Saturday

23rd Jul 2016

Nine EU countries set out post-crisis growth plan

  • City of London: scientists need access to venture capital and less red tape, the nine countries said (Photo: harshilshah100)

The EU risks a future of high unemployment and economic decline vis-a-vis new world powers unless it looks beyond just saving the euro, nine member states have said in a joint letter.

"Without stronger ambition and fundamental reform - to unleash enterprise, open markets and promote innovation, including in green technologies - we face a future of low productivity, high unemployment, lost investment and relative economic decline," the group-of-nine warned.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Putting public finances on a sustainable footing and promoting growth are not alternatives. We cannot delay the first to achieve the second ... We need swiftly to reach agreement on a stronger Stability and Growth Pact," it added.

The five-page letter dated 18 March and seen by EUobserver was sent to EU Council President and EU commission head Jose Manuel Barroso ahead of next week's summit. It was signed by the leaders of the mostly non-eurozone and pro-open market member states Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

The statement comes after the 17 euro-using countries agreed in principle on a new 'Competitiveness Pact' designed to save the single currency from a sovereign debt crisis.

"This [the new group-of-nine] is not an exclusive group. It's not a group against anybody. It's a group for something," Polish junior minister for EU affairs, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, told this website.

The Stability and Growth Pact extends to all 27 member states and has all the necessary tools," he added, referring to a 1997 EU agreement on budgetary discipline covering the whole bloc. "The pact for competitiveness, the pact for the euro, is a nice idea. We think it can be helpful. But the Stability and Growth pact is essential to ensure the euro and the EU can recover from the current crisis."

The letter sets out four priorities for economic reform: opening-up the single market for services; opening-up global trade; helping start-up companies; and promoting innovation.

"We must do for services markets what we have done for markets in goods - removing the restrictions that hinder access and competition," it says.

Zooming in on digital services, it urges "overhauling the current arrangements for e-commerce, building an efficient cross-border framework for copyright and establishing clear and transparent consumer rights" and tasks Mr Barroso with tabling "bold and ambitious proposals ... so that a fully functioning digital Single Market is in place by 2015."

In an important footnote for Russian-gas-dependent eastern countries with Communist-era energy networks, it adds: "We must also complete the internal energy market, put in place smart, upgraded and fully interconnected transport and energy infrastructure."

It calls for the EU to finalise the Doha agreement on world trade by the end of 2011 and to clinch bilateral trade deals with India, Canada, Japan, Mercosur and the Asean nations.

The letter notes that small businesses in the EU suffer from "ever greater regulatory costs" and recommends setting "a target to reduce the overall burden of EU regulation over the life of this Commission."

It says that scientists should have better access to venture capital, especially in the area of green technology. "We must also break the deadlock on an EU patent to ensure that firms have access to affordable, continent-wide intellectual property protection in a system free of all unnecessary legal complexity," it adds.

Poland's Mr Dowgielewicz called the letter a "post-crisis strategy" and said time has come for the bloc to "move on" from firefighting on the euro.

"Of course you could still have a particular crisis here or there. But the sense is that we now have the mechanisms in place to save the euro and we have full confidence the euro is on the path to recovery," he answered when asked if a debt crisis in Portugal or Spain could undermine the new initiative.

He noted that Poland remains "fully committed" to adopting the single currency. But he added that "it is not the right time to declare a date" for when it might join.

EU to tweak rules on Chinese 'dumping'

The EU Commission has tried to fudge the issue of whether China is a “market economy” amid efforts to protect European industry from cheap exports.

Court ruling puts Renzi bank plan in doubt

EU court ruling on bank bailouts has raised the likelihood of a political embarrassment for Renzi, months before a referendum puts his future and, potentially, Italy’s euro future on the line.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event Agenda for 2016
  2. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  3. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  4. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen Calls for International Probe Into Turkey Coup Allegations
  8. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  9. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  10. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company
  11. Access NowEuropol Supports Encryption. We Can Relax Now… Right?
  12. GoogleLearn about Google's projects across Europe on Twitter @GoogleBrussels

Latest News

  1. Munich attack might not have been terrorism
  2. A very British (and Corbynite) coup
  3. Poland 'changing for the worse' for Muslims and refugees
  4. EU aims to lift visas on Turks despite purge
  5. ECB in ‘bail-out’ of scandal-tainted VW
  6. EU failed to learn lesson from Brexit, Poland says
  7. UK accord on EU workers 'crucial', France says
  8. EU and US take different lines on Turkey crackdown