EC President calls for greater solidarity in the Eurozone

European Council president Herman Van Rompuy has praised efforts to ensure the financial stability of the Euro area, in particular the enhancement of the European Financial Stability Fund, but cautioned that further measures must be taken.

Van Rompuy’s comments followed the European Council’s tripartite social summit that took place on the morning of October 17. The aim of the summit was to discuss how to enhance trust and social dialogue to sustain recovery and structural change in the Euro area.

The summit was attended by the heads of state, government and employment ministers of Poland, Denmark and Cyprus, the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, the employment commissioner and the presidents of the principal European employers’ and trade union organisations.

We print a copy of Van Rompuy’s statement here:

Remarks by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy following the Tripartite Social Summit

This Social Summit has taken place a week before the European Council and the euro area summit on Sunday 23 October.

Social dialogue at European and national level certainly continues to be essential in times of crisis when tensions naturally arise. Our model is based on consultation and as great a consensus as possible. Guaranteeing the financial stability of the euro area is the most important contribution that can be made for ensuring economic growth and employment.

Great efforts have already been made in this connection: by the European Parliament, which in September and October approved the “six-pack” on economic governance and by 17 parliaments in the euro countries, which approved a more flexible European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

But we must go further. For weeks the Commission and I have already been working on a comprehensive package to create more confidence in the financial sector and in the sovereign bonds of countries under pressure. Restoring that confidence is necessary in order to restore another type of confidence: that of consumers and companies.

Economic growth and employment bear the brunt of a loss of confidence. A great deterioration in growth prospects adversely affects public finance and bond markets. Everything is in everything. All is in all. That is why we must adopt a comprehensive approach.

The European Union is not alone in experiencing growth problems. Our major global actors are confronted either with high government deficits and sluggish structural economic growth, or with inflation and a counter-inflationary policy. We all have to put our own houses in order and also work together.

In the Union itself we shall have to join forces to avoid a very strong growth lag and pursue a policy to stabilise the euro area. We must therefore ensure that the inevitable budget restructuring is as growth- and job-friendly as possible. We must reallocate income and expenditure at all levels to that end. A policy mix must be found that focuses on investment and a better labour, training and education market.

Not-financial factors also are growth-enhancing: the deepening of the Single Market, reducing the burden on small and medium-sized businesses in the digital market, increasing export opportunities in global markets via trade agreements. That is also what is being attempted in the United States.

At the same time, we must pay greater attention to poverty and inequality that has been rising for many years and which can be further exacerbated by worse economic times.

The Union continues to work to strengthen its structural economic potential and its competitiveness via the EU-2020 strategy and the Commission proposals for 2014-2020, which make the EU budget an investment budget even more than in the past. Jobs and growth are part of a comprehensive strategy and are at the same time our main objective. Everything is connected, all is in all and viceversa.

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