Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-205"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the European Council is in the habit of producing declarations that may be visionary or even grandiose, but are certainly useful. One of these was produced at Lisbon in 2000, where the Heads of State or Government presented us with a strategy extending over ten years, in which time it aimed to make the European Union the most competitive and most dynamic economy in the world. According to this strategy, a strong economy will stimulate the creation of jobs and will encourage social and environmental policies ensuring sustainable development and social cohesion, which boils down to something that is not the work of a genius and is almost a truism, and, for students of economics and all the acolytes of the social market economy, a post-war concept. Now that this legislative period is coming to an end, we, the former members, and the new ones whom we have welcomed this week, are quite rightly concerned about the opportunities for implementing the Lisbon strategy. Within this framework, though, the question at issue is whether we can maintain the European social model in the Europe of twenty-five, which will tomorrow be twenty-seven or even more, is the one that bothers me most of all. Can we agree that, if the European social model is to be saved, we must not abandon a certain amount of regulation of the market economy compatible with an adequate standard of social security? This means that certain public services, such as education, health, or culture, would have to escape wholesale privatisation, whilst still being required to enhance their efficiency and keep their costs under control. If we are to relaunch growth and competitiveness while reducing unemployment, it is not absolutely necessary to dismantle our provident democracy, to abandon redistribution aimed at strengthening cohesion, let alone to abandon our familiar solidarity now that we are in the enlarged EU. Nevertheless, the speeding up of reforms is an essential condition if the European social model is to be saved in the West and extended to the East, for the only thing that engenders solidarity is the awareness of common interests. Above all, I hope that the new Parliament, to be elected on 13 June, will be able, on the basis of this evidence, to save the European social model as an integral part of the aims and objectives of European integration, even if it means that these have to be redefined by all the political and social actors, among whom this House will have a leading role and primary responsibility. Mr President, this is not a testament, for I want to carry on working here, but I was keen to share with you my profound convictions on this matter."@en1

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