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Brussels, 18 October 2012

EUCO 192/12


PR PCE 164

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

More than ever these days, the social dialogue plays a crucial role- in our Member States and at European level. This is something I emphasised in my interim report on strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union.

Since our last meeting in March, much has been done in the Member States and at European level to get us out of the current crisis. We now witness the first results from our continued actions. Let me give a few examples from the past weeks. The so-called spreads are decreasing substantially in almost all euro area countries; public deficits are now lower in many countries; competitiveness increased in Spain, Portugal and Ireland among others; export performances are now stronger then they were a few years ago; the June European Council decision on a common European bank supervisor was a mayor breakthrough and we launched a few days ago the European Stability Mechanism.

These first results are encouraging. But we are still clearly suffering a lot from a lack of growth and increasing unemployment: 25 million people are unemployed in the Union, especially among young people, and growth projections for next year in the Eurozone remain on average very modest.

Therefore, creating jobs and boosting inclusive growth remains our utmost priority, our ultimate goal. The commitments made under the Compact for Growth and Jobs need to be followed by decisive action now.

I insist on making quick progress on these actions, in particular with regard to the implementation of the 120 billion euro package, progressing on the Single Market issues, and achieving the Digital Single Market by 2015, quality job creation and social inclusion, promoting research and development, enhancing the competitiveness of industry, implementing the EU 2020 Strategy and harnessing the potential of international trade All those issues are on the agenda of the European Council this afternoon and tomorrow morning.

Our actions can only be successful if we also return to financial stability in the eurozone. The European Council of June gave me the mandate to work on a roadmap to bring the Economic Monetary Union to completion. I do this in close cooperation with the President of the European Commission, and the Presidents of the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank.

Over the past weeks, all Member States as well as the European Parliament and its President have been consulted. Today and tomorrow, I will explore some new ideas with the European leaders. The exchange of views we had at our Social Summit today, was useful in this regard. One of the ideas is to promote structural reforms through arrangements of a contractual nature on structural reforms to promote growth and jobs. We will discuss orientations for final conclusions on the EMU report, which I will submit to the European Council in December.

In the meanwhile, we will discuss in November the Multiannual Financial Framework at the European Council. We need a growth-oriented EU budget. Although this budget represents only 1% of European GDP, it can have a huge impact on growth.

Today, I once again underlined that the reforms that we are taking are more effective if they are supported by society. This is why our social dialogue remains essential.

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