President Metsola at EUCO: Single Market is Europe’s greatest economic driver | News

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Addressing the Special European Council today in Brussels, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola highlighted e.g. the following issues:

European Parliament elections

“In 50 days’ time, hundreds of millions of Europeans will start heading to the polls. I have been visiting Member States, where alongside MEPs we are listening to citizens. The people that we have met have mentioned the fight against poverty and social exclusion, security, the strengthening of the economy and the creation of new jobs among their top priorities. These are the issues that people expect us to deliver on, like we already delivered on migration.”

“This is the last European Council before the elections in June. Rest assured, the European Parliament will continue to work until the last moment of the mandate to deliver for all Europeans.”

Competitiveness and the Single Market

“I welcome our discussion on driving economic growth and boosting European competitiveness aided by the analysis of Enrico Letta in his High-Level Report on the Future of the Single Market. This comes at a critical time.”

“The Single Market is our Union’s unique growth model. It has been a powerful engine of convergence and our most valuable asset. Today, people are able to live, work, study and travel anywhere within our Union. It helps businesses, large and small, to set-up shop wherever they choose, giving them greater market access while fostering competitiveness. It also enables consumers to have wider choices, at cheaper prices and with stronger consumer protection that will account for their interests. In being the world’s largest single democratic market, it has even strengthened our place in the world.”

“The Single Market is an evolving project, inherently linked to the EU’s strategic priorities. I believe that our economic area still holds the potential to deliver even wider benefits for our people. The time is now for a renewed commitment to it. That means deepening our Single Market. Only by increasing productivity, speeding-up investments in own industrial capabilities, including in smart electricity grids, and integrating the Single Market for energy, finance and telecoms, can we reduce strategic dependencies while simultaneously supporting and sustaining economic growth. The Single Market is our greatest economic driver.”

“More effort to level the playing field is required. The adoptions of the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act and the AI act are key steps in the right direction. But an equal level of commitment is needed when it comes to energy and more broadly for the green transition. The reality is that while our targets here are world-leading, which is something that we should be proud of, excessive bureaucracy risks holding us back, and even presents a barrier to socio-economic inclusion.”

“For the green transition to work, it must incorporate every sector. It cannot leave anyone behind. It must provide real incentives and safety nets for industry. People must have confidence in the process and they must be able to afford it. Otherwise, it risks driving more and more people to the comfort of the fringes.”

“Another barrier that hinders economic progress is the fragmentation of our financial sector and more specifically obstacles to capital flows across our Union. Even though green investments have gained momentum in recent years, a gap of more than €400 billion remains to be filled annually – a gap that that simply cannot be filled by public financing alone. We need to create the right conditions and frameworks for our start-ups and SMEs to stay in Europe. Meaning that we need to complete our Banking Union and our Capital Markets Union.”

“That is how we can show our people that ours is a project that delivers, that addresses the real issues and cushions the challenges facing businesses and families across Europe. How we will ensure long-term competitiveness, prosperity and leadership on the global stage.”

Enlargement

“EU enlargement towards Ukraine, towards Moldova, Georgia and the Western Balkans must remain high on our strategic and political agenda. The approval of the Reform and Growth Facility for the Western Balkans is a step in the right direction. It shows again that the Single Market does make us attractive. It is bringing our Western Balkans allies closer to us and in doing so, it is strengthening our continent, our Union, our European way – and us all.”

Security and defence

“Europeans also want us to reinforce our security and defence structures to defend peace and democracy over the next five years. What is happening at our borders must remain at the top of our agenda.”

Support to Ukraine

“We have already provided strong political, diplomatic, humanitarian, economic and military support to Ukraine. Our support with Ukraine cannot waver. We need to speed-up and intensify the delivery of equipment that they need, including on air defence. We cannot let up.”

Russian interference

“Russia’s attempts to skew narratives and strengthen pro-Kremlin sentiments ahead of upcoming European elections in June through disinformation are not anymore just a threat, but a possibility that we must be ready to counter. The European Parliament stands ready to support the Member States in pushing-back and addressing any malign interference with our democratic decision-making processes in every way that it can.”

Iran

“Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile strikes on Israel risk igniting further tensions in the region. As a Union, we will keep working to de-escalate and stop the situation spiralling into more bloodshed.”

“Last year, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to have the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps listed as a terrorist organisation. We maintain that. And with these worrying developments, new sanctions against Iran for its drone and missile programs are needed and justified.”

Gaza

“In Gaza, the situation still remains desperate. The European Parliament will keep pushing for a ceasefire. We will keep demanding the return of the remaining hostages while maintaining that Hamas can no longer operate with impunity. That is how we get more aid into Gaza, how we save innocent lives and how we push forward the urgent need for a two-state solution that gives real perspective to Palestinians and security to Israel.”

President Metsola´s full speech is available here.



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