Jacques Delors: The European project can be a vital part of the solution

 

Share
Related Topics

The debt crisis which most Western countries are facing is forcing the EU and its member states to address a fearful dilemma: they need to adopt budgetary adjustment and structural reform while making sure, at the same time, that they hang on to prospects for growth to be able to offer their people hope for the future.

The EU cannot be seen as a community that simply bans deficits by force, be that force legal or political. It must contribute to tackling unemployment and the global slowdown. The EU must be seen to be fulfiling its primary role as a force for growth.

Thus, the EU must achieve the completion of the single market, to make the most of its potential for growth and employment. As Mario Monti's report stressed in 2010, there remains a great deal to be done, particularly in services, the digital economy and public contracts. In its Single Market Act, the European Commission estimated that a growth rate of at least 4 per cent of GDP could be achieved over the next 10 years, and it has recently proposed stepping up the pace.

The EU must also take advantage of its new multiannual budget. It must help to develop European research programmes, and deepen the single market by financing transport, energy and communication infrastructures of common European interest. It is crucial for the €50bn budget the Commission has proposed for 2014-2020 to be approved in 2012, and for this sum then to be put to work in partnership with private funding. After approving the anticipated and more flexible use of the funds earmarked for countries in difficulty, the EU must mobilise an equivalent sum for common European infrastructure projects.

And lastly, the EU, and especially the European Investment Bank, must take the lead in issuing bonds designed to fund future spending, primarily on infrastructure and the environment. This would be a way of responding to massive investment requirements even as the axe is set to fall on such spending in many member states. The EIB is well placed to issue such bonds, and raise its annual funding capability to €200bn (as opposed to the figure of €80bn today) by bolstering the capital and the securities provided by the member states.

These three tools would trigger an almost immediate increase in economic activity and offer medium-term growth. This "growth package" is crucial to ward off the negative economic and social consequences of a continuing flat growth rate, and boost the EU's legitimacy in the eyes of its member states, and the man in the street.

Jacques Delors was European Commission president 1985 - 1995. This article was written in collaboration with Antonio Vitorino,  president of 'Notre Europe', a think-tank founded by Mr Delors

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A pack of seagulls squabble over discarded food left on the beach at St Ives on July 28, 2015  

Number of urban seagulls in Britain nearly quadruples: Hide food and avoid chicks to stay in gulls’ good books

Tom Bawden
 

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms