Thorning-Schmidt: We must restore faith in European project

‘More Europe’ will bring about solutions to economic crisis, PM says during opening of Danish presidency at European Parliament today

“Growth is low. Debt is high. Businesses are struggling. Jobs are being lost. Insecurity has become part of everyday life for millions of European families.”

PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt did not mince her words today in the European Parliament in Strasbourg as she formally announced Denmark’s priorities for its six-month presidency.

But her message was not all doom and gloom. Recalling the issues faced by her own generation, Thorning-Schmidt, 45, argued that increased European co-operation was the only way to end the union's economic crisis.

“We were sometimes described as the ‘No Future’ generation. But in Europe, we saw a path to a more prosperous and promising future.”

A former MEP, Thorning-Schmidt was in familiar territory as she addressed the plenary, stating her government's four priorities for the presidency.

“Budget discipline. Growth and jobs. Green policies. And ensuring the safety of our citizens and the voice of Europe in the world. These are our priorities,” Thorning-Schmidt said. “The Danish presidency will work tirelessly during the next six months to ensure that the EU continues to produce tangible, useful results.”

But tangible results can only be created if European institutions remain strong, Thorning-Schmidt argued, and if they can be relied upon to enforce rules and maintain discipline.

Thorning-Schmidt seems to be referring for the need for decisive action on the sovereign debt crisis – the future of Europe rests on the ability for European institutions act on strong solutions.

On this topic, Thorning-Schmidt did commend the actions that had already been made.

“The countries of the Eurozone have taken on a huge responsibility in securing economic stability in our region. The fiscal compact will play a key role in stabilising the euro.”

But she also stated that more needed to be done.

“We must confront the economic challenge with decisive action. To restore confidence in Europe. To create a new foundation for growth and progress. To ensure the long-term viability of the European model.”

And this was the core of Thorning-Schmidt’s message – that the EU is not the problem, but the solution.

“The path out of this crisis goes through more Europe, not less Europe,” Thorning-Schmidt said. "In current conditions, to be inward-looking is to be blind to reality. It is up to the leaders of Europe to show this to our citizens and to the outside world. It is the practicality of Europe that will re-store faith in the European project.”

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