Fabian Demicoli

Herman Van Rumpoy at the concluding plenary session of the EP week


On the European Semester for economic policy coordination "Only once the dust has settled will people fully appreciate how far we have come" – 2013 has started on a more hopeful note for the euro area, as a euro area. It is now clear that the euro is an irreversible project. There are several signs that the worst is now behind us. In most countries, even those under pressure from the markets – from Greece to Portugal, from Ireland to Italy to Spain – budgetary positions are looking healthier, exports are picking up, on the financial side, spreads are coming down, and financial fragmentation within the euro area is easing. 

 

These are all helpful signs, but we should not forget that there is still a long, long way to go. After all, we are in the process of overcoming the biggest economic downturn since the 1930s, which in Europe included an existential crisis for euro. A crisis that made people fear for their savings, then fuelled some doubts about the survival of their currency itself. What could be more damaging to confidence, in households and businesses alike?

I would like to underline the importance of this point. The stabilisation of the euro area was our priority for these last three years for a very simple reason:  without stability, there could be no growth, and no job creation. From that perspective, 2012 will come to be seen as a turning-point. A vast amount of work was done in the Member States, in the euro area, and in the Union as a whole. Only once the dust has settled will people fully appreciate how far we have come.

 

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