EPP Group Bureau Meeting in Florence

For a new political Europe - inspired by the courage of our origins
06.09.2012 - 09:00
- 07.09.2012 - 12:30
Last Updated: 08.02.2013 - 12:30
Florence, Italy

The Bureau Meeting was followed by the 15th EPP Group Dialogue with Churches and Religious Institutions

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Welcome speeches
Joseph DAUL, MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament (EP)
Vito BONSIGNORE, MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in the EP
Giuseppe GARGANI, MEP, Head of the Italian (UDC-SVP Party) Delegation of the EPP Group in the EP
Mario MAURO, MEP, Head of the Italian (PDL Party) Delegation of the EPP Group in the EP
Pier Ferdinando CASINI, Leader of UDC (Union of the Centre) and President of IDC (Christian Democratic International)
Angelino ALFANO, National Secretary of PDL (Popolo della Libertà)
chaired by
Jaime MAYOR OREJA, MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group in the EP responsible for Political Strategy and the European Ideas Network
Lawrence GONZI, Maltese Prime Minister
Eugenio NASARRE, Member of the Spanish National Congress for Granada, PP Group (VII, VIII, IX and X term), Member of the Constitutional Commission
Rocco BUTTIGLIONE, Vice-President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, President of the UDC (Unione dei Democratici Cristiani e Democratici di Centro)
Peter LIESE, MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group Working Group on Bioethics, EPP Group Coordinator in the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the EP
Mariya GABRIEL, MEP, EPP Group Coordinator in the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee of the EP
Carlo CASINI, MEP, Chairman of the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the EP
Meeting at the European University Institute
Welcome Speech by
Marise CREMONA, President ad interim of the European University Institute
Joseph DAUL, MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group in the EP
Roberta ANGELILLI, MEP, Vice-President of the EP
Mario MONTI, Italian Prime Minister
Official Conclusions

6-7 September 2012
Florence- ITALY


Meeting Room:
Grand Hotel Baglioni
Piazza Unità Italiana, 6
50123, Florence
Tel: +39 055 23588806

For a new political Europe - inspired by the courage of our origins


The EPP Group is calling for a political kick-start to deal with the crisis of values which the European social model is currently facing.

For years, governments have believed that public spending could continue to grow without limit, beyond the bounds of common sense. Financial systems sank into a spiral of speculation and risk. Citizens got into debt beyond their abilities to repay that debt.

Today, therefore, not only do we need to address our economic problems, however serious they may be, but we also need to hold a genuine cultural debate, at the very heart of our societies. In this regard, the EPP Group believes that society must once again be based on the pillars of the values inspired by the Founding Fathers.

Firstly, the primary duty of European politicians and society as a whole is to rediscover the value of truth. The truth, when taking action and when framing policies, means diagnosing the problems that are affecting us and providing solutions for dealing with them.

Secondly, we have to express, formulate and develop a set of values to deal with the new era we are living in.

The values of effort, commitment, a job well done, loyalty, austerity, ambition and projects such as the European project must get the better of the vacuity of the 'anything goes' culture of minimal effort.

Thirdly, politics must be imbued with a high dose of humanism.

True to its Christian Democratic roots, the EPP Group attaches great importance to the human being. People (their needs, demands, values and life plans) must be the main focus of politicians, economists, thinkers and all those who shape and define our social model.

Faced with a crisis as deep as the current one, we are mistaken if we only take into account the solutions brought to us by economists, central banks and governments, as if the solution could only depend on them.

Only a change in personal attitudes can be both the key and the real driving force needed to successfully face the new times that await us.

But before asking citizens for such a change of attitude, politicians should, without hesitation and by setting an example, be at the forefront of this transformation.

The defence of human dignity and the right to life are the basic premise of the new humanism we are calling for.

Fourthly, we must strengthen the concepts – which are the backbone of our society at this time of uncertainty and transition – of values such as the family, which is the foundation of our society, and education as the best tool for preventing social inequalities.

The EPP Group would like the moral strength of the EU to be increased.

Today, the value of freedom, responsibility and solidarity that the EU represents should be able to overcome the current crisis. But for that to happen, values must become the cornerstone of European identity in order to meet this challenge.

C. Detourbet


The current financial and economic crisis is a crisis of confidence and willingness to tackle economic and political challenges. Today, as 60 years ago, there is a risk that the crisis could deepen divisions between Member States up to the point of breaking the whole European project. The EPP Group is convinced that responsibility has to be shown by acting in the interest of Europe with the aim of avoiding the temptations of nationalism and populism.

To really understand how we can revitalise the European project, the EPP Group has to revive its ambitious ideas concerning the future of Europe. It is necessary to show the determination to walk together along a difficult path combining solidarity and discipline. This will be even more necessary in the future because none of the EU countries can solve alone even the smallest of the challenges facing Europe. The crisis has shown that the EU remains definitely the relevant frame of reference to address economic risks.

In this context, the EPP Group has a key role to play as it has proven to be the proponent of responsibility and solidarity, convergence and discipline, growth and stability, in a way that avoids polarised views of Europe and a fragmented Union - as was pointed out by José Manuel Barroso. The EPP Group has already done a lot in the adoption of the 6-Pack, 2-Pack (a series of important laws that will strengthen economic and budgetary coordination for the EU as a whole and for the Euro area in particular), European legislation regulating alternative investment funds and rating agencies. But now urgent measures are needed in a short-term approach to bring stability to the financial markets and trust in the Euro. The forthcoming Commission proposals on a banking union (to be released on 12 September), the decision made by the ECB on the purchase of government debt are going in the right direction. The economic and monetary union cannot be reduced to the single currency. In a long-term approach, the EPP has to reflect on the way to regain trust in the EU project and strengthen credibility and democratic accountability through a revision of the Treaties and enhanced cooperation to solve the institutional crisis. The EPP has, in a pragmatic fashion, to push for structural reforms for competiveness and growth, with the full involvement of the European Parliament in the Ordinary Legislative Procedure.

Mario Mauro MEP concluded the debate by underlying that the EPP is well aware that we are now running out of time and it is urgent for the Institutions to show more courage and more ambition. As the ECB stood "ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the Euro", the EPP should be now ready to do whatever it takes to preserve Europe", he declared.

O. Dreute - O. Bensouag


Europe needs fiscal stability and structural reforms for growth, and growth for stability. We can only overcome the crisis if we fully work both sides of this coin. We are committed to the model of the social market economy. The future of Europe’s peoples and nations is a community of responsibility and solidarity, united in the social market economy. The EPP Group wants to achieve sustainable growth in order to provide the next generation with jobs instead of debt. We want Europe to grow out of the crisis! Therefore we need structural reforms in the Member States to enhance their competitiveness.

We need a fully operational internal market including a better functioning and transparent financial market. The Institutions should agree on a binding calendar and concrete measures for enforcing the Single Market legislation, abolishing obstacles to the free circulation of goods, services, persons and capital within the framework of the Social Market Economy. Up to 2% of GDP could be gained by the full implementation of the Services Directive.

We look forward to the proposals on banking supervision the Commission will present soon. We have no time to lose in making decisive steps towards a banking union. A well-functioning and transparent financial single market with well capitalised financial institutions is a prerequisite for sustainable growth. We support a reform of the banking and financial system which sees banks returning to their primary function, which is serving the real economy, stimulating entrepreneurship and economic development.

EU spending must be more clearly targeted and concentrate on projects that deliver competitiveness and that support major European goals; a more coherent budgetary policy means coherence must exist not only between different policies, but also between national budgets and the EU budget.

We have to give priority to the pressing problem of youth unemployment. Member States and the Institutions should swiftly agree on binding targets and measures in the areas of youth mobility (Youth on the Move) and language skills as well as encourage youth entrepreneurship through simplifying and supporting start-up procedures and financing.

We call for cutting the bureaucratic burden by 25% before 2015. Every day in Europe, there are 23 million SMEs facing substantial costs because of bureaucratic rules. If we cut these burdens, allowing every SME to hire one more worker, we will have 23 million more jobs!

SMEs need our support, as they are the job creators. The SME Test must therefore be evenly applied and fully respected in all Member States.

  • The EU will never be in a position to respond to existing and new challenges without adequate financing. The implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy, endorsed by all Member States, needs a robust European budget. There is an urgent need to find the means to ensure the financing of the new EU competences introduced by the Lisbon Treaty.
  • The MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework) 2014-2020 represents a crucial moment to finance an EU policy for growth, investment and jobs. The new financial framework should bring a substantial increase in key EU programmes for R&D and innovation, infrastructure as well as SMEs, while maintaining a sufficient level of resources for EU cohesion policy and agriculture.
  • Budgetary flexibility is of key importance for a better and more sufficient use of EU funds, both within and across budget headings, as well as between financial years. This will allow budgetary resources to be appropriately aligned with evolving circumstances and priorities.
  • It is essential that the EU budget shows an appropriate balance between revenue from own resources and expenditure as required by the Treaty. The EPP supports the Commission's proposals for a reform of the Own Resources system. The reform should lead to more transparency, fairness and sustainability.
  • The negotiations on the next MFF 2014-2020 should be conducted with full respect of the European Parliament's rights and prerogatives as the Lisbon Treaty provides and with a view to reaching an overall political agreement by the end of this year.

A. Bastiaansen-K. Wynands - B. Thollon


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