computerWe had a question sent in from Javier from Spain about whether or not Europe needs to embark on a “determined modernisation drive.” We’ve already put this idea to Philippe Maystdat, President of the European Investment Bank (EIB). Next, we put the suggestion to Giuliano Amato, two-time Prime Minister of Italy, to get his reaction. In principle, Amato agrees. However, he is also concerned that:

A determined modernisation drive may lead to higher unemployment… [so] the risk should be reduced by working on the phasing out of employees, on the promotion of alternative options for workers and on social protection. Certainly, growth with greater poverty and greater inequality is not desirable. It does not even deserve to be named “growth”.

Accordingly, Amato is highly sceptical of swingeing cuts to the public sector. Whilst he agrees that cuts have to be made, he argues they should not aim to “reduce the size of the state”.

It is difficult for us to have more security and more public order with fewer policemen. Therefore, advocating smaller government in general terms is just ideological. But in several public sectors surgical cuts accompanied and balanced by technological innovations could be feasible and effective.

Vote 2014

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4 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    peter schellinck

    Has anybody in the commission made the calculation yet of how much it costs to have all the civil servant, community services, energy and logistics duplications and constraints by not having a single market? Just by focusing on a few of these inefficiencies we can free billions! So, in this sense, yes Europe needs a modernisation boost. This does not have to lead to greater poverty or more unemployment, on the country. Only if we keep the some model it will. By abandoning national boarders does not imply loosing nationalities. They must stay, but the EU must move on to become a single sovereign identity managing and controlling the budget. With the current crisis we have the ideal platform to make a giant leap forward and show the world that little Europe is up to big political decisions.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Hi Peter,

      I’m not aware of any studies examining the possible benefits of merging civil services in Europe. I can, however, think of two obvious barriers: language and politics.

      We looked briefly at questions of language when we ask whether Esperanto should be the language of Europe (and we’ll try to get somebody to comment on this idea as a reaction).

      However, the issue of language is also bound up with the issue of politics. A civil service is central to the idea of national identity (“we can look after our own affairs”). The people of Europe do not seem unhappy with national civil servants, and until they start calling for a European civil service to take over those responsibilities, I do not believe it will be possible. What do you think?

    • avatar

      Language should not be a problem. With English as second language we can remain a European as well as truly global. The national languages are to be protected and are part of the social fabric essential to nourish culture.

      As to civil servants they ought to be detached from politics they way they operate now and be a functional EU service executing roles & responsibilities to the area concerned and not a hybrid from national politics. If we don’t move on quickly Europe will be lost. There is no alternative to the EU Project except for total chaos and anarchy. Do we really want nationalism to prevail? We all know the outcome! Let’s show our children that we care!

      Hence, to the politicians I would say: for the voters sake to wake up and show governance, ethics, political and economic vision. Stop the carrousel charade, pull the barriers down and give us ONE Europe.

  2. avatar

    Does Europe needs a modernisation drive ?
    No , it needs to kick out bankers and nationalise Euro !

    Looking a maps of Europe i sow an island over Great Britain . It’s name should be Iceland or something…

    Bankers , better to them to prepare tu run !

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