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Van Rompuy: reforms in the EU are “starting to bear fruit”

    Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, met on September 5th EU Heads of Delegation at their Annual Conference in Brussels. In his address he openly spoke about challenges and prospects of today’s EU, saying that crisis is “complex”, but the reforms launched by the Union are “starting to bear fruit”.
    “Some of these decisions would have been unthinkable two years ago,” he says.
    Van Rompuy criticized too simplified visions of the current crisis. He quotes Einstein saying that “for every problem there is a solution that is clear and simple and wrong”. “In our case, there are several such clear, simple and wrong solutions. For instance: just let Greece go from the eurozone, or just pump money unconditionally into the system, or magically create a US-style federal state”. Neither of these simplistic solutions is able to provide sustainable response to the crisis, Van Rompuy says.
    As he adds, today “there is a genuine willingness amongst EU leaders to address the systemic nature of the crisis” and “to finish a house half-built”. “And this is new”.
    “All now acknowledge that the crisis is not only the sum of individual countries' problems, but also the result of deficiencies in the Economic and Monetary Union architecture. All are now willing to put every issue on the table, without taboos,” he argues, adding that if the EU wants investors to buy 10-year government bonds, it should understand that the investors “expect an answer on what the Eurozone will look like in ten years' time”.
    Van Rompuy welcomes the fact that “the reform efforts by individual Member States are starting to bear fruit”. “A recent report shows how two key indicators for competitiveness, 'unit labour costs' and trade deficits, are improving”. “There is now much more convergence on economic developments and policies than two years ago,” he says.
    Today the EU intends to build four unions able to enhance and deepen its integration:
    (i) a banking union - to avoid tax payers systematically picking up the bills for bank failures;
    (ii) a fiscal union - to avoid unsustainable deficits, including through central enforcement and solidarity mechanisms;
    (iii) an economic union - to jointly improve competitiveness of the euro area as a whole;
    (iv) and a deeper political union - to ensure that these measures are underpinned by strengthened democratic legitimacy and accountability.
    Van Rompuy denies that the European Union is “faced with the stark choice between either breaking-up or turning instantly into a federation”. This vision is wrong, since the EU “will overcome the crisis not through revolution, but through reform and evolution”.
    In his speech he also addressed the EU relations with the Eastern Partnership countries. “In all these countries' efforts for economic and political reform you can feel the Union’s power of attraction at work,” he says.
    Van Rompuy also underlines the importance to develop free trade areas with the EU’s partners, saying that “the European Council must continue to support ongoing and upcoming FTA negotiations”.
    He concluded his speech with an emphasis on EU values. “History is on the side of our values,” he says, adding that “the world has never been as democratic as it is today” and “this should give us confidence”.

Публікація від 6 вересня, 2012 р.

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