP president spoke out at the opening of the EU summit dedicated to tackling youth unemployment, which takes place in Brussels on 27-28 June. “Ordinary people are increasingly losing faith in the ability and the willingness of democratic institutions to take action,” he said, putting down the gauntlet for member states to finally agree on concrete measures.

Mr Schulz said many promises had been made about ensuring financial products and markets would once again be subject to proper regulation and scrutiny, but that these measures were still far from being implemented. He pointed to the delays in establishing a banking union, the lack of investment in growth and jobs, the shortage of measures to boost growth and the hesitation to take decisions on the future development of the Economic and Monetary Union.

Mr Schulz was also concerned about the failure to tackle youth unemployment. “It is simply unacceptable that young people should be paying with their life chances for a crisis for which they are entirely blameless,” he said, adding: “What we, the current generation of politicians, owe these young people are good ideas, courage and prompt action in order to generate growth at long last.” Mr Schulz said the most effective means of creating jobs and thus combating youth unemployment was economic growth.

The EP president called for urgent action on all of these matters to help revive the economy and reminded the heads of state and government present at the summit that the cost of the crisis was being borne by ordinary people: “In many EU countries people have been forced to accept drastic pay and pension cuts. (…) The consolidation programmes may be necessary, but in some cases they have imposed too great a burden on society.”

An agreement on the EU’s long-term budget that offers flexibility and additional funds for priorities such as the fight against youth unemployment and research and investment in small and medium-sized companies should also prove vital, said Mr Schulz. A provisional deal on this was reached on Thursday and the EP president called on the Council to back it.