Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, evoked in his State of the Union speech 2016 in front of the European Parliament in September in Brussels several aspects of EU economic governance :
“Being European, for most of us, also means the euro. During the global financial crisis, the euro stayed strong and protected us from even worse instability. The euro is a leading world currency, and it brings huge, often invisible economic benefits. Euro area countries saved €50 billion this year in interest payments, thanks to the European Central Bank’s monetary policy. €50 billion extra that our finance ministers can and should invest into the economy.
Mario Draghi is preserving the stability of our currency. And he is making a stronger contribution to jobs and growth than many of our Member States. Yes, we Europeans suffered under a historic financial and debt crisis. But the truth is that while public deficits stood at 6.3% on average in the euro area in 2009, today they are below 2%. Over the last three years, almost 8 million more people found a job. 1 million in Spain alone, a
country which continues to show an impressive recovery from the crisis.”
“Being political is also what allows us to implement the Stability and Growth Pact with common sense. The Pact’s creation was influenced by theory. Its application has become a doctrine for many. And today, the Pact is a dogma for some. In theory, a single decimal point over 60 percent in a country’s debt should be punished. But in reality, you have to look at the reasons for debt. We should try to support and not punish ongoing reform efforts. For this we need responsible politicians. And we will continue to apply the Pact not in a dogmatic manner, but with common sense and with the flexibility that we wisely built into the rules.”
“Alongside these efforts to attract private investment (ndlr, European Fund for Strategic Investments), we also need to create the right environment to invest in. European banks are in much better shape than two years ago, thanks to our joint European efforts. Europe needs its banks. But an economy almost entirely dependent on bank credit is bad for financial stability. It is also bad for business, as we saw during the financial crisis. That is why it is now urgent we accelerate our work on the Capital Markets Union. The Commission is putting a concrete roadmap for this on your table today.
A Capital Markets Union will make our financial system more resilient. It will give companies easier and more diversified access to finance. Imagine a Finnish start-up that cannot get a bank loan. Right now, the options are very limited. The Capital Markets Union will offer alternative, vital sources of funding to help start-ups get started – business angels, venture capital, market financing. To just mention one example – almost a year ago we put a proposal on the table that will make it easier for banks to provide loans. It has the potential of freeing up €100 billion of additional finance for EU businesses. So let us please speed up its adoption. Our European Investment Plan worked better than anyone expected inside Europe, and now we are going to take it global. Something many of you and many Member States have called for.”