The Commission is right in seeking to streamline and prioritize the approach to the European Semester. However the political rhetoric used to frame and run initiatives has an influence that extends beyond their scope. On the issue of taxation for instance, the need for Europe-wide action should be restricted to the need for transparency. Widening this approach to open the way for tax convergence and harmonisation is outside the present scope of the Treaties. It is also counterproductive since it further limits the flexibility of regions and peripheral countries which most need it. So yes, to all measures intended to ensure transparency in the assessment of tax dues. But rather no, to measures that contribute to tax convergence and harmonisation. First, there need to be viable programmes that really compensate for the growing economic divergence between the centre and the periphery of the Union. Too often, EU programmes are evaluated by whether they contribute to greater or lesser union. This focus is misplaced. We should be asking all the time how programmes will directly benefit citizens? which citizens? how? when? — taking into account national realities — avoiding one–size-fits-all solutions. With the right answers, asking whether we need more or less Europe could become irrelevant. There is no better way of generating growth in Europe.

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