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Vigoni Lecture 2014

A Union for the 21st century. How Europe gets a good constitution

Event info

  • today 16/07/2014
  • access_time 17:30
  • place Allianz Forum
  • lock_outlineBy invitation
  • Event designed by Villa Vigoni
  • Villa Vigoni | German-Italian Centre for the European Dialogue

Structural reforms and reliable budgetary rules – this is the “recipe” which was presented by Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble the 16th July at the Allianz Forum on the occasion of the Vigoni Lecture on the topic: A Union for the 21st century. How Europe gets a good constitution. With regard to the things which Europe has to deal with, there is an agreement with his Italian counterpart Pier Carlo Padoan. “The most important is, that you realise: Trust and economic growth have returned to the Euro-Zone, not in spite of but because many Eurocountries being a bit more economical with money. Many are still thinking that there was a dissent between overhaul of the budget and economic growth. The contrary is right: only if we use sustainable finance policy, the investors’ and consumers’ trust in Europe’s stability can return.”

Now the economic frame shall be created for economic growth and work places. The latest measures concerning banks and finances by the EU are pointing in this direction: “we have to regulate the financial markets to make them useful for the real sector. The bank union will contribute to “healthier” banks acting again in the function as financers for businesses. But the situation of the financial sector is still tense. Especially small and medium sized enterprises depend on promotional loans and venture capital. That is why we supported public foundation finance banks lately. We have increased the amount of loans of the European Investment Bank for small and medium sized enterprises.”

Concerning the high youth unemployment Schäuble emphasized the need for profound reforms: “We have to advance the structural reforms of the labour market, so we can offer new chances to the youth. We have to tackle the structural reasons of the problems. We need educational systems which can be – if needed – orientated more closely to what the labour market requires, structural reforms, which ease the entrance to the labour market for young professionals and flexible systems for the wage formation process which take also in consideration productivity.”

The enforcement of the Single Market concerning the energy supply is one of the minister’s other priorities: “we should also focus on an energy union. We have to join the national energy networks to a European network, which brings together energy production and energy consumption. And we need a European strategy for the transition to sustainable energy. Europe needs to reduce its dependence on imports and decreasing resources.”

Just through coordinated improvements in these strategic fields Europe could have the chance to keep “the social state level”, which makes it so attractive. “In order to preserve our wealth we always have to be a bit better, more stable and more attractive than other regions of the world. It is important that we proof the success of our European life model in the global system competition. Only in this way we can build a new order, inspired by European, western values. And only then we – Italians and Germans together – can live in a world, which meets our requirements.”

Speech of the minister Schäuble (in German)