Stronger political integration is indispensable for the future viability of the European Union and of the currency union. In August 2011 BDA President Dr Dieter Hundt presented his five-point plan for Maastricht II in which all sections of society are invited to reflect on the principles underlying the European idea and to campaign offensively for European unity and further development of integration:
1. Monetary union needs a political union
2. Europe needs binding requirements for economic and financial policy
3. Europe needs Maastricht II
4. Europe needs Member States that are fit for the future
5. Europe is our future
In the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, the European Commission has to evaluate Member States’ reform strategies much more critically and expose deficits in reform efforts unsparingly. This did not happen enough in the past. Only if the Europe 2020 strategy is consistently pursued and implemented effectively will it help to ensure that each Member State aligns itself on the best. This in turn will help to ensure that the EU as a whole becomes more competitive.
BDA expressly welcomes the Europe 2020 strategy’s job objective – an employment rate of 75%. But success will only be achieved if the flexicurity principles adopted by the European Council are much better applied than hitherto. Without resolute measures for an employment-friendly structuring of labour market orders, the EU will not manage to reach this ambitious goal. By contrast, if EU Member States are truly serious about the 75% employment rate, this will also bring about decisive progress in the struggle against poverty. Because the best remedy for poverty is work.
Further development of the single market: priority for competitiveness, growth and jobs in the EU
To give new impetus to development of the single market, in April 2011 the European Commission presented the communication “Single Market Act: twelve levers to boost growth and strengthen confidence”. The measures it proposes were to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council the end of 2012 – to coincide with twenty years of the single market’s existence.
It is essentially welcome that in its efforts to breathe new life into the single market the European Commission wants to place particular emphasis on measures which generate growth, create jobs and deliver tangible results for citizens and companies. However, the concrete measures proposed by the European Commission in the Single Market Act are sometimes counterproductive and even dangerous. By way of example, the proposals in the field of pensions run the risk of impeding the single market and hence constitute an obstacle to the stated goal of more growth and jobs.