Our findings are reassuring neither to the Union nor to our citizens: a global economic crisis; States coming to the rescue of banks; ageing populations threatening the competitiveness of our economies and the sustainability of our social models; downward pressure on costs and wages; the challenges of climate change and increasing energy dependence; and the Eastward shift in the global distribution of production and savings. And on top of this, the threats of terrorism, organised crime and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction hang over us.
Will the EU be able to maintain and increase its level of prosperity in this changing world? Will it be able to promote and defend Europe’s values and interests?
Our answer is positive. The EU can be an agent of change in the world, a trend-setter, and not just a passive witness. But this will only be possible if we work together; the challenges ahead are too large for any European country to address on their own. Our ability to influence developments beyond our borders will in turn depend on our capacity to secure solid growth and internal cohesion within the Union. This is the conclusion reached by our Reflection Group, following intensive deliberations and consultations with numerous experts and institutions.
All our members agree on one fundamental issue: Europe is currently at a turning point in its history. We will only overcome the challenges which lie ahead if all of us – politicians, citizens, employers and employees – are able to pull together with a new common purpose defined by the needs of the current age.