Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2016-02-24-Speech-1-152-000"

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"Madam President, we are at an important moment for the European Semester because Parliament can deliver today three important reports which deal with a situation that is quite unique in the European Union. We are dealing with overlapping crises and, if you want to cope with these overlapping crises, it is certain that we need to strengthen the internal cohesion of the European Union. This will depend a lot on delivering a much stronger and more balanced recovery. I have the pleasure to present today the report adopted by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. I am very grateful to my colleagues, because I believe that it was possible to reach a very useful compromise with real added value for the situation in the European Union. The starting point of our report is to say that the European Semester should be used to pursue the rebalancing of our budgets and relevant reforms, but also to implement the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, because we believe that, in the end, the future of Europe will depend on this kind of competitiveness geared to the future, based on energy transition, digital solutions and bringing about more and better jobs. But if this is the case, the policy mix should be fully supported for this ambition. This means that in the policy mix to be implemented in the coming year, pushing for investment should be a top priority. This means making the best of the available tools, starting with the European investment plan, but also completing the banking union to make access to credit much easier for small and medium-sized enterprises. We do, of course, also need reforms, but we believe that we need a second generation of reforms pushing for education, innovation and good public administration and ensuring sustainable welfare systems. And, of course, we need to pursue the fiscal rebalancing of our budgets, but in such a way that we do not undermine this pro-growth move and the strategic investment we need to address. We should also take into account the fact that Europe is confronted with new challenges, security issues and, in particular, the refugee crisis. I believe that the most important value in our report is the way to manage the euro area, because we recognise that the euro area is an economic entity deserving an appropriate policy mix. That is why we recommend that the investment gap which is there in the euro area should be addressed by sharing the contributions from different countries, particularly those with more fiscal space. The same should happen when it comes to reducing macroeconomic imbalances because, on the one hand, we need more-competitive countries to expand internal demand and, on the other, we need less-competitive countries to increase their competitiveness – not by reducing wages and social conditions but rather by investing in the future. These are important conclusions. We believe that it is crucial to organise upward convergence in the eurozone, assuming that economic and social objectives should be treated in the same way. This can only be delivered if we complete economic and monetary union with a fiscal capacity and the banking union."@pt2

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