Our German national soccer team has shown the way. It won the recent World Cup tournament with team spirit, willpower and a clear goal – and this same strategy could help make the European Union a winner again, too.
The 28 member states sometimes lack order and unity, but it’s clear that only together will they survive in competition with Asia and the United States. The start of a new legislative session for the European Parliament and Commission offers Europe the opportunity to switch the economic policy back toward growth.
The top priority should be strengthening how the European Union competes. To do this, we need to improve the performance of member states, and we must continue on a path of consolidating budgets and press ahead with reforms.
A further goal is to revitalize the industrial core. The industrial sector makes up a good 15 percent of the EU economy. Despite recurring plans of action that stress industry’s importance, Europe lacks a coherent industrial policy. The results are visible. For many of Germany’s neighbors, the industrial portion of gross domestic product has been declining: Between 2008 and 2012, the number of manufacturing jobs fell from 33 million to 30 million.
This is where Jean-Claude Juncker must steer in the opposite direction. The president-elect of the European Commission has announced a concept to reindustrialize Europe – a commitment that hopefully will be followed by action.