Je me suis exprimé ce matin à Washington lors d’une table ronde au German Marshall Fund for the United States sur le thème « Reprise en Europe : la marche à suivre ». J’y présente les dernières perspectives économiques au sein de l’Union européenne et en zone euro et la stratégie économique de la Commission centrée sur le triangle vertueux vers plus d’investissement, des réformes structurelles d’ampleur et une politique budgétaire favorable à la croissance.
Roundtable at the German Marshall Fund for the United States
Washington, DC, Thursday 16 April 2015, 8.45-10.00am
The recovery in Europe – the way forward
Thank you for the introduction. I am very happy to be with you here this morning at the GMF for my first public event on the occasion of my first IMF Spring Meetings as European Commissioner.
In fact, I am a seasoned participant in these meetings as the former finance minister of France. But now I am here not as a Frenchman, but as a European – much as I continue to love the country I know best, as we say at the European Commission.
I firmly believe in the value of our transatlantic relationship.
And let me also say that I am here as a convinced Atlanticist. I firmly believe in the value of our transatlantic relationship. More than ever in this turbulent and unstable world, we need to nurture this relationship in all its forms – political, strategic, cultural, and of course economic. So I am pleased also for this reason to be hosted today by an organisation that works so tirelessly to promote understanding between the two sides of “the Pond” and to advance the transatlantic policy debate.
Let me briefly outline to you the outlook for the European economy and in particular for the eurozone.
The good news is that the recovery has picked up in recent months and we expect that 2015 will be the first year since before the financial crisis in which every EU economy will enjoy positive growth.
The good news is that the recovery has picked up in recent months and we expect that 2015 will be the first year since before the financial crisis in which every EU economy will enjoy positive growth. Moreover, this growth will be mainly driven by domestic demand.
A spate of developments are supporting this improved outlook: the decline in oil prices; the depreciation of the euro against the dollar; the launch of the ECB’s quantitative easing programme; but also the Investment Plan for Europe which is on track to start delivering in the coming months.
Of course, we are all too aware that we have a long way to go before the recovery is sufficiently strong for us to be able to say the crisis is truly behind us in Europe. No one in the European Commission is complacent about this – far from it.
This is reflected in the fact that both President Juncker and I have called this “the Commission of the last chance”. The crisis has cast a long shadow over our societies. It has caused great hardship for millions of households across Europe, especially, of course, for those Europeans who have lost their jobs, and those of our young people who have perhaps never yet been able to find a job.
And the European Union – perhaps inevitably, in view of its increased prominence in economic policymaking and greater presence in people’s lives – has become the target of much of popular discontent. We are well aware of this, and when we talk about a last chance, this is what we mean. These are the people for whom we need to deliver.
Europe can face up to its challenges, and we are determined to ensure that it does.
But make no mistake, our mood is not one of desperation, but of determination. Europe can face up to its challenges, and we are determined to ensure that it does.
Our economic strategy is centred on delivering a “virtuous triangle” of increased investment, more far-reaching structural reforms, and responsible, growth-friendly fiscal policies.
To increase investment, we are working with our Member States to improve the investment environment – by creating a better business environment and a genuine Europe-wide capital markets union. We are putting in place a plan, centred on a new European Fund for Strategic Investments, to deliver up to 315 billion euros in new investment by 2017.