EPP Group Bureau Meeting in Killarney

Relaunching Growth and Employment: A Responsibility for the European Union
17.05.2012 - 09:30
- 18.05.2012 - 12:30
Last Updated: 08.02.2013 - 12:31
Killarney, Ireland

As the tourism industry employs 8 million people across Europe, mostly in small and medium-sized businesses, constituting 5% of the EU’s GDP, the sector will be an integral part of future jobs and growth strategies across Europe.

"Cohesion policy is a vital scheme for supporting more regional areas of Europe and we must ensure the 2014-2020 programme funds are used effectively" Sean Kelly MEP.

Considering this, the future of EU Tourism and Cohesion Policies and the economic situation following the Fiscal Compact will be the main focus of discussions at the EPP Group Bureau meeting in Killarney next week, 17-18 May.

"With its regional location and tourism-driven economy, County Kerry provides an excellent location from which we can formulate Group positions on these issues", suggests Mr Kelly.

Guest speakers will include European Commissioners, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Irish Government Ministers and representatives from the Irish business and hospitality sectors.

Event Timetable
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Welcome speeches
Joseph DAUL, MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament (EP)
Gay MITCHELL, MEP, Head of the Irish (Fine Gael Party) Delegation of the EPP Group in the EP
Tim BUCKLEY, Mayor of Kerry County Council
chaired by
Jan OLBRYCHT, MEP, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer of the EPP Group in the EP responsible for Intercultural Relations
Leo VARADKAR, Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Seán KELLY, MEP, Member of the Regional Development Committee of the EP
Rosa ESTARÀS FERRAGUT, MEP, Member of the Regional Development Committee and of the Transport and Tourism Committee of the EP
Michael ROSNEY, Former President of the Irish Hoteliers' Association
Carlo FIDANZA, MEP, Member of the Transport and Tourism Committee of the EP
Official Conclusions

17-18 MAY 2012
Killarney - IRELAND




The EPP Group in the European Parliament proposes to strengthen the tourism sector as an important area for growth and economic recovery in Europe. There are countless opportunities where a common approach can bring additional economic and social benefits, especially to peripheral regions where other economic opportunities may be limited. The EPP Group supports the European Commission in its efforts and initiatives when promoting the European tourism sector, namely by focusing on the key areas with added EU value and also by developing a comprehensive tourism strategy from year 2014 onwards. It is also essential that all Member States support an EU tourism strategy and work together for the common good.

In the opinion of the EPP Group as most of the businesses in this sector are SME’s and self-employed entrepreneurs, special targeted support should be provided. Such support would encompass micro-loans and additional access to financing from EU-funds, a special ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) platform designed for SME’s as well training and learning opportunities for new and existing entrepreneurs in the tourism sector. The EPP Group also supports the 130 million EUR that have been earmarked by the European Commission within the COSME Programme to promote Europe as an attractive tourist destination.

The Establishment of the Tourism Task Force in the European Parliament as proposed by EPP MEP, Carlo Fidanza is a beginning in giving the European Parliament a more pro-active role in determining how EU tourism policy should look like in the future. The EPP Group believes that everyone should have equal opportunities to enjoy tourism, therefore much emphasis is also being put on accessible tourism to give people with disabilities and reduced mobility the same opportunities to travel in the EU as all other people enjoy.

In the debate speakers agreed on the importance of the tourism sector in the European Union and especially on the effect this sector has on remote regions and SMEs. Everyone agreed that other policy areas have an important effect on the tourism sector; therefore this sector should not be looked at in isolation. The EPP Group MEP, Carlo Fidanza stressed the importance of attracting more tourists from outside the EU, notably from BRIC countries. EPP MEP, Sean Kelly proposed to introduce a price increase ceiling on companies during major events, such as sports games, festivals and concerts, during which many visitors are faced with inappropriately high travelling and living costs.


Atlantic area

The Atlantic area has enormous potential for "blue growth": especially marine renewable energy, maritime transport, naval industry, marine leisure, fishery and aquaculture. This economic potential remains largely unexploited.

Therefore, the EPP Group strongly advocates the necessity of a European Atlantic strategy, as a tool of regional and maritime development. The challenges and opportunities of the Atlantic area go beyond national borders. A political consensus and coordination at European, national and local level will allow a bottom up approach, involving the people who are directly concerned.

This territorial dimension should be strengthened in future. The operational program Interreg has proven to be an essential funding tool in this context.

  • The EPP Group is convinced that, even more in times of crisis, concentration on cohesion policy is a necessity, which firmly has to be focused on growth. An identification and prioritisation of EU funding initiatives is essential for its efficiency. Support for SME's, innovation, renewable energy and energy efficiency are also crucial.
  • Structural funds have to be reprioritised and the quality of expenditure needs to be improved.
  • Private investors have to be attracted and new finance found. Structural funds should give financial incentives to the subregion and inject stimuli into the European Union.
  • A synergy with other European policies is essential. Cohesion policy, fishery policy, agricultural policy, especially the rural development part have to be complimentary. This complimentary dimension is equally important in the policy fields of transport, tourism, research, energy and environment.
  • Growth and reform go together and cannot be disassociated.
  • The negotiations on the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) have to reflect the possibilities of the renewed policy for growth and competiveness and contribute to employment creation in Europe - and territorial co-operation, through cohesion policy, research and development, transnational networks and education.
  • An agreement on the future MFF should be reached as soon as possible, to give a strong political answer to the call for actions to restore growth.


The debate on the fiscal compact agreement, its ratification in the Member states, and the multifaceted ideas for an accompanying growth component conveys, for the EPP Group, a clear message: To have an open and honest dialogue between politics and citizens, to built confidence that these two components, fiscal discipline and growth policy, based on structural reforms, will stabilise our economy and will give confidence to Europeans.

Towards a European Growth Pact - Fuelling Economic Growth

EU Member States do not only face problems due to their public debt, but also because of their lack of competitiveness of their economies. Therefore for the EPP fiscal discipline is not a goal in itself, but an indispensable tool of any growth policy. Reduction of public debt requires economic dynamics and growth in innovative business. It is evident that investment in growth must not lead to new and higher public debts. Member States cannot afford debt financed measures.

Some Member States have demonstrated that the combination of fiscal discipline and economic reform leads to economic and social welfare. To enact these structural reforms in all Member States a number of actions have already been started. The EU must streamline, complement and render more precise its strategies for growth and competitiveness: the EU 2020 Strategy and the Euro Plus Pact. The aims of these strategies are right, but they need to be respected.

  • The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission need to agree on a common roadmap towards growth and prosperity.
  • We therefore call on the European Council and the Member States to make the commitments under the EU 2020 Strategy and the Euro Plus Pact binding; the European Commission shall lay them out in detail and merge them into one coherent, enforceable strategy, the European Growth Commitments.
  • Furthermore, the EU institutions must swiftly adopt pending EU legislation on growth: project bonds, enhanced EIB action to support access to finance for SMEs, a substantial increase of key EU programmes for R&D and innovation and the better use of unspent EU funds for growth enhancing projects.
  • EU funds should be prioritised and concentrate on funding competitiveness, especially of SMEs and on reducing youth unemployment.
  • The institutions should agree on a binding calendar and on concrete measures for enforcing Single Market legislation, and the necessary measures to make use of the full potential of the internal market, abolishing all remaining obstacles to the free circulation of goods, services and workers.
  • The EU and the Member States should commit themselves to modernize their public administrations, to cut administrative burden on business by another 25% by 2015. The SME Test must be evenly applied and fully respected in all Member states.
  • A proactive and open external trade policy must accompany these internal reforms to allow for market access of EU products and services.
  • All these instruments and goals need to be subject to a fast, efficient and nonbureaucratic management by the European Commission. The Fiscal compact model of an international agreement is legally excluded here, as EU competencies are affected, therefore another solid base for clear political and legal commitments needs to be assessed.

Immediate Action on Youth Employment - A Long Term Strategy for an Innovative EU

Increase of competitiveness is the only long-term answer to the public debt crisis and the single motor for growth and the preservation of the social market economy. This means that the economic benefits of the fiscal stability and growth policy must be used in the most efficient form to make Europe fit for the future by enhancing innovation, fuelling research and giving a clear perspective to European youth.

Member States have, in the EU Strategy for Youth, committed themselves to reduce youth unemployment, this need to be underpinned by the necessary actions and funding.

  • Member States and the institutions should swiftly agree on binding targets and measures in the areas of youth mobility (Youth on the move), recognition of qualifications and languages skills; the new multiannual programme for education, youth and sport must be made operational to facilitate access to the labour market for the youth.
  • The Youth Opportunities Initiative (YOI) on stronger cooperation between the EU and the Member States for defining and implementing measures tackling youth unemployment must be implemented as soon as possible. EU funds available must be used quickly and efficiently for measures tackling high youth unemployment and easing SME access to finance with a view to support job creation for young people.
  • Given that Member States still have unspent funds at their disposal from the existing EU financial instruments, e.g. ESF and ERDF, of the current multiannual financial framework, the EPP Group considers that it is first and foremost important they make swift use of these funds for tackling youth unemployment.

Fiscal discipline, growth policy and a policy giving a perspective to young Europeans are the three pillars of the EPP Group's Strategy for Europe to create sustainable growth, employment and debt reduction. We are confident that within an open and honest dialogue we can convince our citizens that this strategy will work to the benefit of all of us.



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