I would like, of course, to start by thanking and congratulating Mr. Rosati, our Rapporteur, for the work he did. I should also congratulate him for being here and being just as fresh as all the times we had clashes together because he has just come from a long trip to Peru, and he has just arrived, and that is quite an achievement. But apart from that, I confirm most of what he said. We had long discussions, some clashes, some disputes, some forms of agreement, and he has done a good job- the best job you can do in the circumstances. Of course there are still areas in which we are in disagreement, and that will come out in the wash when the vote comes up of course.
As he said, we had to make compromises, compromises that were cloaked in different words, sometimes words that could be interpreted differently on other occasions. I conform as well the areas where we had disagreements basically in terms of what structural reforms stand for. He would tend more towards– this may be a misinterpretation but I think I’m right– towards labor structural reforms, labor market structural reforms, towards reforms that concern deficit reduction or consolidation of fiscal structures and government accounts. We were, on our side, more interested in the social dimension of what is being proposed, how to ensure that that social dimension is really protected and safeguarded, and beyond that as well, into what growth prospects would there be in following one path as opposed to another path. And that was the subject for quite a number of discussions as well as the point he indicated concerning the difference between having a deficit in your financial system to having a surplus in your financial system, and whether given the structures of how the Union’s affairs have been conducted surplus and deficit pose major risks, or do not pose major risks. It seems to me that, in our conclusion, there is the sentiment that both deficits and surpluses pose major risks, though those major risks will not be similar in the different circumstances. There are major risks and dangers associated with surplus positions and different major risks associated with deficit positions.
Beyond that as well I think what came through was this interest, this concern to have CSR’s that really contribute to growth in the Union economy on national bases and on a coherent, consolidated basis. Much of our controversy was basically whether certain CSR’s could be perhaps slanted toward certain assumptions that do not make sense, that are not giving results and whether emphasis on other CSR’s would not have been better. Also, concerning the record of CSR’s in the past, whether CSR’s have been really good tools in promoting growth and development in Union economies.
Beyond that as well, the concern I had, it came through because of what amendment we are discussing, is this: that we seem to be moving towards a system, if we are not already there, that is overloaded with rules and regulations. We are not a federal system, we are a Union that is working on the basis of a currency union that does not have a central treasury, that is not supposedly a transfer union, but at the same time we seem to be burdening our component states, its members, with rules and regulations that are far more complex and far more overloaded than the states in the US, under a federal system, have to observe. And that is something that I think we should reflect upon. Beyond that as well, much of what we are doing is contributing to increased regulation, increased burdens of bureaucratic monitoring of what is going on, that is, I think also affecting our competitiveness. Competitiveness was one of the points we discussed at length, and personally I am a bit disappointed that at this stage we cannot, I think, say the report, as good as it is, with of course reservations on what I disagree on, good as it is, it still does not make sufficient contributions to new concepts that would promote competitiveness, increase competitiveness in our economies. Beyond that, I think that if we can smooth out some remaining wrinkles in the final report; this is a report that should be voted for at the end of this process.