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The themes on the European Council agenda of June 28-29
Football metaphors increase, and abound, in view of the European Council of June 28-29. But it’s also licit to ask if the finals of the “European championship for the euro currency bailout” will see the participation of budgetary rigour or economic growth, or even of both, perhaps on the same front; if the co-protagonists will be project bonds or Eurobonds, if on the game field same-colour shirts will be worn by the Germans and the Greeks, by the Danes and the Cypriots, by the French, the Spaniards, the Portuguese…
It’s not an isolated match. The summit of the heads of Governments and States, scheduled to convene in Brussels at the end of June, is but a step in the larger context of a difficult championship aimed at recovering internal cohesion within the European Union (and in the euro area), economic strength in the Old Continent, political dignity across the EU and at global level and at restoring citizens’ confidence in the “common home”, whose foundations date back to sixty years ago. Themes and problems are known, although the picture is changing and it will continue to change up to five minutes before the opening of the meeting of the 27 leaders at the Justus Lipsius building. The past days were marked by recurring Euro-group and Ecofn meetings, by four-party summits with changing participants, by individual – albeit not always coherent – public stances (in this sense German Chancellor Merkel appears to be the most dubious and torn government leader) new aid and bailout requests (Spain, Cyprus…). Eyes are focused on Athens and on the moves of the new government; on Paris, to those of the new president Hollande; on London, to see whether the United Kingdom will raise problems on the single currency; on Rome, in the hope that the mediation role carried out by premier Monti will deliver tangible results. And the other heads of government or state will not stand and watch. Now it is clear – and this is perhaps the major acquisition on the eve of the summit – that both the euro and Europe are irreversible. And that the only alternative to the “common home” is if Europe, with its roots, its cultural diversity, its values, its “social model”, its strenuously achieved position on the international plane, wishes to continue keeping pace with history.
Thus the summit will assess the response to the crisis as relates to growth, whilst decisions will be taken on the support to national economies. In order to fix the terms of the debates, EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy released a draft agenda which states: “The European Council will define the guidelines to prompt growth and employment in the medium and short term”. The leaders’ meeting “will continue with an exchange of opinions on the measures that must be taken at national level and is due to adopt specific recommendations at national level”, determined by the Commission at the end of May, whose purpose is “to guide Member States’ structural reforms, employment policies, and national budgets”.
The summit is thus set to define a “Community agenda” to “prompt growth and employment with a special emphasis on youth employment”. It’s evident – as filtered from Commission and Council seats – that the summit leaders will continue the debate on the European Financial Stability Facility, Eurobonds, the role of the ECB and the European Investments Bank, the completion of the common market, banking union, as well as the relations with world partners and major world competitors.
27/06/2012 - Gianni Borsa - Sir Europe (Brussels)