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Debates
Tuesday, 4 May 2004 - Strasbourg OJ edition

European economic and social model
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  Podobnik (PPE-DE ).(SL) Mr President, there are many important rooms in our collective European home. There are political, economic, cultural, spiritual rooms and also social rooms. I am convinced that both the European social and economic model are extremely important, if not crucial, for the cohesion of the European Union. The essence of this model could be boiled down to the simple statement that you have brought together both competition and solidarity.

According to data from research carried out by Pew Global Survey, the views held by both Eastern and Western Europeans, with regard to the market and the social system that should be guaranteed by the state, have a large number of points in common. This is why today the citizens of ten new countries, including my country, Slovenia, tend to ask two main questions. Are the days of the previous European social and economic model numbered, and will the European social market model survive in the EU of 25 States? My reply is that it will. It must survive. Of course it will have to respond to numerous changes, for example negative demographic trends, rising healthcare and pension costs and also a more balanced representation of both sexes in the labour market.

I would like to mention the contents of a report prepared for the European Commission by a group of experts led by Jacques Sapir, which clearly calls for European Cohesion Funds to be redirected to the accession States. In this way they will be available to the people that need them most. I am convinced that the EU must offer the accession States the same conditions that were offered to the new members in each previous round of enlargement. Up to now, to be frank, the founder members of the European Union have had priority in the distribution of funds.

 
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