Dimitris Rapidis

Coming to the midterm evaluation of the European Commission 2010-2014, there are things that have been done, but mainly there are many that have not been done and require special attention by the Committee. Taking into consideration the deep financial recession and the subsequent debt crisis in Eurozone, I personally believe that the Commission should put more emphasis on three compelling priorities.

Priority No.1: Growth Policy and Jobs

There is no doubt that the Eurozone member-states of the South, ie. Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece are encountered with the crucial issue of joblessness and the lack of sustainable growth policies. The “blame” should be equally attributed to the governments of the aforementioned states and to the Commission as well. The Stability and Growth Pact has been completely abandoned under the shadow of the pressing deadlines and measures of the bailout plans in Greece and Spain. Italy is gradually being divised and fragmented into areas of lower and low growth standards, whereas in Portugal the government is ready to resort to the IMF and the European Central Bank in order to serve the uncontrolled public debt. Meanwhile, there no signs of returning back to financial normality and what is only considering the involving parts is to take new counter-social austerity measures, cut pensions and wages, without first minding the gap of income inequality, combat tax evasion, and lower the cost of investing.

Yesterday in Madrid and today in Athens we have once more experienced the anger of desperate people that pay for social security but have no social security, pay for taxes but see no improvement of tax monitoring mechanisms, and so on. Bankrupcy is underway and people are getting desperate.

The European Commission has to launch a new growth agreement and insert clauses of growth in the stability and debt pacts. Nothing has been done yet while statements of boosting growth, lately articulated by the French President Hollande have lost pace so forth.


Priority No. 2: Financial and Debt Crisis

Yes, we do have a tremendous financial and debt crisis and we do have to face it. But it is stunning the way the European Commission is coping with it, leaving European people to believe that the only way to encounter it is only through harsh austerity measures and cuts. In this respect, it is equally stunning the fact that there are no clear voices supporting the opposite, which is a new financial management model of the crisis that will share burdens of recession to both taxpayers and tax evadors.

To my point of view, I really discern two ways of counter-action: First, for those tax evadors that have fled millions of euro outside their countries and have been involved into scandals of money laundry, the government to drop their nationality until they pay what they own. Second, for those scholars and political advisors, analysts and fresh political leaders that have a saying in an alternative model of public policy action against the crisis to start networking through specific networks and think-tanks across Europe in order to lauch a new debate over and against the consecutive austerity politics. As information and ideas are spread in a many times inconceivable manner, those who aim to provide an alternative economic model should put things down and start managing their steps in accordance. I firmly believe that the first step should be the organization of conferences in the capitals of the debt-affected countries as well as in Brussels, the heart of the European policy.


Priority No. 3: The Silicon Valley Model

Long discussions have taken place from time to time concerning the possibilities of establishing a startup hub in the European Union. This issue steps into the innovation and technology policies of the European Commission as it is needed a more flexible framework of startup entreprises to get involved in a specific geographical area inside the Union where founders and investors should meet. The fundamental target lying behind is the way of representing entreprises and institutions in an attitude aimed at expanding and refining control of production and distribution.

At Silicon Valley in California the way of doing business has certainly accomplished a lot and improved the quality of life immeasurably. In the European Union, there are many technological institutions that need funding and support in order to extract their findings and build on them with direct effects over the society. We just need to imagine how many entrepreneurs that lack funding could profit from such a production complex and how many job openings could see the light if the European Commission would start receive knowledge and deeds from that corner of thr United States.

All things considered, I come back to my basics pointing out how important it appears for the citizens of the European Union to give them a hope that can be practically implemented. And the role of the European Commission should be set into this basis for the next two years to come.

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