One year ahead of the 2019 European elections, the EU institutions and heads of state, whilst facing important challenges, need to deliver on the key priorities of the European Union. Before the end of the present mandates of the European Parliament and Commission, decisive actions to highlight that the EU can deliver and brings benefits to the citizens’ life need to see the light.

Now that the citizens are gradually regaining trust in the EU and the economic situation, they should rediscover the added value of EU policies. For that reason, it should be the perfect time for EU leaders to be ambitious, overcome the deadlocks and finally deliver.

We cannot overlook the importance of the challenge of migration. Concrete, European, pragmatic and fair solutions to the challenges of migration must be found. It needs to be addressed by the EU Member States together, with a joint European and future-proof answer. We believe that a stronger cooperation between Member States is the only solution to the flow of people arriving in the EU. The creation of the Schengen area should remain one of the most tangible achievements of the European integration for citizens and enterprises. To better enforce the freedom of circulation within the EU, it is of paramount importance to effectively control the external borders, whilst ensuring international protection to those who need it according to the EU Treaties and to international law.
However, fixing the border and ensuring a fair participation of all Member States in solving the migration crisis is only a first step. Supporting the economic actors will be necessary to ensure integration. Moreover, the impacts of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees on public services should be pondered. Member States, local authorities and public services’ providers deal with the consequences of the refugee crisis by providing essential services, without reducing the services to local communities.

Another issue calling for quick actions is the reform of the Economic and Monetary Union, as it must remain a key priority. To ensure a strong economy and increased stability, the European Union needs a strong currency union. Clear actions and commitments to further strengthen and deepen the Euro area are necessary, to foster competitiveness, convergence and investment. CEEP has always considered investments in key physical and social infrastructures as levers to foster growth to the benefit of citizens and enterprises in Europe. Supporting the European Commission’s proposal to set up an ‘InvestEU’ fund in the MFF 2021-2027 would further help to unlock the European potential of sustainable growth and prosperity and to strengthen the European economy in a very competitive environment.

We also call for a quick interinstitutional agreement on the MFF 2021-2027 before the 2019 European elections, as expressed in a joint statement of the EU Social Partners ahead of the March 2018 Tripartite Social Summit. We believe that there is a genuine added-value to the EU budget, but that there is potential to make it more efficient and relevant. Better linkage with the debates on the future of the EU should be ensured: it is important to agree on the Europe we want for the future, and then to place funding where it matters.

Delivering on those topics can have a significant impact on EU citizens. The EU needs to highlight its role in providing citizens with security and in supporting an economic, social and sustainable growth.

Employers and providers of public services and of services of general interest should have a key role to play, as pillars of the EU social-economic model.

I wish you a good read.

Valeria Ronzitti

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