“Our European Union is not in a good state. There is not enough Europe in this Union. And there is not enough Union in this Union.” While this assessment by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker may be sobering, it nevertheless clearly points the way forward: national governments, the European Parliament and the European Commission – they all need to work together to come to grips with the greatest challenges facing our continent. Security, migration, growth, jobs, climate change, scarcity of resources: policy-makers will not be able to manage these tasks on their own. They need a strong, globally competitive economy which creates jobs, offers immigrants prospects on the labour market, helps to shape climate change, makes effcient use of resources and leads the world with its innovations. Without a strong economy, there cannot be a strong Europe.
President Jean-Claude Juncker has oriented the European Commission around ten growth-relevant policy priorities to set Europe firmly on course for the future. Commission, Parliament and Council have agreed a work programme on this basis. We do not agree with each and every proposal but the direction is right. With its fact sheets, German business takes a stance on the main competition-relevant initiatives and sets out in compact form its own ideas for a growth-friendly EU policy.
Energy, Climate and Environment policy need to tie in more closely with an EU-wide strengthening of the industrial base. The EU must take decisive steps towards a fully connected Digital Single Market. The Commission should drive the negotiations on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) forward with energy. The route of integration and structural renovation in the Eurozone already embarked on must be pursued. This is also a question of social provision, which depends on economic prosperity, investments and global competitiveness – so that new jobs are created and people, in particular the young generation, have durable employment prospects.
For us, European integration is not a “project” – it is an absolute necessity for Europe to help shape the future as a world region alongside the USA and China on an equal footing. To that end, we need a European Union that integrates, renews and helps to shape tomorrow’s world.