The Europe 2020 Strategy will play a key role in enabling the EU, to come out of the crisis stronger, enhance its productivity, reinforce social cohesion, and economic governance; and to preserve its social model, Foreign Minister János Martonyi declared in the European Parliament’s debate, on 16 February in Strasbourg.
The Council was represented by János Martonyi, in the debate on the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU’s job creation and economic growth programme, and the planned employment policy measures. The Hungarian Foreign Minister called for a response to a number of challenges so that Europe remains competitive, in comparison with the rest of the world, particularly with the quickly emerging Asian markets.
“We believe that the crisis has played a key role in motivating member states to quickly adopt a new European strategy, which supports jobs and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This is the Europe 2020 Strategy”, Mr Martonyi said.
The Minister added “unless we remain competitive, we cannot secure strong growth in the future, we will find it increasingly difficult both to maintain a sufficient high level of social protection internally, and bring Europe’s voice to bear on events externally.”
The Minister recalled that the Belgian Presidency presented, in cooperation with the European Commission and the Hungarian Presidency, the first report on the Strategy’s implementation in December 2010, including the progress achieved in the single market so far, and cohesion and agricultural policy.
The Hungarian Presidency has paid special attention to the European Semester, the macro-economic cooperation, related to the EU 2020 Strategy, which was launched for the first time in January, by the publication of the Annual Growth Survey, Mr Martonyi pointed out. He added that the survey, which deals with the measures and main messages of Council formations, could be adopted by the General Affairs Council’s meeting on 21 March. “This will underlie the summit of European heads of state and government, on reform measures and financial consolidation, at the end of March”, János Martonyi said.
Member states will develop in parallel, their national reform programmes and stability or convergence reports, for submission to the Commission by April, in order to start the elaboration of country-specific recommendations afterwards. Member states will design their budgets for the following year in compliance with the recommendations, the Minister added. Mr Martonyi admitted that the deadlines are tight, but expressed hope that the work will be completed by June-July 2011.
In his speech, the Minister welcomed the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties adopted the draft report by Lívia Járóka, on the social inclusion of the Roma on 14 February.