Rendez-vous with Europe
Three weeks after taking up my post as European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, I want to share my first impressions, to present my portfolio as well as my first dossiers, and some of my firmly held views about Europe’s priorities for the next five years.
Europe is demanding, the European institutions require a full commitment towards a just and shared project.
Since the 1st of November, I have been a European Commissioner, a member of the college chaired by Jean-Claude Juncker. I had prepared myself for these responsibilities, which are the continuity of my commitment to the service of my country and Europe for more than 20 years. These responsibilities are, to me, an achievement both personally and professionally. One does not take such responsibilities lightly. Europe is demanding, the European institutions require a full commitment towards a just and shared project. My mandate, within the Commission, lasts for five years. During these years, I will be fully engaged in the challenging and thrilling role that I have taken up. I am a firm believer in the Community method; I have a profound respect for the European institutions: I know their functioning as I have been, over the years, an actor within the Council of Ministers and in the European Parliament. I am convinced that the European Commission, though, is at the heart of the Community method, and that it has a crucial leadership role to play — or to regain — over the next few years, in order to serve the general European interest.
The Juncker Commission has a rendez-vous with Europe, with its citizens: a last chance meeting.
The Juncker Commission has a rendez-vous with Europe, with its citizens: a last chance meeting, as shown by the European elections last May that were a serious warning signal. I intend to be present at this rendezvous; I will take initiatives, I will make proposals and produce results. I want to deliver, within the Juncker Commission, an ambitious new vision for the European Union, rejecting the vicious circle of austerity and recession. I am convinced that the Juncker Commission will be better organised, more political and more dynamic than its predecessors, who have also been useful for Europe. The Juncker Commission will embody change. We have an obligation not to disappoint. And for this we must do things differently, and do them faster and better. The Commission is a unique political body, a particular kind of coalition government that embraces 28 Commissioners from all EU countries, with very different political tendencies: 15 conservatives, 8 socialists, 5 liberals. The quality of our relations, and our capacity to build progressive and effective compromises, will be decisive. The working relationships within the college have gotten off to an extremely positive start, because we share the same sense of responsibility and a duty for success. In particular, my dialogues with the Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis and Jyrki Katainen show a common willingness to move forward on our files, building a relationship of trust between us.
We cannot afford another missed rendez-vous with Europe. It would be an unforgivable collective fault to breach the expectations of European citizens, if Europe does not achieve the results that Europeans are entitled to expect. Europe means peace and reconciliation, cooperation, shared values and projects. But this should now be more than that, in the current period of disenchantment: Europe has to produce concrete achievements, growth, employment, support to youth, and investments in large-scale projects. Being European cannot be something abstract, distant, and unclear.
The European project is not an external policy imposed on Member States: Europe is you, Europe is us.
It is time to move from words to action. It is time that Europe becomes once again a source of hope and pride for its citizens, and that Europe ceases to be perceived as a problem or a constraint. The key to success is to solve issues and to produce results. It is time, therefore, that Europe is no longer seen as an external element. The European project is not an external policy imposed on Member States: Europe is you, Europe is us. A modern, strong Europe that fully takes into account the challenges and opportunities of the digital environment, of energy, and of sustainable development. A Europe which develops and deepens its strengths, especially the Economic and Monetary Union and the internal market, and which improves social justice. In short, it is tomorrow’s Europe that we must build upon today.
I am proud to be at the crossroads of the economic challenges brought by President Juncker, organised around the following three components: budgetary seriousness – reforms – investment. Lire la suite