An alternative to austerity, 12 EU countries demand

The letter that the heads of government of twelve EU countries, including Spain’s Mariano Rajoy, sent to Brussels presented an eight point programme to promote economic growth in the European Union.

It was addressed to the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and that of the Commission, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, yet was not signed by either Germany or France, the two main economies of the euro zone and of the EU.

The document states that the crisis currently faced by Europe is also a ‘growth crisis’ and although it does not reject the ‘essential’ task of putting national finances in order, it considers ‘necessary’ the modernisation of the economy, the increase in competitiveness and the correction of macroeconomic imbalances.

Under the title “A plan for Growth in Europe”, the twelve leaders state:

“we must reestablish trust among citizens, businesses and financial markets in Europe’s ability to grow steadily and sustainably.”

They alert of the fact that Europe finds itself in a dangerous moment, since growth has stagnated and unemployment is growing, something that is pushing citizens and businesses into one of the “toughest situations” they have had to face in many years.

Specifically, the programme they are proposing to promote growth includes eight points, among them the further development of the European single market, particularly in the service sector, as well as the creation of an authentically European digital market by 2015In third place, the document requests the establishment of a truly single energy market by 2014 as well as

“multiplying the commitment to innovation” for which they propose establishing a European Area of Investigation.

The letter also calls for “decisive action” in opening the world markets to free commerce, the reduction of the European bureaucratic weight in businesses and the promotion of efficient labour markets that offer employment opportunities to youth, women and people who are older.

Finally, they propose setting up a financial services sector that is strong, dynamic and competitive, that supports both businesses and citizens. In order to do this, they point out that the bailout guarantees to financial entities

“should be reduced” because these distort the single market and that “banks, not citizens should be the ones responsible for assuming the costs of the risks taken.”

The joint letter was sent by the president of the Spanish government, the British government, David Cameron; the Italian, Mario Monti; and those of the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden and Poland; seven are members of the euro zone while five are not.

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