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 Full text 
Procedure : 2013/2194(INI)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 25/02/2014 - 4
CRE 25/02/2014 - 4

Votes :

PV 25/02/2014 - 5.21

Texts adopted :


Tuesday, 25 February 2014 - Strasbourg Revised edition

4. European Semester for economic policy coordination: annual growth survey 2014 - European Semester for economic policy coordination: employment and social aspects - Single market governance (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Corien Wortmann-Kool, on behalf of the PPE Group . – Mr President, when we debate this year’s annual growth survey, we do so with much more assurance and trust than a year ago. We have not yet left the crisis fully behind us; however, thanks to joint and concerted efforts, we have overcome its most critical part. We are working our way out slowly but surely. Unit labour costs are decreasing; current accounts are improving and, after 18 months of stagnation, growth has been picking up since early 2013.

We are returning to healthier public finances, but we have not yet experienced a turnaround on the job market. However, this will come. It is the consequence of this development, but unfortunately it is always lagging behind. The first changes become visible when, for instance, you look at Portugal’s figures. Those who saw everything going down the drain, those who only criticised and made the maximum amount of noise, they were wrong. We can make it provided we do not slow down. Rather, we must step up our ambition, because we have to continue with determination.

This House has negotiated many important proposals in the past years and months. It will help to stabilise our economies and stimulate growth, and on behalf of the EPP I would like to thank President Barroso and Vice-President Rehn for the determination – the determination of your Commission – which you have shown. You have rejected fatalism from many sides. Europe has been in good hands and the EPP also fully supports your approach in the 2014 Semester. Our group wants a strong Commission, an independent Commission. The best rules are of no use if there is no strong referee to implement them.

Today’s debate is the occasion to look at our Member States and pay tribute to the efforts many courageous women and men have made. The reforms, for instance, carried out by the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Irish and the Greek governments deserve our respect. We are aware of the great challenges that the Cypriot Government is facing. Let us not forget that many of them have only inherited the extremely difficult problems in their countries. They have shown courage and accepted the responsibility which voters entrusted in them. I would like to underline that a vital role for social dialogue is essential to achieving sustainable reforms.

The cure is starting to bear fruit, it is paying off. The structural reforms are sometimes painful and we should never forget how many Europeans are hit very hard without having the slightest responsibility for the problems of the past. But we have to solve the problems of over-indebtedness and lack of competitiveness. We have to think of the future, of our children, their jobs and their future. Delaying reforms would cause even more hardship. Therefore, I am sure we are laying the right foundations to give young Europeans a brighter future and offer them jobs instead of debt.

But we still have great challenges ahead. We have to beat the unacceptable unemployment figures. Therefore, we have to unleash the investment potential, but we also have to step up our efforts for structural reforms with great ambitions. Look at what happens in countries like France and Italy. They also have to step up in order to achieve good results for all of us.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

Last updated: 2 May 2014Legal notice