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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Systems & Data Lead – Oxfordshire – Permanent – Up to £24k

£20000 - £24000 Per Annum 28 days holiday, free parking, pension: Clearwater P...

Digital Media Manager

£38000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Primary Supply Teacher

£115 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...

Primary Supply Teacher in Stevenage

£115 - £121 per day: Randstad Education Luton: primary teacher Hertfordshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

August catch-up: second languages, the secret of love and is it all right to call someone stupid?

John Rentoul
High and mighty: Edinburgh Castle and city skyline  

i Editor's Letter: We're coming to Edinburgh

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?