Speech by the President of the GSEVEE, Mr. G. Kavvatas, at the ESC’s White Paper on the European Commission

The European Economic and Social Committee (EOK), in cooperation with the European Commission, held a conference on 2/6/2017, on the occasion of the European Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe: “Issues and scenarios for the European Union of 27 by 2025 “. The event took place in the Senate of the Parliament Hall, presented five possible scenarios for the future of the European Union.

The President of GSEVEE, Mr. G. Kavathas said in his speech “it is clear that the country and the social partners have to closely monitor the agenda on the European scene, as it is clear that the core of Europe must come closer as urgent needs and specificities of the European region.

It is a general assumption that the European construction has received strong shocks during the crisis, both in terms of political legitimacy and representation, as well as administrative and economic efficiency and failure to resolve the problems arising from the redeployment of the world division of labor and Restructuring within the European Union. The super-conservative forces that have taken over the EU’s financial administration over the last 10-15 years have left the agenda for a more creative, united Europe of convergence and cohesion and have shown competitiveness, even among EU countries, as a sovereign demand for Europe 2030. Obvious victims of this new strategy were and remain the countries of the region, which together with their structural weaknesses, bearing the weight of painful reforms and adopt policies which minimally improved if their place in the new economic model. ”

“In this context,” Kavathas continued, “European citizens have been faced with a series of interventions that have increased economic insecurity, increased inequalities, shrunk the welfare state, and widened the North-South gap. At the same time, new challenges emerged within Europe: refugee, regional conflicts, terrorism, political extremism, failure to control the financial fabric.

Euroscepticism, alienation, questioning the European perspective, populism did not occur accidentally. It was the results of defying the expectations of European citizens about the benefits of the process of completing the European vision. It was the result of the withdrawal from the basic European values ​​of solidarity, understanding, communication and dialogue. As a consequence of the prevalence of ethnic embankment in the major economies of Europe. Today it is clear that the institutions in the EU operate less democratically, the European Parliament is not really decisive, economic policies are not decided in a transparent manner. The EESC and the ESC have an important role to play in reversing this climate and consolidating the social dialogue.

British citizens saw the mirror of their future in the context above, and even with marginal rates, they set themselves apart from a European project. Despite the regional differences and peculiarities that can be identified in the case of Britain, Brexit has undoubtedly been the lynx, which has permanently shifted the agenda for the future of Europe. In a sense, that is why we are here today. To discuss and consider what is the right way to mobilize the defensive forces of the common European path, without further delays, without heterogeneous policies. Personally, I believe that the enthusiasm we have seen last time on the European political scene is positive, but it must be honest and courageous to pursue more radical policies and to find solutions in critical areas of economic and social policy. The European Commission and President Hunter rushed to shape a menu of choices for Europe of the future, a White Paper whose pages European leaders are asked to write. Other positive, tedious initiatives on investment mobilization and development (the Juncker package) were preceded. However, we should not be too optimistic if we do not see signs of change in the European context. I believe that a major contributor to the European crisis remains the continuing regression and delay that exists around the Greek issue. If the EU fails to resolve a problem that is less than 2% of European GDP and debt, it is sensible for both citizens and the markets to wonder whether the European construction is capable of responding to a potentially more complex crisis: A crisis that may arise due to political and economic antagonisms with the US, Russia, the European financial sector, the emergence of China as the first economic power, the aggravation of the refugee issue. ”

In closing, the President of GSEVEE stressed “the question whether we want more or less Europe based on the five scenarios analyzed by the White Paper, the answer can not be either unambiguous or unilateral. Deepening institutions, completing economic policy requires recognition of errors, widening available tools, developing comparative advantages, strengthening weaker players. “