As G20 leader the British prime minister proved his ability to deal with post-crisis policy both globally and in Europe
Globalisation's first great crisis necessitated a coordinated international response, a decisive exercise of collective action on a world and European scale. Gordon Brown saw this, and led from the outset. It is thanks to that vision and leadership that we were able to lay the basis for a new global economic governance at the April G20 summit in London.
But there is still much to be done. European citizens perceive this crisis as an indication that the world is increasingly uncertain. They reject the attitudes and lack of regulation which provoked the crisis and demand that their representatives establish the necessary preventative mechanisms to stop it happening again. They also want us to impel economic recovery on the basis of efficiency and solidarity, and to tackle the challenges that lie ahead with determination. This is the task, one whose aims and political significance are perceived in the same way by Prime Minister Brown and myself.
European and especially British voters must realise, as Gordon Brown has reminded us, that the United Kingdom needs Europe – but also that Europe needs the UK if we are to once more tread the path to growth, create the millions of jobs Europeans need, and influence a world that is increasingly multipolar but which we must make multilateral.
As Brown rightly said when he appealed for "an unprecedented level of international economic co-operation", the world economy cannot recover without the recovery of international trade. This is why I fully support the prime minister's proposal to boost the mobilisation of the European Investment Bank loan facilities.
We also coincide in promoting the renewal of the EU Lisbon agenda in order to build a European economy that is progressive and sustainable – economically, financially, environmentally and socially. To achieve these aims the move to European economic governance cannot be postponed, and this is why I welcome the first steps to create the regulatory architecture to act as an early warning system and co-ordinate supervision.
But, as this crisis has made all too clear, regulation must also exist at a world level in order to manage the risks of inequality – as well as the advantages of prosperity – that globalisation can bring. In this sense, the social democratic governments of the UK, Spain and other countries are striving to guarantee that social justice and solidarity form the cornerstones of European and global society for the future.
On the transatlantic level, we now have an American administration with which we share many of these values and objectives. A European parliament in tune with Washington's new willingness to co-operate is fundamental to make common cause against threats such as terrorism, organised crime, nuclear arms proliferation, the development of so-called failed states and the effects of climate change.
All this goes without disregarding our fundamental commitment to the least fortunate, especially those countries in Africa which most need our support and co-operation within the framework of the United Nations millennium development goals. This imperative is clearly an ethical one but also affects global security and stability.
Finally, there must be a pooling of the efforts of all European citizens who support and defend democratic values, the rule of law, respect and tolerance for others and the defence of human rights. Lethargy must not allow those opposing voices, ones that favour division and isolation, to be handed the opportunity to disseminate their message of hatred, racism and disdain.
When Spain takes the EU presidency at the end of this year it will spare no effort to continue to foster, in conjunction with the UK and other leading European countries, those values we share.
This renewal of the European project must be constructed with citizens and for citizens. From bottom to top and not from top to bottom. It will be achieved by working to create a European public space which generates a shared civic feeling and confers renewed legitimacy on European institutions. This will only be possible if the resulting European parliament represents and defends the interests of those European citizens.
This is why these elections are so important. Because alone we will not emerge from this crisis, nor will we be able to tackle the world's future challenges. We increasingly need to unify our efforts and wishes. In Europe, of course. In Europe, at least.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017