Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-04-11-Speech-2-110"

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"Madam President, I wish to welcome the President-in-Office of the Council and to wish him every success in the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union. I am sure that we are all in broad agreement with the Lisbon Summit’s strategic objective to make Europe, and I quote, “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth”. Nobody doubts the importance of preparing the European public for the demands of a society based on information, knowledge, and new communications technologies as strategic weapons, in order to emerge victorious in the future, generating employment with higher-quality work and higher pay. This would all be fine if the Lisbon Summit had been held specifically to discuss this kind of issue, which would mean that it should have been called the Information Society Summit, or the Knowledge Economy Summit or the New Economy Summit, according to people’s whims, taste or pretensions. To call it the Employment Summit, however, would be to depart from its real purpose. It is like putting a fake label on a product, which does not match the content. In this case, it was done out of political expediency. The truth is that the objective of employment goes far beyond these issues. Firstly, the new economy, which essentially represents a challenge for this generation, cannot put a bomb under the old economy, which is the mainstay of our lives and whose modernisation and structural adjustment represent a stage that we cannot dispense with. This means that we must immediately discuss strategies for restructuring the traditional sectors of our economy, which rethinking the choices that we will have to make in relation to the guiding principles of the World Trade Organisation would require. Secondly, a strategic debate on employment would have to start with a substantial analysis of the European Union’s agents of competitiveness, because that is what sustainable economic growth depends on, and hence employment and social well-being. The truth is that in a debate of this kind, we are bound to wonder why the EU has grown at half the rate of the United States of America over the last few years, and why no government has had the courage to question the more harmful effects of the so-called “European social model”, because, without wishing to detract from its positive aspects, this model is, to some extent, an incentive to passivity, to indolence and sloth in some elements of society, who could and should work. We should therefore ask ourselves why the level of economic reintegration into the active population has been so low amongst those who have benefited from certain support policies. This applies particularly to the “minimum guaranteed income” type of system. We must also ask ourselves why we in Europe have a system that is so state-led and so interventionist that it regulates the competitiveness of the economy in a damaging way, and which, in the guise of arguments about society and stability, sometimes conceals high-spending strategies and even, very often, strategies for helping their political cronies. These strategies certainly have a harmful effect on economic growth, on the distribution of wealth, and consequently, on employment. A far-reaching debate on the problem of employment in the European Union would inevitably, therefore, have to address these issues properly."@en1

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