Van Rompuy stressed that efforts were still necessary to restore competitiveness and create growth and jobs. Completing the Banking Union was of paramount importance to stabilise the banking sector and economies.
The existential crisis of the euro is behind us. Growth and jobs are slowly making their way back. But we - and when I say "we", I mean all EU countries - need to continue the important work of reforming our economies and supporting employment in every possible way - in particular for young people. Last time I was here only six months ago, Italy was just leaving the Excessive Deficit Procedure - a good day for Italy and the result of dedicated efforts. These efforts should be kept up, building on the renewed political stability and upholding - even increasing – the reform momentum to restore competitiveness further. That is a precondition for returning to sustainable growth and jobs.
Secondly, a few remarks on the next meeting of the European Council, in December. It will have a number of important issues on the agenda, where Italy plays a key role. This month, the Council of the ministers of finance has to reach agreement on the last element of the banking union, which is the Single Resolution Mechanism. Completing the Banking Union is paramount to fully stabilise the banking sector and restore its ability to lend to our economies. This is indispensable not least for the small and medium-sized enterprises.
Lastly, let me say a few words about 2014 and the upcoming Italian Presidency of the Council. It will be a very important year, not least because of the European elections in May. We need to engage and deliver results. An open electoral debate on what Europe means, the first tangible results of all our efforts and better perspectives are the most effective remedy against fear and despair. In all our countries, and together as a Union, we need to speed-up job creation. We need to show the work that societies and governments are doing. We - politicians and opinion leaders - have to stand up for our European convictions, for our policies, tell the truth, and say where the long-term interests of our citizens lie, as they prepare to vote.
© European Commission
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