Let’s discuss what kind of Europe we want, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz said on Monday and presented his three proposals to address the difficulties the Southern countries of the EU are facing.
South for Growth is the right way to go, this is the first step, he said in his speech at the conference organized in Athens under the title “South for Growth”. On a more personal note, Schultz referred to the sacrifices his parents and the whole of their generation in many European countries were called to make after the Second World War ended leaving behind ruined countries. These sacrifices, he said, were made for the future of the children. This was the message, make sacrifices for a better future, for a better life, for peace. The promise was kept, the EP President said, and he went on to say that today we ask people to make sacrifices and we do not care about their children.
Firstly, he said, let’s tackle unemployment among young people and “this is my first proposal, this should be the first step.”
His second proposal is related to the credit crash in Europe. How is it possible the European Central Bank to have a 0.5% interest rate but the Banks are taking the money and spending it, he wondered. “They (the banks) have to inject the money into the economy,” he stressed and pointed out that small and medium enterprises do no lack ideas, they do have projects they want to implement, but they need credit. “We need an investment strategy,” he said.
Following that, Schultz elaborated on his third proposal focusing on the opportunities for development for the Mediterranean countries through their cooperation with their neighboring African countries which have undergone recently major changes due to the uprising of their people, such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia etc. He stressed that these countries are in need of building infrastructure in many and various fields such as sustainable agriculture, water management etc.
Finally, the EP President analyzed his last proposal, the economic cooperation. “My suggestion is to stop this mistrust,” he said and referred to the distinction between South and North pointing out that people in these (southern) countries are as good as the people in the other countries. He then pointed out the need for both structural reforms and a banking union. “We need a banking union,” he said.
Schulz went on to stress that we need the basic elements; Trust of the people, trust of investors, trust of citizens in the future. He also noted that the banking debt destroys consolidation efforts.
Furthermore, Schulz referred to the political developments in Greece and underscored the pointless of violence, describing the recent events as “a real signal of alarm”.
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