Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-165"

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"Madam President, there is no single European social model. The social security systems of our twenty-five states were forged at different stages of history, and resulted from very different social struggles involving trade unionists and politicians. There is, however, a sort of European social exception: the general awareness among our peoples that the economy must serve the well-being of society and of the environment. The market, although indispensable, deals only with supply and demand at one given time. It cannot predict the future or prepare strategic choices for balanced development. That is still the noblest task of politics. It was on our continent that social policy and the Welfare State were invented. Having shaped our respective lifestyles, social policy will determine our future. This Europe of ours must be social or it will perish. The citizens of our twenty-five countries will identify themselves with Europe only when, and in so far as, the EU manages to demonstrate in practical ways its ability to improve living conditions for every citizen. Future enlargements will be possible only if Europe makes every individual more prosperous. At present, the public have doubts about the future; let me quote what Jacques Delors had to say on the subject: ‘When times are hard (...) there is a tangible decline in confidence in the European project’. Europe’s ambitions cannot be bounded by the great market or by free trade alone. The siren song of the liberals promises us more freedom and more material comfort by way of deregulation or liberalisation in which no holds are barred. Yes, it is sometimes necessary to break companies’ shackles, to break up monopolies and secure incomes, but the end-product of deregulation – if it does not give way to better rules – is the law of the jungle. New freedoms must go hand in hand with equal opportunities, and be rounded off by unfailing solidarity with the weakest members of our societies. European and economic policy cannot be limited to prudent monetary policy and the monitoring of Budget deficits. Let me forcibly reiterate that we Socialists regard stability as a public good, one that must be defended in the interests of the poorest in society. Without growth, however, stability leads to a social desert. Europe must back up its ambitions with Budget resources, giving priority to future expenditure. Investment in human capital, in research, and in infrastructure, will create the conditions for the public’s aspirations to be met, with the right to work, to health, to housing, to be comfortably off and to enjoy a decent retirement. Let me remind you of Jacques Delors’ celebrated three-pronged approach: ‘Competition to stimulate, cooperation to strengthen, and solidarity to unite’! ‘ ’ was the keyword that at last demolished the Iron Curtain and made the political unification of Europe possible. Solidarity should still be the guiding principle for this our Europe; solidarity at home in order to promote a social Europe, but also solidarity with those beyond our borders. Europe must be in the front line fighting for true globalisation, which is socially, environmentally and economically inclusive, in that it does not leave by the wayside billions of people living across two-thirds of the planet."@en1

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