EESC president Staffan Nilsson appreciates the efforts made by European Council president Herman Van Rompuy to achieve compromise and agreement among all Member States and thus pave the way for the adoption of the future budget. It is good that a deal is struck, but the results are disappointing.
There is a mismatch between what the leaders of the EU Member States have agreed on the EU's long-term strategy for job-creation and policies for sustainable growth, innovation, education and research, and what they have agreed on how these policies are to be implemented. The EESC has consistently called for more Europe and has also been clear that we cannot have more Europe yet still pay less for it. This runs counter to the goal of inclusive growth and requires serious efforts to find long-term solutions, including (i) support from public funds for inclusive jobs, (ii) innovation, with the aim of maintaining an active labour market, and (iii) retraining activities, with the aim of adapting education to the future needs of the job market.
To compete on the international stage, we need to work for a single, stronger EU economy. A strong budget forges a stronger, social, inclusive and responsible European economy. In the MFF negotiations, EU leaders simply could not see the wood for the trees. We expect that the European Parliament will continue to call for a stronger EU budget that reflects a real desire to invest in the future of the EU and in future generations. The EESC continues to call for a renewed system of EU own resources budget. This will make it possible for the EU to invest in those areas where the Member States are weakest.
Let us not confuse balancing national budgets with balancing the EU's budget. Europe's competitiveness comes at a cost, the cost of long-term investment, sustainable jobs and a vision for the future.