Speaking at Harvard University, European Commission Vice President Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, discussed the ongoing economic and political transformation of the European Union. He noted that in the midst of worrying news about the crisis in Europe, one can too easily forget that Europe is still much stronger than often perceived.
It would be a mistake to count Europe out. “The European Union is here to stay, and I believe this is good news for everyone, not just Europeans.”
Despite the remaining deep problems and challenges, he also highlighted that change is happening. “Across Europe, determined reforms to address long-standing weaknesses in labor, product and financial markets contribute to the successful consolidation of public finances, and help ensure lasting improvements in competitiveness in countries running current account deficits.”
Moreover, “for the medium to long-term, we have engaged in a very far-reaching process of rebuilding Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union.”
Vice President Rehn called for realistic expectations, saying that “we cannot expect the euro area to transform itself into a full fiscal union overnight. Deeper integration needs to be accompanied by strong democratic legitimacy.
Far-reaching decisions need to be allowed time to be appropriately reflected upon, debated and agreed in a way that is fully legitimate, especially considering the complex democratic construction that is the European Union. But it is clear that we have the sense of direction, and the determination to move forward and build what I have called EMU 2.0: a new, more robust and more sustainable economic and monetary union for Europe.”