The sustainability of the European social and economic model
José Manuel García-Margallo, Fernando Eguidazu and José Ignacio Torreblanca
The Rafael del Pino Foundation organised the dialogue "The sustainability of the European social and economic model", on 12 December 2016 at 7 p.m., with the participation of José Manuel García-Margallo, Fernando Eguidazu and José Ignacio Torreblanca.
José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil is a Spanish politician, member of the Partido Popular. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Government of Spain from 22 December 2011 until 4 November 2016, although from 20 December 2015 he was in the capacity of acting Minister.He was previously a Member of the European Parliament since 1994, where he held the position of Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs since 1999.1 He has also been decorated with the Grand Cross of Civil Merit (1982) and the Order of Constitutional Merit (1983).
Fernando Eguidazu is, since July 2015,1 Secretary of State for the European Union at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He holds a degree in Economics and Law, and has been a member of the Cuerpo Superior de Técnicos Comerciales y Economistas del Estado since 1969.
José Ignacio Torreblanca is Director of the Madrid Office and Senior Researcher at ECFR. He is Professor of Political Science at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) in Madrid, where he teaches Fundamentals of Political Science, Political System of the European Union and Democracy and Legitimacy in the European Union. He is also a Doctor Member of the Juan March Institute of Studies and Research. He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Professor at George Washington University in Washington D.C., as well as a researcher at the European University Institute in Florence. Since 2008 he has written a weekly column on international relations and foreign policy for the newspaper El País and is also the author of a blog for the same newspaper, Café Steiner. In May 2014, he joined the Editorial Board of El País.
On 12 December 2016, a dialogue took place at the Rafael del Pino Foundation between José Manuel Garcia-Margallo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Fernando Eguidazu, former Secretary of State for the European Union, on the occasion of the presentation of the book written by both, entitled "Europe and the future: How to preserve and strengthen the European welfare model". The Welfare State, Margallo explained, is one of the hallmarks of Europe's identity. Preserving it is preserving the best of Europe, but it is one of the most complicated issues that will have to be faced in the coming years due to the fact that there will be fewer contributors and more pensioners. In this respect, Eguidazu pointed out that the Welfare State is very demanding because it needs a prosperous and competitive economy to maintain it. The future of the Welfare State, therefore, does not seem assured, at least in the eyes of the public. As Margallo pointed out, globalisation has awakened people's fear of losing their jobs, their livelihoods and their cultural identity. Citizens attribute this to immigration and free trade agreements. Margallo, therefore, believes that we are moving towards a more protectionist world. Moreover, as the social lifts have stopped and people think that the times ahead will be worse, all this has led to the rise of populism. Eguidazu pointed out that globalisation has winners and losers. This means that part of the population is losing its livelihood and, at present, has no possibility of professional retraining. In Europe, moreover, there has been a loss of enthusiasm for the European project, its added value is not perceived, despite the fact that it exists, and the euro crisis and the immigrant crisis have added fuel to the fire by creating a sense of grievance in certain countries. The reform of the welfare state could be a way of restoring this illusion, especially if pensions are mutualised at the European level. It is also necessary to continue to make progress in integration. According to Margallo, economic growth in Europe is so low because investors lack confidence due to the fact that there are 19 governments in the European monetary union. The solution, therefore, is to take a leap forward and make more Europe, to leap towards financial solidarity by creating Eurobonds, but doing all of this in parts to avoid moral hazard. In turn, Eguidazu pointed to other areas in which, in his opinion, there is no choice but to become more integrated, such as fiscal union, internal security and the fight against terrorism, defence and immigration. And Margallo added banking union, energy union and the digital agenda. Eguidazu highlighted the problem of making progress in this integration of markets by pointing out the two major obstacles to it: the reluctance of countries to lose national sovereignty and the play of national monopolies to defend their particular interests. To facilitate this integration, Margallo highlighted the harmonisation of corporate tax and social security contributions, which he described as a sine qua non condition. And Eguidazu stressed the importance of creating a European pension fund market because it would reinforce the European idea of citizenship if they perceive that a minimum of their pension comes from Europe.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.