EPP to define its political direction for the next decade
Over 1200 participants from 40 countries have been invited to Bucharest where the European People's Party will hold its Congress and its traditional Summit of Heads of State and Government of the EPP political family. This event, hosted by the PDL and RMDSZ Parties in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, will take place on 16-18 October and will elect the new Presidency to lead the European People's Party for the next three years.
A new political platform
The Bucharest Congress will also be significant because of the planned adoption of a new political platform which will determine the political direction of the EPP for the next decade. The last Basic programme had been adopted at the EPP Congress in Athens in 1992 and had clearly positioned the EPP as the driving force behind the reunification of Europe. 20 years after Athens, we can look back to see Poland and France, Latvia and Belgium sitting side-by-side at the same table as equal partners.
Selecting a candidate for Commission President
The Congress will also mark the start of a process of proposing an EPP candidate for President of the European Commission. Under new EU rules, the nomination of Commission President takes into account the results of the European elections. This has opened up space for European parties to propose their candidates for the top post, in stark contrast to the previous practice of consensus among Member-State leaders on the nomination.
In 2009, the EPP already pre-empted the entry-into-force of these new rules and proposed José Manuel Barroso as candidate for Commission President. After a sweeping victory at the 2009 European elections, Barroso took office for his second term.
The EPP Summit
The EPP's 16 EU Heads of State and Government have been invited to participate in the EPP Summit, which will take place on Wednesday evening, 17 October: Traian BASESCU (Romania), Angela MERKEL (Germany), Mariano RAJOY (Spain), Jean-Claude JUNCKER (Luxembourg), Donald TUSK (Poland), Fredrik REINFELDT (Sweden), Jyrki KATAINEN (Finland), Viktor ORBÁN (Hungary), Enda KENNY (Ireland), Valdis DOMBROVSKIS (Latvia), Boyko BORISOV (Bulgaria), Lawrence GONZI (Malta), Andrius KUBILIUS (Lithuania), Pedro PASSOS COELHO (Portugal), Janez JANŠA (Slovenia) and Antonis SAMARAS (Greece).
EPP Group Study Days
In parallel to the Congress, the EPP Group will hold its Study Days. One of the main topics of the Study Days will be 'Employment and Social Cohesion'. The first morning of debates will focus on promoting growth and jobs in a Europe of greater solidarity. On the second morning, MEPs and other participants will discuss how to fill the gap between the interests of copyright holders and Internet users.
Among the participants will be: Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship; Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services; Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy; Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development and Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.
View the Study Days programme below.
The EPP Group Study days will be livestreamed at www.eppgroup.eu.
Four freedoms for growth
The EPP Group is going to the Congress with a clear political objective. Since its creation 20 years ago, the European Single Market has been a vessel for growth and jobs in Europe. The four freedoms of movement enshrined by the concept of the Single Market, i.e. the freedom of movement of people, of services, of goods and of capital, have, for younger generations, become synonymous with the EU. Internal border controls within the EU on goods have been abolished, as well as customs controls on people. EU countries mutually recognise national rules on their manufactured products, being allowed to place them on the EU common market. The liberalisation of the services sector is another objective, created through the mutual recognition and coordination of national rules on certain professions.
However, a lot still needs to be done. Still today, obstacles impede people from moving to another EU country or doing certain types of work there. Businesses continue to face problems accessing public procurement contracts, and EU consumers still do not know many of their rights. EU citizens are not informed about their social security when travelling abroad, unaware of the existence of the European health insurance card. In terms of legislation, there is also a gap between the EU legal framework and its application in the various Member States, hindering citizens and companies from fully participating in the common market.
In Bucharest, the EPP Group will aim to have the EPP family renew its commitment to the objectives of the Single Market. There are opportunities in areas like e-commerce or the services sector that can help create jobs in Europe. We need to help people seize those opportunities by creating good laws, but also making sure the laws are applied.
We want to send a message from Bucharest that by promoting our four freedoms, we can grow out of the crisis!
Follow us on Facebook where we will post our priorities on the single market.
Follow us on Twitter for live tweets of the event using the hashtags #4Freedoms4Growth and #EPP2012.