Today is “Europe Day”, the 64-year anniversary of the foundation of what became the European Union. But whilst today is supposed to be a celebration of peace and unity in Europe, many Europeans are grumbling about stubbornly high unemployment rates and a sluggish economic recovery. Despite this, there are signs that the economy is growing again, and the European Commission this week raised its growth forecasts for the EU to 1.6% for 2014, a slight improvement on the 1.5% forecast in February.

Jobs and economic recovery will be the two most important issues to voters as we head into the European Parliament elections on 22-25 May. For the first time ever, the results of the European elections will decide the next President of the European Commission, and whoever fills that role will not have long to prove to citizens that they can help bring down jobless rates across the continent.

In the run-up to the elections, we will be putting questions to the candidates for Commission President and publishing their responses here. We are using the same rules as the Eurovision TV debate on 15 May to decide which candidates take part, meaning they must be nominated by one of the political parties represented in the European Parliament, the party making the nomination must be represented in one of the seven officially recognized political groups in the Parliament and only one presidential candidate can be represented per political group.

We did invite Alexis Tsipras from the Radical Left to take part, but he did not agree to an interview in time.

For our third question to the candidates, we asked them how they are going to help create jobs in the first year of office. What concrete proposals did they have to bring down unemployment – particularly among young people? We began by talking to Martin Schulz, the official candidate for the  Social Democrats (whose manifesto priorities are available here).

Next, we asked Jean-Claude Juncker, the nominee for the  Centre-Right European People’s Party (you can see his party’s election manifesto priorities here).

Then, we spoke to Guy Verhofstadt, the candidate for the  Liberal Democrats. You can find the summary of his party’s manifesto priorities here.

Finally, we asked the same question to Ska Keller, one of the two official candidates for the  Greens (along with José Bové) You can see her party’s top priorities here.

Which candidate for European Commission President do YOU want to win? What should the next Commission President do to bring down unemployment – particularly among young people? And who will YOU be voting for? Make YOUR voice heard now and take part in Debating Europe Vote 2014the first ever pan-European online e-Vote ahead of the European Parliament elections!

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

59 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Urgent tasks:
    – improve education: countries like Greece have a very poor education system
    – ensure work across the Eu is valued the same, it is ridiculous that an employee from bulgaria earns a mere 250 euros per month, while UK peopel with same qualifications earn 8000 euros and more per month. EU politicians themselves, including their staff, and all EC/EU employees are overpaid compared to the average European salaries.
    – stop the braindrain of young people from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, etc. to other countries like USA, Switzerland, Australia, etc.
    – reduce taxes on SMEs: currently European SMEs often suffer from high taxations, which limit their possibilities to hire new staff.
    – ensure taxation is similar in all countries for salarised people: in Belgium taxes on salaries to be paid by Employers are of the highest, reducing competitiveness of European SMEs.
    – reduce the money spent in useless projects with outcomes no one is using after all, and focus on establishing jobs in all sectors, and especially in those that lack the necessary workforce; one may wonder if Horizon2020 project support actual research or just fill the pockets of the same companies and research organisations over and over again, without any tangible results.
    – allow for micro management by members tates to fine tune local employment initiatives, the EU/EP/EC simply has too much control and lacks realistic vision on situations in the field.

    This all would be a good start.

    • avatar

      So you are proposing to significantly lower wages in Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and so forth? Well, if all is to be more ‘equal’ there are those that will have to pay for it.

    • avatar

      No Marcel, i think he is proposing RAISING the wages of those who are paid slave wages.

  2. avatar
    Stefanescu Dan

    1. Trebuie s? aib? sub 60 de ani ?i s? reprezinte segmentul dinamic,productiv 18-50(hai 60) ani

  3. avatar
    Stefanescu Dan

    2.trebuie s? provin? dintr-o regiune a Europei unde A LUCRA e ceva normal,benefic (nu din sud ori est)

  4. avatar

    It’s terrible that you didn’t count with European Left. That’s the fear of you, the system… But no problem. We will rebuilt Europe from a not neo-liberal point of view.

    • avatar

      It doesn’t matter what they show. Those of us who want Alexis will vote for alexis regardless.
      We’re not fooled.

  5. avatar

    Excuse me but mr. Tsipras was invited. But he was too important to answer these petty questions I guess…
    From the text above: “We did invite Alexis Tsipras from the Radical Left to take part, but he did not agree to an interview in time.”

  6. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    The single market is now a market of inequalities accross many countries, with have alls and have nothings. More single market makes no sense without a common policy towards jobs creation, supporting also the member states that suffer most at this moment: all balkan countries, Spain, portugal, Ireland. At this moment, the policies originating in Brussels are one of an ivory tower mentality whereby the EC even thinks that Greece is back ok. It is NOT OK, things are not goingw ell, people get poorer and poorer, there are no jobs being created except well underpaid ones. Creating jobs for a salary of 250 euros per month is not creating jobs, but pushing peopel into poverty all over the balkans. A single market will only thrive when people feel as being treated equal, by Brussels, the EC and the EP. Not doing soing so is creating a single market that will just benefit the happy few.

  7. avatar
    Juls Jay

    Jobs??? Ofc no jobs. Those in poland cannot be filled because poles are in other eu countries and those unemployed other eu citixens cannot work as their jobs are filled by polaks at half the wages. What the eu must to is to give such penalty to poland that they will want to get their ppl back and create jobs for them for higher wages not chinese starvation wages. Once that’s done eveything will be back to normal. Poland has to be heldd accountable for the situation. Booming economy…??? Where and how??? Doesnt anyone see it?

  8. avatar
    Nikolaos Sotirelis

    A single market where only the North produces and the South as well as the rest peripheral countries, will provide them with cheap labor and raw materials?
    Quite convinient!!! This ain’t economic integration! This is called colonialism Mr Juncker!

    • avatar

      Why don’t you force your country out of the Euro, then?

    • avatar
      George Yianntsiotis

      @Marcel: Because we are trapped in the euromark chain. Getting rid of the euromark can be possible provided that:
      1. Germany pays to Greece the WW I & WW II War Reparations (7bnUSD in 1947 according to UN Report, namely 25,000 tones of GOLD + interest)
      2. Germany pays back to Greece the “Occupation Loans” extracted from the Bank of Greece in 1942 & 1943 (5.6mn gold English sterlings according to BoG assessment 1947)
      After that the Greek public debt will fall to a viable 80-90bn euros roof; Greece will be able to issue a new national currency and join Europe as a member of the European Economic Area. Till that time, it is impossible to exit the euro-chain without suffering a total socio-economic destruction.

  9. avatar
    Robert Szabó

    I would like to be able to follow the EU debate livestreams in Germany. Are there any unblocked, legal streams?

  10. avatar
    Robert Szabó

    Does anyone know how I can follow the European debates on livestream from Germany? It all seems to be blocked.

  11. avatar
    Michalis Pillos

    Yes! Its basic economics! The real question is how efficiently can one candidate do it over the other!

  12. avatar
    David G.

    Vote for Tsipras who snubs all european debate as he has nothing to say apart from populist stereotypes in his country. A disgrace for european left.

  13. avatar
    Timothy Stalmans

    He spend all the money Belgium had, sold every building that Belgium had. And now he wants to destroy Europe…

  14. avatar
    Baneri Bg

    EU Must Become A ‘Federation Of Nation States’

  15. avatar
    Baneri Bg

    EU Must Become A ‘Federation Of Nation States’

  16. avatar
    Stanislav Ilev

    if this ugly and unintelligent guy becomes a European leader, I am going to live in USA or China maybe. Greetings from Bulgaria! :)

  17. avatar
    Stanislav Ilev

    if this ugly and unintelligent guy becomes a European leader, I am going to live in USA or China maybe. Greetings from Bulgaria! :)

  18. avatar

    Just undo Merkel’s neoliberal fiscal and economical knot that keeps more than half of Europe in bondage. That should be a start. A relaxation is absolutely necessary, otherwise the pressure that build up in a decade will erupt in uncontrollable chaos.

    • avatar

      None of these countries are forced to stay in the wealth-destroying Euro and would all be better off if they left and returned to their own currency? Why don’t they do it?

    • avatar

      Which region of this planet “the Euro Chosen Ones” will sell their overpriced products if the “controlled suckers” will melt away ? I would love to see China VS “Euro Chosen Ones” economical competition. Thousand(s) euro/months + benefits VS 2.5 $/day wage wise. Who do you think will win ? As you could see, it’s not that simple .

  19. avatar

    Start with utterly rejecting ‘free trade’ treaties which always one-sidedly benefit the rich, bankers, corporations.

    TTIP is a particularly bad example, yet all of them are for this.

  20. avatar

    According to Milton Friedman (Chicago School) unemployment can be eliminated by lowering wages. Being there, done that and no jobs were magically appeared and as you could see the effect was that low-waged immigrants inundate the alleged rich EU landscape. I maintain my opinion that Merkel’s policy for the region was causing nothing but trouble. Persistence in mistake and stubbornness of right wing (EPP) politicians is a real problem here. Without a “Marshall Plan” there will be no exit from this crisis vicious cycle.

    • avatar

      Milton Friendman was a complete nut. You have to be economically illiterate to think that by LOWERING wages – and thus consumption and DEMAND there will be more jobs created to produce things that are…NOT IN DEMAND.

      What the hell is keynesian economics for?
      We learned this is FIRST YEAR of economics faculty and these morons running the FEDERAL RESERVE didn’t know it !?

    • avatar

      We don’t need a “marshall Plan’ But an European wide New Deal.
      To HELL with the rich, to HELL with “appeasing” them and MAYBE they will create jobs.
      TAX them hard, fund social programs to help the unemployed, RAISE IMPORT taxes EU -wide for any chinese JUNK that is made by SLAVE LABOR.

      In fact everything that is made in countries that do not have the SAME standards as the EU ( as in pollution, wages, social security, pensions, worker unions etc ) should be taxed to DEATH !!
      you want to be a slave driver?
      but we won’t buy your crap to show our solidarity with the victims of your sick capitalism AND to protect our economy.

      Think about it ! We wouldn’t even need to send foreign aid, this alone would FORCE them to raise standards OR go to hell.

      Automate, automate, automate – the 8 hour work day is obsolete. With our current technology level we can reduce the work day to 2 hours, or LESS.
      Right now automation results in LESS jobs, MORE unemployment and MORE profits for rich industries.
      Well i say to hell with that.

      make daily hours mandatory no more than 5 hours for start in the next 10 years.
      Companies are FORCED to automate to improve the conditions of their employees. They have bled us dry during the crisis.
      Time for us to bleed them DRY for every god damn penny they have!

      “but they will leave!!”
      Not so fast! you ain’t going nowhere, your factory is still HERE and we have 8ways* to make you stay. Don’t worry about that.
      You either stay or you are going WITHOUT any assets – those remain here and are frozen because you breach the new contract.
      We have ways, oh yes we have ways.

      We only have to implement them. These parties here?
      All talk.
      They won’t do anything. let’s slap them on the wrist, let’s talk mean at them…mehh…mehhh….ehhh…what…nothing!
      That’s what this is, nothing.
      They can’t change this because they BELIEVE things are going the right way – you all heard them.
      Everything is going fine. Religiously believing in the demented neo-liberal capitalist policies.

  21. avatar

    Schultz – “let’s give out money to job creators” ( code word for “the rich” )
    Juncker – “let’s let the free market handle it” and “the deficit, oh my god the deficit is the problem not unemployment”
    Verhofstadt – “austerity is good, stop crying Europe”
    Keller – “we need more jobs that are more benficial to workers” ( sadly she does not go into detail HOW will this be accomplished )

    It’s a shame Alexis hasn’t shown up, it would have been a really nice breath of fresh air into this neo-liberal echo-chamber in Brussels.
    Enough with austerity, enough with “apepasing to job creators” to that MAYBE they create jobs!

    To hell with them!

  22. avatar
    Georges Pfeiffenschneider

    Today the so-called free market has led to a situation where companies are forced to grow and swallow one another in order to survive. In so doing, they accumulate more and more money and, not bound by any ethical code, use their power to force governments to support regulations in their favour and thus grow even more. Yet these large companies hardly create new jobs. Instead, they try to minimize social, environmental and safety expenses and thereby create ever more dangerous situations for society [Latest example: the refusal of German energy combines to shoulder the cost of dismantling old nuclear reactors]. Their sole responsibility is to their own growth (like in a cancer cell) and not to the common good (like in a normal cell). At the same time, consumers are completely separated from those who produce, they are at their mercy and there is no basis for trust.

    The solution is complex, but it should be based on the only viable model we have: Nature. Ecosystems have worked for millions of years and are nowhere near an ‘economic crisis’. They function according to the principles of perfect subsidiarity and decentralized production, interlocking, feedback, and sustainability. There is no unemployment in Nature because things are produced exactly where they are needed, when they are needed, and whenever there is (unintentional) waste, it benefits some other part of the system. Also, there is no unnecessary ‘globalization’ where one agent takes a product to the far side of the Earth when it can just as well be made by another agent there. Etc. Etc.

    Emulating Nature is the way to a sustainable economic system: to companies that act locally, sustainably, close to consumers, cooperating, growing reasonably by improving quality based on continuous feedback. Concepts for such alternative economies exist and should be urgently and seriously considered by European authorities and citizens alike: as an example, I suggest

  23. avatar
    John Bevegård

    hhhi we need a common dream for eu a strong eu force and common eu foreign policies in foreigpolitics regarding usa china russia india etc. we need a strong green eu economy for future. create welfare and more democracy. let each country decide moast themselves but we need .common policies on economym goods markets economies, etc create a strong great eu. go europe be mfr johnnyb.

  24. avatar
    moni monev

    Не се говори за най-бедната страна,България…що за Европейски съюз е това ?

  25. avatar

    it was all too easy to see and understand that leaving the market free to lay down the law in the various countries in the euro zone soon we all would have ended in a general situation of total tin and endless crisis. The free market has no interest in that all countries are on the same wavelength because a source of gain there must be some one who loses. What may be of interest to the free market if a country is more or less rich of another or if a country goes through a myriad of reasons for an internal crisis for which he can not recover? the only interest which the free market is concerned, and to create more trading always positive to pump more money. Today we hear our politicians in Europe of recovery, create new jobs, of epochal change. But stop a moment governments no longer have more power and can not create or decide anything until the market will decide and dictate the law on workers and governments. Assuming that the GDP of a European country remains at acceptable levels this is not about the country which is growing economically thanks to its rulers, but thanks to the laws of the free market which means that the products are sold to more countries in quantities greater than other .So to answer the original question, we can create all the jobs we want, but one thing remains to be done urgently and that means creating a European central government capable of dictating the rules of the game for all markets including.

  26. avatar

    Try to ask the question he has one citizen, the 12 stars represent? I hope the answer right, otherwise I will have to teach. Possible? Many years of funding for the European development? Reviewing Community policies and the European identity deficit! Many people do not know what it’s like 12 star blue background, the most frequent answer is: are the twelve founding members.
    Passionate about European values, it means that you should know the meaning of the symbol stamped on the European flag?

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