The European People’s Party is aware that the only way to save the great project of civilization that is the European Union, as it faces the challenges of globalisation, is to undertake reforms. Other political parties offer no real solutions to the problems of the 21st century which the world and the EU are facing. The failed policies which the other political parties, especially the left-wing parties, are advocating would bankrupt European welfare states and condemn our citizens to unemployment and economic hardship. In recent years, European centre-right governments have undertaken responsible, smart and far- reaching reforms aimed at tackling the consequences of the worst economic and social crisis in our recent history. An economic, social and political crisis that was on the verge of jeopardising everything we have achieved to date.
The EPP governments have focused all their efforts and all their energy on correcting the devastating effects of the crisis caused by irresponsible, socialist-led governments which lacked leadership. Convinced we were doing the right thing, we implemented policies which guaranteed stability and economic recovery. Those policies are today allowing our societies to achieve social, economic and institutional progress. It can now be said that we have managed this through the efforts made by our citizens and the reforms we have implemented together with our citizens. Our economies are coming to rest on sound foundations, which allows us to look ahead to a long period of sustainable and sustained growth. This will lead to stronger, more equal and more social states, which will guarantee future opportunities for citizens, especially young people.
There are no short-cuts to economic recovery or alternatives to reforms. Simplistic solutions are merely demagogy, fostering radical, populist and dividing movements that seek to lead us back off the path and towards the mistakes of the past that led to the crisis in the first place. It is always easier to destroy than build. Thanks to the reforms by centre-right governments, today we are moving forward on the path of growth and job creation, we are regaining the confidence of international investors and we are guaranteeing the stability of the Euro to the benefit of our citizens. Overcoming this crisis should spur us to strengthen and build the Europe we desire; a strong, effective, solidarity-based and responsible Europe. A European Union where we can build labour markets for our young people to have opportunities and constant training. If we can remain on the path of job creation, we will guarantee the best social policy for our citizens and enable them to be the masters of their own destiny. Furthermore, we should strive to ensure that wages are decent and appropriate for the job in question, because we believe in the Social Market Economy; and this is only viable by implementing reforms, not by preaching demagogy.
In light of the above, it is essential:
We have strengthened the institutional design of the Euro, which was a decisive step in building the European Union. Let us not forget that the Euro is the second-most important currency in the world. The Euro’s existence will be the basis for greater political integration in Europe on an unprecedented scale in the future by proposing new fiscal, economic and political horizons for the Union as envisioned by the “Five Presidents’ Report”. In order to achieve greater integration within the EMU, we should take decisive action to further strengthen the Internal Market, which will enable higher levels of well-being in our societies, guaranteeing more and better job opportunities.
Our economy and our industry should generate new employment opportunities for our citizens. Employment is the political priority of all Partido Popular governments, as prosperity for the people and families is the primary mandate of our political ideology. For all this, it is essential to foster environments where investment and opening up to overseas markets are attractive prospects, thereby allowing credit to flow and, hence, new companies to come and enrich our fabric by fostering entrepreneurship and youth employment.
Given that many challenges have affected the political agenda of the Union in recent years, we cannot allow energy and environmental issues – which were core aspects of the initial European project – to be relegated to the side-lines. To that end, we should lead the world in the fight against climate change and poverty. We must cooperate more and support energy sources located within our own territory, which leads to a more secure supply, and not to the depletion of resources. Based on the pillars of growth and having corrected the imbalances that led us into the crisis, the parties and governments of the EPP can now focus all their strength, efforts and energy – without abandoning the drive for reform – on improving and modernising the services provided by the welfare state to our citizens, especially pensions, long-term care, healthcare and education, while ensuring their sustainability.
Only a competitive Europe capable of adapting itself to the rapid changes taking place in this globalised world will be able to maintain and improve the public and social services that form an essential part of the European social model. To that end, we are convinced that the reformist policies of the EPP are the best guarantee for present and future well-being, allowing European society to advance as a whole without leaving anyone behind. Only that which reforms, continues.