Archive for 23 Maio, 2013

«Democracy, Jobs and Growth in Europe»

The economic turmoil of the past several years has pushed Europe toward greater integration, starting with financial stabilization and a banking union that is still a work in progress. Everyone now recognizes that a single currency zone without a common fiscal policy invites the kind of crisis we have all been experiencing.

Europe has reached this stage grudgingly and with great strain, through agreements among national government leaders in which many see the largest and most powerful states as undemocratically foisting their policies on the rest. Especially in Italy, Greece and Spain, where the social costs of adjustment have been high, a backlash against the very idea of Europe is under way. […]

What is manifestly clear is that European citizens will not follow the path of reform and further integration unless they have a voice in shaping its course — and unless there is a common, emergency jobs program that shows that Europe works.

There are several lessons to be learned from the reform efforts we have seen so far in Europe.

First: There is a gap between the time the painful decisions are made and the time when the reforms take effect. This can — as in Germany — take up to five years. It can be problematic for politicians when elections take place during this time span, as we’ve just seen in Italy.

Second: Structural reforms can only work in conjunction with growth. In general, the current debate is a repeat of the one we already held in 2003 and 2004 concerning the European Stability and Growth Pact. In reforming that pact, it was not the intent of Germany and France to weaken the criteria. Rather, we were concerned about strengthening the pact’s growth aspect, because Germany was not able at the time to support billions in savings alongside reform policies.

Germany must now give its European partners this same opportunity. Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain have made progress in restructuring their finances. Cyprus will also have to go this route.

The economic and political situation in these countries also shows that savings alone is not a means for overcoming the crisis. On the contrary: There is a risk that national economies will be quasi-strangled by the strict austerity policy. To the degree that they are making structural reforms, they also need help, as these countries show. […]

A key area here is the fight against youth unemployment in Europe. We cannot accept that a “lost generation” is growing up in Europe because in many countries more than half of the young people are without jobs. European leaders attending the Berggruen Institute’s “town hall” meeting in Paris on Tuesday will address this issue with a proposed “new deal for Europe.” […]

Beyond this, the May 2014 elections for the European Parliament present the opportunity to give all European citizens a voice in our common future. For the first time since the founding of the European Union, the strongest parties of the new Parliament will be able to select the executive leadership of Europe — the president of the European Commission. Heretofore, the president has been appointed by the European Council, which represents member nations.

If European citizens participate robustly in this election, the new commission president will have the same democratic legitimacy accorded any national leader in a parliamentary system. […]

Europe can work again if governments, trade unions, business and civil society all join together to support a new initiative on youth unemployment and the 2014 efforts to bring greater democracy and legitimacy to European government.

(Gerhard Schröder e Jacques Delors – The New York Times)

23 Maio, 2013 at 8:25 pm Deixe um comentário

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