Governments must work to ensure a fragile European economic recovery is maintained, European Commission president José Manuel Barroso has said. As the euro zone economy returns to growth, he warned there was “no way back to business as usual”. Mr Barroso said the economic crisis of the past five years was a structural one and “we have to shape a new normal”.
You Tube Video: Barroso’s State of the Union address 2013
The biggest risk to recovery is a lack of political will among individual member states, he told MEPS during his “State of the European Union” address in Strasbourg this morning.
Five years since the start of the financial crisis, EU measures are starting to yield positive results, Mr Barroso said, but he added that significant challenges remain.
The rate of unemployment, at 26 million, was “economically unsustainable, politically untenable, and socially unacceptable”.
He said countries that wavered from implementing economic reforms would inevitably suffer.
Mr Barroso noted the economies of bailout countries were improving.
Referring to Ireland, he said the country has been able to draw money from capital markets since 2012, the economy is expected to grow for the third year in a row, and industrial employment is on the up. “One swallow does not make a summer” but “it does prove we are on the right track,” he added.
“Now is the time to rise above truly national interests and parochial values,”he said. “In this phase of the crisis, a government’s job is to provide certainty and predictability that markets still lack,” he continued.
“Over the last years we have seen that anything that casts doubt on a government’s commitment to reform is instantly punished.”
He said that the continent still needed to win the trust of its citizens. With the European Parliamentary election coming up in eight months, Mr Barroso implored the MEPs to convince the electorate of the positive work of the EU.
He told MEPs that when he attended the recent G20 meeting he did not receive lessons from other parts of the world on how to deal with the crisis—as he had at previous summits.
Instead foreign leaders offered “appreciation and encouragement” for what the continent was doing. He said because of the efforts of the European institutions, countries now pay less to borrow money, stock markets are in a healthier position and industrial output has increased.
Mr Barroso called on members to work together to reform their economies and adapt to new institutional architecture. “First and foremost,” he said, banking union needs to be delivered and the legislative process on the single supervisory mechanism must be completed.
Mr Barosso, whose terms ends next year, also referred to new single market telecommunications proposals. He said a proposal aimed at creating a single market for telecoms would be formally adopted today.
He said in the future trade will be increasingly digital and it was a “paradox” that there is currently a single market for goods, but 28 internal markets for digital services. Source: The Irish Times