EU leaders’ 2014 wishes: More values and less ‘stupidities’

  

Not all EU heads of state and government mentioned the European Union in their yearend messages, but a lot of them did. The EurActiv network brings you an overview.

The tradition of Christmas or New Year messages varies in EU countries. In most, it is the head of state who delivers the message, most frequently on New Year’s eve.

France: Preparing for the EU election

In France, the president, currently François Hollande, traditionally delivers not one, but several messages - to the French people, to the government, to the army, to the diplomatic corps, to the business and to press, not missing also the personnel of the Elysée palace.

Some more wishes are expected in January, with no less than 12 ceremonies expected overall to address different parts of the nation.

On substance, French president François Hollande focused heavily on economic issues and unemployment in his various New Year wishes.

While assessing that unemployment's growth pace has been slowing, he announced a new "responsibility pact" for companies, promising less taxes for those creating jobs. This was in fact an idea suggested by the employers’ union, the Medef, a few months ago.

Hollande also referred to the European elections to be held throughout the EU in May, saying that they should focus on growth and unemployment, and not on austerity and national egoism. This was seen as a clear reference to the Front National rise in polls seen as a threat for national solidarity.

“France will have to make decisions following the renewal of the European Parliament. But until then, I wish, that with our German friends, we launch initiatives,” said Hollande in his wishes to the government.

Germany: Promoting family values

In her annual video address on 31 December, German Chancellor Angela Merkel chose the human touch, advising her fellow compatriots to take a lead in achieving success for the nation. "Commitment, dedication and togetherness," on the part of individuals, said Merkel, were behind any success.

The German chancellor, who her compatriots call ‘Mutti’ for her motherly ways, said that the government viewed families as being at the "heart of society", and was dedicated to providing "the best possible education for children and young people".

Mentioning Europe, Merkel said the progress of Germany depended on the progress in the continent.

Spain: Recession 'behind us'

In crisis-hit Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy thanked the Spanish people "for their understanding, their common sense, their courage and their responsibility in tackling the last part of this stage which has been so harsh, so long and so difficult".

He added that the recession was now “behind us” and that "in the second half of the year the Spanish economy had recovered growth once again, albeit modestly". He did not mention the EU’s help in overcoming the crisis.

As regards the announcement of the referendum on the independence of Catalonia, Rajoy restated his position. "This referendum is unconstitutional and hence cannot be held."

Italy: Making better use of EU money

More explicit about the European Union was Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, whose country will take over the rotating EU presidency in the second half of this year.

Stopping short of praising the present government of Enrico Letta, he said that it was trying to recover and make use of billions of euros, especially earmarked for the country’s south, which risked being lost.

The Italian president also made reference to the economic crisis hitting his country, saying that the exit from the crisis would be more decisive if a common action for the revival of the economic growth and for creating new jobs is put in place and implemented.

Napolitano recalled the traditional values of peace and solidarity of the EU and said that together with the other member states, Italy would work under its presidency to spread those values in a globalised world.

Poland: 'Enormous amount of EU money'

The Polish president, Bronisław Komorowski, also made reference to EU funds in his New Year Address, stressing the “positive effects” of his country’s EU membership and “the enormous amount of money” that it secured for the 2014-2020 budget period.

Indeed, Poland is by far the biggest recipient of cohesion funds, with €72.5 billion. The country in second place, Italy, will receive €29.2 billion.

According to Komorowski, the achievement of the Polish negotiators is a great opportunity to speed up the development of the whole country as well as the individual counties or cities.

"These resources are an opportunity for all of us – political views and leanings notwithstanding. And it depends on everybody to spend them wisely! […]”, he said (see full text and video)

Britain: Jesus and the Prophet

Not all leaders refer to the EU in their messages. The Christmas message by UK Prime Minister David Cameron made no mention of Brussels, but spoke of Jesus Christ, Prophet Isaiah and Pope Francis.

Slovakia: Celebrating EU accession anniversary

Slovakia’s President Ivan Gašparovič hardly mentioned the EU in his New Year speech, besides the fact that 2014 will mark the 10th anniversary of his country joining the EU.

Indeed, on 1 May 2004 Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Malta and Cyprus joined the EU. Gašparovič only underlined the importance of the country being a reliable partner of NATO, the EU and in the eurozone, which his country joined five years ago, on 1 January 2009.

For her part, Angela Merkel looked back to the more distant past, noting that 2014 would be the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II and a quarter of a century since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Romania: New EU neighbours

Romania’s President Traian Băsescu mentioned not only his nationals in his new year message, but also the citizens of Moldova, a country where Romanian is widely spoken. 

Băsescu congratulated the Moldovans for having initialled an Association Agreement with the EU, adding that both Romania and Moldova belonged to the European space through the language, the culture and the history that unite them and also through the values and aspirations that the two countries share.

Recently Băsescu said that after Romania’s EU accession, its next big project should be the unification with Moldova, a statement which raised eyebrows in the neighbouring country and in EU circles.

Czech Republic: EU ‘stupidities’

The most colourful message can probably be attributed to Czech President Miloš Zeman, who said that the European Union should “stop dealing with stupidities and details, such as energy saving bulbs, and begin to deal with substantive matters, such as the continuation of European integration“.

Zeman, who took office last March, replacing the Eurosceptic Václav Klaus, further said that he had promised to improve relations between his country and the EU institutions, and that now the EU flag was flying in the Prague Castle, where the presidential office is located.

But the Czech president, who has a folksy manner and a well-publicised appetite for sausages and alcohol, has more immediate worries in national politics. Three Czech parties have formed a governing coalition, but Zeman has indicated that he might refuse some of the candidates for ministers.

Positions: 

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades sent EurActiv a New Year message: “Fully aware of the many challenges facing the EU, I believe that, with collective effort, we can face our common future with optimism.

“This is also true for Cyprus and its people, who have come out of the past year wounded, but not any less determined.  With EU support, we are creating new solid foundations for our economy and real prospects for growth. We acknowledge the difficulties, but we remain committed to the full implementation of our Economic Adjustment Programme. We already had two positive reviews by the Troika.  Our efforts have also been registered with rating agencies, leading to the first upgrade in three years.

“In fact, long-term prospects are positive. Energy developments are expected to reinforce Cyprus’ newly found status as a future supplier of natural gas and, possibly, oil. We can become a beacon of stability and prosperity in the eastern Mediterranean. The EU, clearly, stands to gain from this. 

“Above all, we hope that 2014 will bring about Cyprus’ reunification, with positive ramifications for the region and the EU. Our efforts are sincere. If Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership show the same goodwill, we could, at long-last, reach a solution for the benefit of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike.”

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Comments

international foundation for research and innovation  's picture

Very interesting and usefull content Despite of all those situations which had affected companies activities and peoples live we are going to declare an unbileave thing By the end of 2014 Europe Union will have a fantastic economic growth and it will be created millions of jobs in very short time Taking into consideration that 2014 is an electoral year who will read those predictions will thing that they are made by politicians Because of this we have to say that we are a group of international researchers and we do not permit to compromise our carrer and declare things which can contradict our researchs results just to make propaganda in order to help politicians In the next period we will demonstrate those and dozens of others aspects which are going to help Europe Union to have an economic fantastic growth and create millions of jobs

international foundation for research and innovation  's picture

Taking into consideration that
1) EU had bloched funds in projects which take so long time to be concluded and did not create enough jobs
2) Since 2009 when companies where failing and millions of EU citizens had lost their jobs but EU universities and researches centeres intead to make researches in order to help companies increase sales they have been watching the sky and talk about climate changes and cloud computing
3) Eu had spent money in useless founding investment For example Romania is a single world wild country which do not have an airport in his major tourism aria Because of this Romania turism is unviable but despite of this they have received a large amount of EU funds for their tourism

4) Majority of EU universities are not giving students the righ preparation and because of this when they finish their studies nobody employ them Despite this Europe Union in order to give those young graduated extra preparation they spend millions of euro ,but those money arrive in pochet of those who suppose to do their jobs well in those universities because most of those who teach those extra courses are from the same EU universities which are not doing their jobs well
5) Eu had researches and innovation centers in Berlin, Stockholm ,Eindhoven ,but despite of this Universities from those cities are not the best ranked in their country That it means the European institute of reseach and technology are not making his jobs well in those countries but despite of this they receive enough EU funds

6) Majority of EU universities have an old unupdated programme but despite of this in different EU countries they are in the list of those which are going to create a research and innovation strategic plan for 2014 -2020 period

international foundation for research and innovation  's picture

Europe Union had recommended EU countries to transforme migration high trend in something positive which can help EU in his economic and social development UK instead to repect those recommandations they had started some different actions against migrants from different EU counties
Why we are presenting this commnet in this contest ?Any world wild country who have a righ rate migration can transforme this in a very big advantages and get billions of euro As UK have the most ranked Universities in the world they suppose to make researches in order to what to do to take advantages from those migrations situations

international foundation for research and innovation  's picture

Uk have the most ranked Universities in the world but despite this in 2008 when the crisis hit USA they did not make immediatly researches in order to inform EU companies Gouvernements what they supposed to do to avoid hard negative consequences of the crisis in EU By this ocasion they had made billions of Euro because after those Universities should had done those researches they shoulld organise conferences about

""How to prevent economic crisis in Europe Union"
" How to make businesses which bring more than 25 % in less than 75 days ""

Taking into consideration that after those conferences those universities should publish ebooks ,tools apps which could be downloaded with 30 -50 euro ,after 7 millions download how much money should have got ?
By this ocasion how much well paid jobs should UK should had created ?

Anna M's picture

A point of information briefly - your headline is grammatically incorrect, it should be "more values and fewer stupidities" not less stupidities. That is because "fewer" designates a measure of amounts - e.g. I have fewer hats than my friend - while "less" is used to refer to vaguer concepts or less measurable items: e.g. I would like there to be less rain tomorrow.

evad666's picture

Interesting Mr Junker warned that the European Commission would be “neither legitimate nor credible” without more women and said that female candidates would have “a very good chance” of getting one of the top jobs.

Yet the EU site Euractiv lacks a page on Women's matters.

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