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26 June 2013

EU Politicians, be more ambitious!

The crisis has revealed the limits and contradictions of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the policy of austerity: deprived of any tools of economic governance, the euro has proved too fragile. Faced with this reality, politicians have no choice but to go down the path of much-needed reform. If they are unable to summon up the courage and political will which they lacked in 2000, the very future of the euro and the European social model will be in danger.

By promoting austerity, Europe has merely undermined itself, deepening the recession even further. The crisis has exposed the contradictions inherent in the structure of EMU, which has lacked the governance and the transfer of competences from the Member States which are so necessary. Faced with the urgency of this situation and given that the current Treaties allow the requisite measures to be taken, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) advocates a course of action that can no longer be ignored: the completion of the EMU.

In addition, the unacceptable deterioration in the living conditions of millions of European men and women means that there is an even greater need to rethink the EU's social dimension. This is why the EESC – whose opinion was sought by President Van Rompuy as early as January 2013 – believes that Europe must equip the EMU with a social pillar, a European social action programme based on three core elements:

  • reindustrialisation, fostering entrepreneurship, optimising training;

  • the fight against unemployment, guaranteeing social rights, social investment;

  • a reformed and more balanced form of governance.

In the long term, the EU will be unable to avoid making fundamental changes to the Treaties: implementing a genuine form of European economic governance; moving towards political and social union, with the involvement of the social partners; strengthening the role of the EU at international level.

The people of Europe expect the launch of a genuinely ambitious strategy to exit the crisis. The EESC feels that the worrying scale of youth unemployment requires a more credible EU budget than the inadequate EUR 6 billion as compared to the 60 billion granted to the banks. Equally, it stresses that numerous avenues have yet to be explored within civil society itself, initiatives such as Social Eurobonds or the European network for educating unemployed workers or the Cross-border training vouchers.

For more information, please contact:

EESC Press Unit


Tel.: +32 2 546 8722


The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the EU decision-making process. The Committee has 344 members from across Europe, who are appointed by the Council of the European Union.

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