Ideas and goals

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It is wise, if not imperative, for taking care of European economic and political interests properly, to join forces and follow the path towards further cooperation. Maybe at distinct paces, but steadfastly and with the clear vision of securing peace, freedom and social care for the sake of human dignity.

 

Looking to 2060: A Global Vision of Long-term Growth; © OECD. http://www.oecd.org/eco/ec onomicoutlookanalysisandforecasts/lookingto 2060.htm#

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Below, you find a selection of excerpts

from recent articles (introducing remarks in blue)

related to European cooperation / integration:

 

>>BRUSSELS — European Union authorities on Tuesday proposed taking control of border and coastal security at popular entry points for migrants in countries like Greece and Italy, to get a grip on a crisis that has divided the bloc and fed the rise of populist political movements.
Officials at the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said the centralized approach to border security would shore up confidence that the bloc can manage the migration crisis and would save one of its flagship policies: the Schengen rules that allow the free movement of citizens across most of Europe’s internal borders.

[...]

The borders that migrants “cross are not just Greek borders or Bulgarian borders — they are European borders,” Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission, said at a news conference in Strasbourg, France. That made such borders a “collective responsibility,” and “if we don’t protect them in the right way, the consequences will be for all Europeans,” he said.<<

EU Pushes to Take Over Border Security at Migrant Pressure Points (excerpt), James Kanter, The International New York Times, 15/12/2015

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>>The eurozone economy perked up again this month, a private sector report showed on Friday, powered by continuing strength in Germany and surprisingly strong growth in France.
Purchasing managers across the eurozone, the 19-nation currency union reported increased backlogs of work and an improvement in demand, leading companies to add workers at the fastest pace since August 2011, according to a survey by Markit Economics, a data analysis firm in London.<<

Momentum Builds in Eurozone, Survey Says (excerpt), David Jolly, International New York Times, 21-22/02/2015

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>>LONDON — Europe is taking aim at Google, again.
Privacy watchdogs in the European Union issued guidelines on Wednesday calling on the company to apply the recent “right to be forgotten” ruling to Google’s entire search empire.
Right now, the right to be forgotten ruling – which created a process for people to remove unwanted content from Google’s search results – applies only to Google’s local European sites, like Google.de in Germany. But the law is easy to get around, because to get the full list of search results all anyone has to do is perform a search on Google’s other sites, like Google.com.
The new guidelines, issued by a panel composed of the bloc’s national privacy regulators, aim to firm the law up by requiring Google and other search engines to take down links on sites outside the region as well.
“Under E.U. law, everyone has a right to data protection,” the regulatory body said in a statement on Wednesday. “Decisions must be implemented in such a way that they guarantee the effective and complete protection of data subjects’ rights and that E.U. law cannot be circumvented.”<<

'Right to Be Forgotten' Should Apply Worldwide, E.U. Panel Says (excerpt), Mark Scott, International New York Times, 26/11/2014

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>>BRUSSELS — The 28 leaders of the European Union agreed early on Friday on targets for protecting the climate and generating greener power despite deep divisions among their nations over how to produce energy.
The main target that won approval was a pledge to slash emissions by at least 40 percent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030.
The new target “will ensure that Europe will be an important player, will be an important party, in future binding commitments of an international climate agreement,” Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said at an early-morning news conference.
The accord makes the European Union the first major global emitter to put its position on the table ahead of an important United Nations climate meeting in Paris at the end of 2015.<<

European Leaders Agree on Targets to Fight Climate Change (excerpt), James Kanter, International New York Times, 23/10/2014

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Responsible budgeting is the condition for economic stability and wealth in the long term. After years of austerity, the long term perspective needs to prevail in the very interest of the citizens. However, the focus of economic policy will have to be on reducing unemployment and growth.

>>ATHENS — After four years of austerity, the Greek government on Monday heralded a series of tax cuts and benefits in a draft budget forecasting a steady return to growth as it moved to shore up its flagging popularity and avert early general elections.
The economy, which has shrunk by a quarter since 2008, is expected to grow 2.9 percent in 2015 — buoyed by an increase in consumption, tourism and exports this year — after a contraction of 3.9 percent in 2013, according to the budget. It was presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis.<<

Greece's Draft Budget Aims to Ease Austerity Measures (excerpt), Niki Kitsantonis, International New York Times, 06/10/2014

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Now, time has definitely come to shift the focus from austerity to stimulation of growth.

>>FRANKFURT — The European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low on Thursday and, in an unprecedented attempt to stimulate the euro zone economy, said it would begin charging interest on deposits held by the bank.
The so-called negative deposit rate has never been tried on such a large scale and is a bid to push down the value of the euro and encourage banks to invest excess cash rather than hoard it in central bank vaults.

[...]

Imposing a negative deposit rate is meant to give a positive jolt to the euro zone economy. In the annals of central banking, though, negative deposit rates have rarely been tried. Denmark had one until April, but the impact on an economy as large as the euro zone’s is largely unknown.<<

European Central Bank Takes a Radical Step (excerpt), Jack Ewing, International New York Times, 05/06/2014

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Solidarity is one of the pillars the European Union is based on. The borders of member states with non-member states are common borders of the EU. To address immigration issues appropriately a common policy is imperative and needs shared funding.

>>MADRID — About 80,000 African migrants are heading for Spain’s two enclaves along the Moroccan coast, leaving Spain struggling to contain the efforts that are coming in larger and increasingly coordinated surges in recent days.

The Spanish interior minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, said Thursday that the situation at the enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, was a problem not only for Spain, but for all of Europe, and needed to be handled “in cooperation with the European Union.”

[...]

At a European Union ministerial meeting on Monday, he called on Spain’s partners in the bloc to provide 45 million euros, or $62 million, to help Spain reinforce its border security around the enclaves.<<

Spain Struggles to Halt Migrants at Two Enclaves (excerpt), Raphael Minder, International New York Times, 06/03/2014

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>>New rules designed to achieve the CO2 emission reduction target of 95g/km for new cars by 2020 were endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday. The text retains this target, albeit with a one-year “phase-in” period in 2020. It also allows “super credits”, whereby the cleanest cars in each manufacturer’s range count for more than others, to apply from 2020 to 2022.

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“This vote means that Europe will continue to be at the cutting edge in reducing co2 emissions from cars, as the 95g/km target represents a saving of 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. However, the cost of innovation has to be socially acceptable and economically feasible, both for consumers and manufacturers” said rapporteur Thomas Ulmer (EPP, DE). “We are also going to introduce new test cycles which will better reflect real driving conditions”, he added.<<

Parliament backs law to cut car CO2 emissions (excerpt), European Parliament / Press Release, 25/02/2014

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>>PARIS — The European Central Bank on Thursday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, choosing to wait for additional data before deciding whether to address evidence that the euro zone is sliding into the dangerous economic condition known as deflation.

Mario Draghi, the central bank’s president, acknowledged at a news conference that the 0.7 percent inflation rate in January was lower than expected and said that it would remain low over the coming months but then gradually climb back to the bank’s target of just below 2 percent.

“We have to dispense with the question, ‘Is there a deflation?’ and the answer is, ‘No,' ” he said.

He added that a moderate economic recovery continued in the final quarter of 2013 and that interest rates would stay low “for an extended period of time.” He reiterated that the bank was prepared to take decisive action if conditions warrant it.<<

European Central Bank Holds Interest Rate at 0,25% (excerpt), David Jolly, International New York Times, 06/02/2014

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>>By the summer of 2012, it was clear that the monetary union with a banking, fiscal, economic and political union was necessary to make the union survive. Yet so far, only partial elements of a banking union have come to life, as Germany and its partners in the core worry that risk-sharing could become risk-shifting, and a banking and fiscal union could become a transfer union where the rich core constantly transfers money to a poorer and poorly managed periphery.

[...]

There were some hopeful developments in 2013: the beginning of a banking union, the end of the euro zone recession, improved external and fiscal balances. But progress toward a full union has been slow and public debt ratios are still rising. Competitiveness has improved, but a strong euro has held it back, and a credit crunch has been impeding the economic recovery. Unemployment is likely to remain high, feeding a social backlash.

The marriage is holding, but the partners have to do more in 2014 and beyond to form a real union.<<

Euro Marriage in Peril (excerpt), Nouriel Roubini, The New York Times/IHT, 27/11/2013

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>>PARIS — Europe’s fragile recovery remains alive, according to the results of a closely watched corporate survey released Thursday.

The composite purchasing managers index compiled by Markit Economics, a data and analysis firm, came in at 51.5 in October, above the 50.0 mark that signals expansion. While that marked a slight deceleration from September’s 52.2 showing, it was the fourth consecutive month in positive territory.

The growth trend is a “modest” one, Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist, noted, but “the expansion is reassuringly broad-based across the region, reflecting signs of economic recoveries becoming more entrenched in the periphery as well as ongoing expansion in Germany and stabilization in France.”<<

More Glimmers of Hope for Europe's Economy (excerpt), David Jolly, The New York Times/IHT, 24/10/2013

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>>Die Eurozone wird laut Prognose im kommenden Jahr die Wirtschaftskrise hinter sich lassen. Das Bruttoinlandsprodukt (BIP) in der Währungsunion dürfte 2014 um 0,9 Prozent zulegen, berichtet die "Welt" unter Berufung auf eine neue Schätzung der Wirtschaftsberatungsgesellschaft Ernst&Young (EY) am Montag berichtet. Im Jahr 2015 könnte die Wirtschaftsleistung in den Eurostaaten um 1,5 Prozent steigen.

Demnach wachsen Spanien, Italien und Portugal 2014 wieder leicht. Frankreichs Wirtschaft könnte um ein Prozent zulegen. Für Deutschland prognostiziert EY für das kommende Jahr ein Wachstum von 1,7 Prozent. Um die gleiche Rate soll die deutsche Wirtschaft im Jahr 2015 wachsen.<<

Eurozone kämpft sich 2014 aus Krise heraus (excerpt), derstandard.at, 21/10/2013

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What may seem attractive for addressing problems in the short term, can be wrong and even disastrous in the long run. To foster a prosperous and stable development in Europe populist concepts won’t help. Instead, it takes a long term perspective based on future-oriented rational considerations.

>>ROME — With European parliamentary elections less than eight months away, Prime Minister Enrico Letta of Italy on Monday warned that the rise of angry populism poses the greatest threat to stability on the Continent and could undermine critical efforts to build and strengthen the euro zone’s political and financial institutions.

“We have the big risk to have the most ‘anti-European’ European Parliament ever,” Mr. Letta said in an expansive interview at Palazzo Chigi, his office in central Rome. He said mainstream, pro-Europe parties must win at least 70 percent of the seats to avoid a “nightmarish legislature.”

“The rise of populism is today the main European social
and political issue,” Mr. Letta added. “To fight against
populism, in my view, is a mission today — in Italy and in
the other countries.”<<

Italian Prime Minister Calls Populism a Threat to Stability in Europe (excerpt), Jim Yardley, The New York Times/IHT, 15/10/2013

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>>BRUSSELS — European Union legislators on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a law that puts about 150 of the euro zone’s largest banks under the scrutiny of the European Central Bank.

[...]

The idea is that the central bank would do a better job than national supervisors of nipping financial problems in the bud so that governments do not need to resort to bank bailouts that destabilize the euro and penalize taxpayers.

[...]

Even so, Thursday’s approval was among the “most important votes of this parliamentary term,” Michel Barnier, the European Union commissioner overseeing financial services, told lawmakers after the vote. The law will help to “improve and restore confidence our citizens have in our system, as well as the confidence of the rest
of the world in our system,” he said.<<

European Lawmakers Expand Power of Central Bank (excerpt), James Kanter, The New York Times/IHT, 12/09/2013

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>>Die Bundesregierung gibt der unter einer schweren Kreditklemme leidenden spanischen Wirtschaft Anschubhilfe. Über die deutsche Staatsbank KfW will sie dem dortigen Mittelstand rund eine Milliarde Euro zur Verfügung stellen. Laut Unterlagen, die der Nachrichtenagentur Reuters vorliegen, soll das bilaterale Sonderhilfsprogramm gegen die hohe Jugendarbeitslosigkeit helfen und das deutsche Ansehen in den Euro-Krisenländern verbessern.

[...]

Bundesfinanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble hatte das Hilfsprogramm Ende April bei einem Besuch in Spanien angekündigt. Damals kritisiert er auch, die EU brauche zu lange, um ihre Programme gegen die hohe Arbeitslosigkeit in den Reformländern umzusetzen. Das Globaldarlehen der KfW über 800 Millionen Euro geht an ihr spanisches Schwesterinstitut ICO. Außerdem ist geplant, dass sich die KfW an zwei Fonds zur Eigenkapitalstärkung spanischer Unternehmen beteiligt.

Mit dem Darlehen könnte die ICO zum Beispiel ein Zinsverbilligungsprogramm auflegen. Wegen der Schieflage der spanischen Banken und der tiefen Rezession kommen dort viele Unternehmen nicht mehr an Darlehen - oder nur zu horrenden Zinsen.<<

Deutsche Milliarden-Hilfe für Spanien (excerpt), http://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/spanienkfw100.html, 03/06/2013

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Austerity is inevitable. But it needs to be paired with measures to stimulate the economy. Otherwise it will cause damage, material and immaterial damage – inevitably as well.

>>LONDON — Unemployment in the euro zone continued its relentless march higher in April, according to official data published Friday, hitting yet another record amid a prolonged recession and the absence of a coordinated response by policy makers.
The jobless rate for the 17 countries that use the common currency rose to 12.2 percent, from 12.1 percent a month earlier, with 19.4 million people out of work, according to Eurostat, the European Union statistics agency. Some analysts said the jobless rate could hit 20 million by the end of the year.

[...]

A decision this week by European Union leaders to allow distressed countries more time to cut their government budgets will help, he said, as will a cut in the benchmark interest rate by the central bank last month. But Mr. Rogers [an economist who advises the consulting firm Ernst & Young] added, “Much more remains to be done to stimulate a recovery.”<<

Unemployment Hits Record High in Euro Zone (excerpt), Jack Ewing, The New York Times/IHT, 31/05/2013

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A vision was there at the cradle of European cooperation. It has proved to be a driving force. Now, it is important to have a vision to move on!

>>[...] Mr Barroso has called on all European leaders to accept that political union is inevitable in order to confront outright opposition to the EU, such as that from the UK Independence Party.
"This is why I believe the mainstream forces in European politics must seize the initiative, should leave their comfort zone to welcome and embrace this debate, rather than relinquish the momentum to eurosceptic or europhobic forces," he said.
"If you believe in the democratic resilience of Europe, if you take Europe's citizens seriously, you have to fight with rational arguments and unwavering convictions - and be convinced, as I am personally, that these will win the debate for us in the end."<<

UpFederal Europe will be "a reality in a few years", says Jose Manuel Barroso (excerpt), Bruno Waterfield, The Telegraph, 07/05/2013

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Those, who want Europe to progress into bygone and, fortunately, overcome structures and behavioral patterns are on the rise. May it be the “UKIP” in the U.K., the “Alternative für Deutschland” in Germany or the “FPÖ” and the political party “Team Stronach” in Austria, just to mention some of the political forces adverse to the European Union and/or the common currency Euro. Why is it? The Euro has proven strong against other currencies since its introduction and inflation in the Euro zone has been at record lows. Especially, Germany and Austria have definitely taken advantage of the common currency. European cooperation which has evolved into the current E.U. has provided the institutional framework for an unseen period of peace and prosperity in the member states, contributes fundamentally to overcoming differences in Europe that are the result of decades of totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe and offer to those, who are open to taking advantage of the disappearance of borders, a wealth of opportunities. So, why is it, that doubts and rejection are on the rise? Many reasons could be mentioned in detail, but it seems, that the problem is not about real issues. It has become a political fad to put any blame on the European Union neglecting the whole picture and to ruthlessly stir national emotions for the own political benefit. And the European Union has missed out on one crucially important task: to strive for a place in the citizens’ hearts. There, the nation states still remain dominant. Political decisions should be taken rationally and based on a long term perspective. A clear mind, however, advises that the future never can be found in the past.

>>LONDON — Britain’s populist United Kingdom Independence Party made sweeping gains in local elections and finished second in a parliamentary by-election, according to results announced Friday, shaking mainstream political parties, consolidating its position as an emerging political force and claiming a “sea change” in national life.

Once scorned by Prime Minister David Cameron as “a bunch of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists,” the party, which wants Britain to leave the European Union and strictly control immigration, gained about a quarter of the vote in a series of elections in different areas of the country on Thursday, according to an initial count. The outcome represented the party’s fourth electoral advance in six months. <<

Upstart British Party and gains in local elections (excerpt), Stephen Castle and Alan Cowell, The New York Times/IHT, 03/05/2013

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>>BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union officials say they have cleared a major hurdle toward establishing a
full banking union in their bid to stabilize the bloc's financial system.

[...]

EU leaders agreed last year to establish a joint banking supervision that will operate under the aegis of the European Central Bank. It will lay the groundwork to set up after 2014 a common deposit insurance scheme and an authority with powers to dissolve or rescue financial institutions.<<

EU Makes Important Step Toward Banking Union (excerpt), THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, The New York Times/IHT, 19/03/2013

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The European Union – a gateway to opportunities!

>>BRUSSELS — Answering pleas from European leaders desperate for a way to speed up economic growth, President Obama said on Tuesday that the United States would begin talks on a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union.

[...]

Tariffs on goods traveling between the United States and Europe are low, averaging about 3 percent, but proponents say that the savings from eliminating duties would still be significant because the volume of trade is so enormous. Commerce between the Union and the United States totaled $646 billion last year, according to U.S. government figures.<<

Obama to Open Trade Talks with E.U. (excerpt), James Kanter and Jack Ewing, The New York Times/IHT, 13/02/2013

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Cyprus has been hard hit by the euro zone’s debt crisis. A major reason for being in financial turbulence is the fact that Cypriot banks invested heavily in Greek government bonds, which have lost value considerably. If solidarity is of fundamental importance for the “European project” – and if it shall succeed, solidarity is dearly needed –, Cyprus has to be treated in the same way as other countries in need for bailout-support. Solidarity must not depend on the size and weight of a country, nor on suspicions that the money might benefit people, especially Russian oligarchs, who do not deserve help by bailout money. There may be understandable reasons for the reluctance to support Cyprus, but the underlying problems need to be addressed in a different way.

>>In recent days, Germany has signaled that it is reluctantly edging toward a bailout for Cyprus, after lifelines have been extended to Greece, Ireland and Portugal to prevent potentially calamitous defaults. While Cyprus makes up just a sliver of the euro zone economy, it is proving to be a first-rate political headache.

[...]

But giving a bailout to Cyprus is trickier than it seems. Cyprus’s politicians would prefer not to take European money, which comes with the harsh austerity conditions that have spread misery in Greece.

[...]

With that money running out, Germany and its European partners have been locked in a fierce debate over whether and how to throw Cyprus a lifeline. The problem is, most of the money lost by Cypriot banks was Russian, and the worry is that most of the bailout money could wind up in the hands of Russian oligarchs and gangsters.

[...]

Officials in Cyprus say there is no proof that the Russian cash in its banks is of dubious origin, and they insist that they cracked down on money laundering before joining the European Union. The officials point to an evaluation by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showing that Cyprus is compliant with more than 40 directives against money laundering.

[...]

The outspoken German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, recently cast doubt on whether Cyprus should even be considered for a bailout, given its small size and the stark reality that it is not nearly as vital to the euro’s existence as the larger economies of Spain or Italy. His blunt assessment reportedly drew an admonishment from Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, which has spent hundreds of billions of euros on a program intended to discourage financial market speculators from attacking euro zone countries.<<

Question of Aiding Cyprus Puts Germany in a Bind (excerpt), Liz Alderman, The New York Times/IHT, 03/02/2013

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It is true, that there needs to be clarity about U.K.’s commitment to participate in European cooperation and integration. However, a decision should not be driven by traditionalist emotions, but based on future-oriented rational considerations.

>>LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron promised Britons a decisive referendum within five years on membership in the European Union — provided he wins the next election — in a long-awaited speech on Wednesday whose implications have alarmed the Obama administration and are likely to set the markers for an intense debate in Britain and across Europe.

“It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics,” he told an audience in London, raising fears in capitals as distant as Washington that a ballot could lead to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

[...]

Coming a day after the leaders of France and Germany met in Berlin to celebrate a half-century of sometimes uneasy partnership, Mr. Cameron’s plea for acknowledgment of British distinctions seemed to reflect some of the deepest political and philosophical differences between London and Continental Europe on integration.

[...]

“You cannot do Europe à la carte,” said Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France. “Imagine the E.U. was a soccer club: once you’ve joined up and you’re in this club, you can’t then say you want to play rugby.”

[...]

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said she and her country viewed Britain as “an important part and an active member” of the European Union. The E.U., she said, “has always meant that we should find fair compromises.” <<

Cameron Promises Britons a Referendum on E.U. Membership (excerpt), Allen Cowell and Stephen Castle, The New York Times/IHT, 24/01/2013

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>>Berlin: (hib/AHE) Frankreichs Staatspräsident François Hollande hat die hervorgehobene Rolle der deutsch-französischen Beziehungen als Motor für das Zusammenwachsen Europas gewürdigt. „Unsere Freundschaft hat immer im Dienst der europäischen Einigung gestanden“, sagte Hollande am Dienstag in Berlin bei der gemeinsamen Sitzung der französischen Nationalversammlung und des Deutschen Bundestages anlässlich des 50. Jahrestages der Unterzeichnung des Élysée-Vertrages am 22. Januar 1963. „ Diese Freundschaft ist sehr wertvoll, sie ist unabdingbar notwendig und sie ist untrennbar mit der europäischen Einigung verbunden“, betonte der französische Präsident. Sie sei jedoch nicht exklusiv, sondern stehe allen europäischen Partnern offen. Deutschland und Frankreich müssten „Europa mitnehmen“, sagte Hollande. „Aber wir sind diejenigen, die zeigen müssen, wohin der Weg führt.“

Der Präsident warb für gemeinsame Anstrengung für eine weitere Vertiefung der Wirtschafts- und Währungsunion hin zu einer politischen Union. So müsse sich Europa mehr Haushaltsdisziplin auferlegen, aber auch für mehr Disziplin im Verhalten der Banken sorgen. Es gehe darum, gemeinsam dafür zu sorgen, dass Europa nicht nur ein Raum des Friedens, sondern auch ein „Rechtsraum, Raum des Wohlstands und ein Raum der Solidarität“ bleibt. Dazu gehöre auch, neue Perspektiven aufzuzeigen, gegen Jugendarbeitslosigkeit zu kämpfen und das Modell der sozialen Marktwirtschaft weiterzuentwickeln, um Antworten zu finden auf Herausforderungen wie Klimawandel, demographische Entwicklung, die Integration von Einwandern.<<

Hollande würdigt die Rolle der deutsch-französischen Beziehungen für das Zusammenwachsen Europas (excerpt), Bundestagsnachrichten/Élysée-Vertrag, Deutscher Bundestag, 22/01/2013

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A deep crisis cannot be overcome quickly. It takes commitment to goals and power of endurance to move in the right direction. Despite many obstacles it has been achieved to stabilize the situation and a restoration of confidence in the financial markets seems to be on the way. Now it is time to add growth incentives to austerity. Creative solutions can be found and would be as valuable for troubled E.U. member states as financial support. The direction is right. With common efforts based on solidarity the goal can and will be reached.

>>FRANKFURT — Tensions in the euro zone have eased noticeably since the summer, the European Central Bank said Friday, but it warned that the situation remained fragile in part because commercial banks were still in a weakened state.

[...]

The E.C.B. attributed the ebbing of fear in the euro zone to a combination of central bank policy, improved competitiveness at some countries and progress by political leaders toward creating a more durable euro zone. Mr. Constâncio [vice-president of the E.C.B] said it was impossible to separate out how much each of those factors contributed.<<

E.C.B. Sees a Healing Euro Zone but Warns of Risks (excerpt), Jack Ewing, The New York Times/IHT, 14/12/2012

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>>BRUSSELS — European Union leaders gathering here Thursday for their year-end summit meeting hailed an agreement to place euro zone banks under a single supervisor, calling it a concrete measure to maintain the viability of the currency as well as a step in laying the groundwork for a broader economic union.

[...]

“It’s a good day for Europe,” said François Hollande, the French president. “The crisis came from the banks, and mechanisms have been put in place that will mean nothing is as it was before.”
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the agreement was “a big step toward more trust and confidence in the euro zone.” The summit meeting could now focus “on strengthening economic coordination” and “set out a road map for the coming months,” she added.<<

European Leaders Hail Accord on Banking Supervision (excerpt), James Kanter, The New York Times/IHT, 13/12/2012

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Even if it may take some more years to be finalised, the negotiations about a free-trade agreement between the European Union and the United States of America are another example for the opportunities the cooperation between European countries provides. Together they can achieve what would be more difficult to do otherwise - for the benefit of the citizens in an increasingly globalised future.

>>FRANKFURT — A free-trade agreement between the United States and Europe, elusive for more than a decade but with a potentially huge economic effect, is gaining momentum and may finally be attainable, business and political leaders say.

[...]

Corporations and business groups on both sides of the Atlantic are also pushing hard for a pact. Tariffs on goods traded between the United States and the European Union are already low, averaging less than 3 percent. But companies that do substantial amounts of trans-Atlantic business say that even a relatively small increase in the volume of trade could deliver major economic benefits.<<

Trade Deal Between U.S. and Europe May Come Off Back Burner (excerpt), Jack Ewing, The New York Times/IHT, 25/11/2012

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>>Leaving the union would be a grave mistake, sacrificing Britain’s best hopes for a brighter economic future to half-baked longing for the simpler days when the British ruled an empire and had less need for European trade. There’s plenty of time for pro-Europe leaders to make that case. [...]

Twenty-seven countries now belong to the European Union, with several more nations like Iceland, Serbia and Turkey hoping to join. Even without further expansion, the union accounts for almost 50 percent of British trade and is its largest trading partner.

British supporters of continued European Union membership in all three major parties and in the business community need to counter the seductive simplicities of the euro-bashers who claim that Britain can ignore Europe and thrive on its own. They need to make the case that British engagement in Europe should be, as Mr. Carr [leader of Britain’s biggest business group, the Confederation of British Industry] put it Monday, “the linchpin of our wider global trade ambitions.” Britain needs the European Union as much as it needs Britain.<<

Britain's Place in Europe (excerpt), EDITORIAL, The New York Times/IHT, 22/11/2012

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>>The [I.M.F.]’s Global Financial Stability Assessment urged euro zone nations not to delay ambitious goals, such as the creation of a banking union, raising the pressure on European leaders who are due to meet for a summit next week in Brussels.
The downbeat assessment contrasts with more optimistic statements from Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, who said Tuesday that while the euro zone faced “extraordinary challenges,” it had also made “extraordinary progress.”

[...]

The tone of the report sends a strong message to European leaders whose failure to take decisive action since Greece first asked for help early in 2010 deepened the crisis.

[...]

The I.M.F. called for European leaders to move swiftly to complete its planned banking union. Germany has said that this needs to be put in place before the euro zone’s bailout fund can recapitalize banks directly.<<

Stocks Slip After I.M.F. Report Highlights Risks for Euro Zone (excerpt), Stephen Castle, The New York Times/IHT, 10/10/2012

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(Video)

>>...this financial crisis is changing dramatically perceptions. Now it's quite obvious that to sustain a common currency we need more common power, we need more sharing of the sovereignty of member states. And this is not done at the detriment of our nation states. On the contrary, it's the only way for those nation states in the 21st century to count in the global world.<<

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

 

Federation of nation states unavoidable? (excerpt), Richard Quest, CNN, 14/09/2012

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(Video)

>>...what we are seeing is the emergence of a different type of union where we are a much more diverse community of countries now than when the EEC and the European Union were first created. And that requires changes to the architecture of the way Europe is organised. Those who chose to go ahead with a single currency, yes, are going to need measures on greater integration in their financial systems. But there are very important things like the single market that will be there at 27, like the foreign policy cooperation will be there at 27.<<

David Lidington, British Minister for Europe

 

Lidington: UK happy keeping its currency (excerpt), Richard Quest, CNN, 14/09/2012

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Crisis forces to take decisions. Crisis forces to act. Crisis forces to move. There will be a long way to go to overcome it. However, it may pave the way to progress and future-oriented further European integration.

>>FRANKFURT — The European Central bank took its most ambitious step yet toward easing the euro zone crisis, assuming sweeping new powers to throw its unlimited financial clout behind an effort to protect Spain and Italy from financial collapse.
Mario Draghi, the E.C.B. president, overcame objections by Germany and won nearly unanimous support from the bank’s board for a program of buying government bonds that would effectively spread responsibility for repaying national debts to the euro zone countries as a group.
The announcement is one of the biggest steps yet on the uncertain and winding road to a more federal Europe, instead of the collection of nation states that often seem to share little more than a common currency and a slumping regional economy.

[...]

The E.C.B. will buy bonds on open markets, without setting any limits, of countries that ask for help, which Spain is expected to do. The E.C.B. said it would act only after countries agreed on conditions with the euro zone rescue fund, which will be known as the European Stability Mechanism. The E.S.M. would buy bonds directly from governments, taking responsibility for imposing the conditions, while the E.C.B. would intervene in secondary markets.
The bank and its president, Mr. Draghi, have had the quiet support of all European leaders in taking this latest bold action, aimed at keeping bond speculators from driving Spain and Italy into budget-blowing borrowing costs. “The euro is irreversible,” he repeated several times Thursday.<<

Central Bank to Snap Up Debt, Saying, ‘Euro Is
Irreversible’ (excerpt), Jack Ewing and Steven Erlanger, The New York Times/IHT, 06/09/2012

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>>Immer neue Horrornachrichten aus Griechenland, steigende Arbeitslosenzahlen in Spanien, eine sich abschwächende Konjunktur in ganz Europa - doch die Deutschen setzen mehrheitlich auf ein engeres Zusammenrücken in der EU. Eine deutliche Mehrheit der Bürger von 57 Prozent spricht sich für "mehr gemeinsame Politik" aus. Im März lag dieser Anteil mit 58 Prozent nur minimal höher.<<

Deutsche wünschen sich in der Krise mehr Europa (excerpt), Daniel Friedrich Sturm, Die Welt, 06/09/2012

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Only by solving the root of Europe’s problems, she [Angela Merkel] said, by strengthening political unity, will the region be able to recover fully from the crisis. She cited the massive debt and the lack of competition in the weaker economies of the union.
“We will only be successful when every, and I stress every, member country of the European Union, the European and international institutions as well as the peoples in our individual countries are ready to recognize the facts and realistically sum up our powers and put them to use for the greater good,” Ms. Merkel said.
She called for more innovation, improved technologies and a strengthened European domestic market and more flexible job market and less bureaucracy as key elements needed in order to ease the problems in the long term.
“I know it is arduous, that it is painful, that is a drawn-out task,” Ms. Merkel said. “It is a Herculean task, but it is unavoidable.”

Spanish Borrowing Costs Touch 7 Percent (excerpt), David Jolly and Melissa Eddy, The New York Times/IHT, 14/06/2012

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Europe - It's something to believe in

Europe - It's something to rely on

 

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"Building a citizens' Europe"

Video from the website of the European Commission

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 "Winston Churchill: calling for a United States of Europe"
19th December 1946 - Zurich

Video from the website europa.eu 

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 "Schuman Declaration"
9th May 1950 - Paris

Video from the website europa.eu 

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 "Konrad Adenauer speaking
on 2nd July 1966 in Metz"

Video from the website europa.eu