[if gte mso 9]>

How do we keep faith in these times of hardship? It is difficult to remain positive when the press is filled with information such as: the biggest reform of the UK’s social security system since World War II to save 25 billion euros by 2015; the pew research center’s poll reveals that few Europeans have faith in the European project; the Heads of State are struggling with the banking union, debating whether or not there should be a treaty change before the supervision mechanism is in place; and the member states do not agree to increase the 2013 EU budget by 11 billion euros thus implying that some of their local authorities will not be paid by the EU for the funds they advanced last year.

Amidst this context, we continue to argue for a social Europe, for a Union that cares for its population. Last week we met with the President of the European Council to discuss the social dimension of the economic and monetary union. Tomorrow we will be with the Secretary General of the Commission to present our arguments for rebalancing the economic policy with strong social policies to lift people out of poverty and ensure that they get quality jobs.

It is not easy to be here in Brussels when the wind blows against the EU. The idea of being united to ensure the wellbeing of all is not wrong. But it has to be the priority. Any economic policy has to be at the service of the people, not the other way around. We should not argue for a social dimension of the economic policy, but our leaders should argue on how their proposals support the wellbeing of their citizens.

We shall persevere.

Let’s engage

Pierre Baussand - Director