Tuesday

28th Mar 2017

Opinion

Europe: Time for a reset

  • Europe needs to live up to the promises of security, hope and progress for its people. We need to do better than we did with the financial and refugee crisis. (Photo: William Murphy)

In recent years the European project of solidarity and progress has struggled to deliver for people as well.

The banks and the euro were saved, but rising unemployment and stagnating wages, have left too many behind.

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.

Europeans saw their leaders quarrel over six packs, two packs, and fiscal compacts.

They watched them scuffle to solve the refugee crisis, all while the European project was severely damaged along the way.

The structural reforms of the economy were needed, but they mean very little to those who only suffered the consequences and who cannot reap the benefits.

Fiscal discipline was imperative for the survival of the euro, but a project of hope cannot be built on fiscal discipline alone.

Security becomes an empty concept for people when they see Europe fail on basics security requirements: common border protection. No wonder so many in the United States, are sceptical or turned away from politics altogether.

Give people a chance

Europe needs to live up to the promises of security, hope and progress for its people. We need to do better than we did with the financial and refugee crisis.

Crisis management is not enough.

Europe needs to deliver for its people. We need to combine our strength and actively engage with the issues that threaten our and our children’s future: social exclusion, demographic change, a squeezed middle class, and climate change.

Social Democrats can, and must, take the lead in this. We have always been the political force that worked, prudently and realistically, for a better Europe.

One of the crucial elements in this reengagement is a new investment policy.

Both the private sector and the public sector must invest more in the future.

Europe needs new infrastructures in order to deliver for its people.

A digital infrastructure and a research infrastructure to keep Europe ahead of the technology curve, a new energy infrastructure that enables us to become energy independent, and give a real answer to climate change.

A new industrial revival that can provide the diversity of quality jobs we need to give all Europeans a chance to get a decent job and build a decent life.

But new infrastructure requires large investments.

The Juncker fund has been paving the way for these new investments in the past months, but we are convinced more is needed. The European investment agenda needs to be emboldened and there's no time to waste.

The Netherlands is one of the countries with the largest national saving surpluses in Europe.

After much insistence by the Social Democrats in parliament, the Dutch government is bringing several institutions and investment schemes for businesses and large public projects together into a comprehensive National Promotional Bank (NPBI)). This bank can generate €100 billion of financing capacity.

But investment capital is only one aspect of an investment strategy. It can only work if European countries work together on creating a common investment agenda that can kick start the infrastructures that Europe needs too.

Europe: combine our strength

European countries share many common investment opportunities.

We have common energy infrastructure for offshore wind, high voltage transmission lines, a digital network for super fast internet and a focus on industries, that have a common added value, such as renewable technology.

Therefore, during the next leaders meeting of the Social Democrats I will propose a joint effort to take this investment agenda further.

Europe is in a dire need for a strong and consistent investment agenda. Inflation remains low, interest rates are still going down and if we are not careful, new bubble in housing and stock markets can arise.

The Dutch economy - as is the German - is in a perfect situation to provide for much-needed investments.

With higher domestic demand in these two important economies, the rest of Europe can profit too.

Engineers, factory workers, architects, transportation companies, and more. Employees and companies from all over Europe profit when we combine forces and invest in a sustainable future where there is a place for everybody.

Now is the time to start.

Diederik Samsom is the Netherland's Labour Party leader

Analysis

Doubts hang over EU investment plan's future

Questions of value for money and a lack of transparency complicate adding almost €200 billion more and extending the Juncker investment plan to 2020.

Analysis

Lukashenka: End of an era?

The political spring in Belarus ended just as the actual season began, but greater changes loom after 23 years of dictatorship.

Column / Brexit Briefing

The Union under threat

The effect of Brexit will be much more profound on Northern Ireland than on Scotland. Some kind of border controls with Ireland seem inevitable.

Column / Brexit Briefing

The Union under threat

The effect of Brexit will be much more profound on Northern Ireland than on Scotland. Some kind of border controls with Ireland seem inevitable.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  2. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  3. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  4. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  6. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  7. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  8. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  10. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  11. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  12. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People