French PM urges action to get EU economy moving again
Paris, 7 September 2014
Invited by his Italian counterpart to the Festa de l’Unità in Bologna and in the company of numerous European social democrat leaders, Manuel Valls pointed out that France has been calling since May 2012 for a reordering of Europe’s policy priorities, and he expressed delight that he could now count on Italy, which holds the current six-month European Union presidency. “We’re not alone. We’re fighting a shared battle. I’ve set myself the task of getting things moving again in France. And together, we’re going to get things moving again in Europe!” he said. For Manuel Valls, the very idea of progress which supposedly embodies the European ideal is in check, shackled.
Getting things moving again in Europe first of all involves monetary policy, he recalled, welcoming the initial reorientation carried out. “The Central Bank’s decisions in June and then again on Thursday sent a strong signal. The euro has fallen by 7%. That’s historic.”
Getting things moving again in Europe also involves revitalizing demand at European level. There too, the €300-billion investment plan announced by Jean-Claude Juncker is a good sign, but it must be allocated to financing our priorities: infrastructure for the energy transition and the digital sector; research and innovation to face up to global competition; and training, particularly for young people. “We must also use all the flexibility provided for by the European texts. In other words, the pace of deficit and debt reduction must be adapted to the exceptional situation we’re experiencing.”
“Reforming is difficult – even more difficult today because the economic situation leaves us little room to act. But it is necessary”, said Manuel Valls, welcoming the many major “institutional, economic, tax and administrative” reforms launched by his Italian counterpart since he took office. “But what we’ve also said is that without determined action right across the European Union to encourage investment, growth and jobs, nothing is possible”.
Governing responsibly means being capable of genuine budgetary discipline, “but not at any cost”, explained Manuel Valls. “In France, my government has embarked on an unprecedented savings effort, particularly as regards government and local authority spending. But we aren’t engaging in austerity. We’re maintaining our priorities by creating jobs in the education, security and justice sectors. And we’re taking action to lower taxes on modest-income households.”.