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28 February 2014

Portuguese PM Coelho: Europe needs more unity, more solidarity and more responsibility

"With the credibility of a country that is on the verge of fulfilling the requirements of the adjustment programme, we say that a greater unity, greater solidarity and more responsibility is the way to go", said Coelho during a conference on the future of Europe.

"We need to achieve a thoughtful, challenging balance between greater unity and a firm responsibility", he added.

The Prime Minister also underlined: "It is fair to say that, since we travel a long way from the worst of the euro crisis, we already got to a very welcome stage of recovery". And so, "now it is time to cast strongest foundations, for a common future of prosperity".

"We must learn the lessons from the past", Pedro Passos Coelho also referred, "not only the more recent past, but also the root causes of our vulnerability and institutional weaknesses". Though, "above it all, this is the time to prepare the future", he underlined.

The Prime Minister also stated that, when thinking about these matters, "we have to be ambitious, but we also have to take a realistic approach", so "the balance between realism and ambition is the key to a strong recovery, durable and broad horizons". And "this is what we call responsible reform".

Reaffirming the importance of "a complete Banking Union", Pedro Passos Coelho added: "This means a centralised European supervision, a single resolution fund, and a common insurance fund for deposits. It would be the largest institutional reform in Europe since the introduction of the euro".

Explaining the importance of this reform, the Prime Minister stated: "The financial fragmentation suffered by the countries of southern Europe commits one of the great European achievements: the single market. And this should not be only a collection of 28 national markets".

The financial fragmentation also generates "an implicit discrimination based on geography", because "differences in access to credit and its cost put companies on a competitive disadvantage with another companies, just because they are on the wrong side of the borderline". Moreover, "there will be no deeper political integration or greater solidarity, which is the same as saying that it is not conceivable a common European project if we allow the single market suitcase. The single market is the corner stone of our unit. And it is also the most important driver of convergence of our economies and standards of living", said Pedro Passos Coelho.

But Europe needs two more reforms:

"We must accelerate the schedule of our new industrialisation process, to increase our sector of tradable goods, increase exports and create better jobs", so Europe "will not be condemned to be in a passive role of mere importer of industrial products from other regions".

National birth policies "must be supported by resources and by European coordination, because such policies require long term concentration and stability".

The Prime Minister also added that "Europe needs the successful adjustment of the Mediterranean countries" because "is not possible to have the European Union on a permanent tension, with perpetual imbalances". "On the other hand, we need clear rules and functional institutions for all, and we also need rational and timely decision making processes. We also need to act quickly, to correct the imbalances that threaten our Union, and this must be a priority for the coming years".

Press release

Full speech

© Portuguese Republic Government

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