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Europe’s Responsible Solidarity

ROME – Next year will be crucial for the European Union. EU citizens will elect a new European Parliament, which will vote for a new president of the EU Commission. There will be a new president of the European Council and a new high representative for foreign and security policy as well.

This change of top EU personnel represents an ideal opportunity to debate what Europe stands for, and how to create a more stable, integrated, and prosperous union – one based on solidarity, interdependence, and enlightened self-interest.

Over the past few years, Europe has made extraordinary progress in responding to the financial crisis. But the future of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) depends on three crucial components: greater economic convergence, greater openness within the single market, and greater resilience to asymmetric shocks. Achieving these goals does not depend on (further) technical discussions, but on forging a new political consensus in favor of a more supranational approach.

First, greater economic convergence within the EMU requires a stronger framework for the coordination of member states’ economic policies. Indeed, the new European Semester –­ the EU’s annual round of policy advice and surveillance of member states – is one of the main advances made in response to the crisis.