”Europe needs an agenda that does not only identify and discuss the real problems and the underlying causes of our dire straits, but also one that suggests credible solutions. It is actually quite simple: a lack of competitiveness that makes our countries, firms and people less well off than they would otherwise be requires reforms aimed at making the economies more competitive.Thats why we need to go back to the roots of the European Union. That is the European Agenda. It is not new but today it requires new perspectives. ”
So much we need to do. So much we could do. Europe is challenged, both when it comes to our fundamental values and peace and security.
Russian warfare in Europe is a breach against international agreements and international law and a violation of the sovereignty and freedom of Ukraine, but also a threat to all other countries in the focus of the Putin regime, undermining the European peace order.
ISIS is emerging as an evil empire in a new form, warring and terrorising, the logic of power making atrocities and contempt for human life a norm. It is destabilising a region, with national structures artificially formed a hundred years ago now falling down together with civilisation. The destabilisation is a threat in itself, the waves of refugees a human tragedy and a challenge for any civilised society, while the terror and the asymmetric warfare are projected against democracy regardless of borders.
The economic crisis means unemployment and shrinking prosperity, undermining social cohesion and inclusion, fostering tensions between groups of people. It weakens our leadership and limits our capacities as well as our room for manoeuvre in a time when we need to navigate into new territories of policies and visions.
Poverty, stagnation and jobless people give room for tensions and conflicts of the kind that the European Union is formed to eliminate. Extremism, hate, discontent, frustration and centrifugal powers of our societies and the Union will never be defeated unless we can show that growth can come, prosperity increase by hard work and innovations, freedom can give room for responsibility and respect and cooperation for reconciliation.
The European Union is the world’s biggest economy. Together with the US we form a transatlantic economy corresponding to nearly 40 trillion dollars, compared to a shrinking Russian GDP of less than 2, or the growing GDP of China still not more than 9. So the magnitude of power of the leading democracies creates a foundation on which to defend our values in all areas where economic strength is fundamental. This applies to military power to defend ourselves, to economic development and free trade do defeat poverty and gain prosperity, to political influence for all those who in weak democracies look for freedom as an opportunity and prosperity as a proof.
To take the lead of the digital economy, to reform the environmental agenda with new technologies and opportunities instead of restrictions and limits, to fight the greenhouse effect, to show the way for market economy and open societies.
This can’t be done without economic resources, innovative leadership, a competitive industry, leading start-ups, taking benefit of the energy and creativity of citizens, a liberalisation of men and women from old and restricting categories to individuality that gives force. We need reforms. To awaken Europe. To go back to our most fundamental agenda of open borders, competition, social inclusion, integration and internal market where no borders can hinder the constructive energy of millions of Greeks, Swedes, Estonians, Germans, Brits and all others. It’s only if we believe we are already doing our best that we should be complacent and turn away from reforms. If we know we can do better and understand we can do it, then the map is clear. A European Agenda.
It is my hope that the reflections in “A European Agenda” will put forward a debate about the big issues where we can make Europe do the best. Europe can only be the leading economy of the world by going forward, by reforming, not by preserving and not by hesitating. If things are to proceed the way they have proceeded, then things will turn out as they have turned out.
We can do better if we want to.
Member of the European Parliament”
Read it here ”The European Agenda”