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Message from Jacques Delors at Making Europe's Economic Union work conference

"The euro needs both its legs to walk" - monetary and economic, Delors told audience at Hertie School.

Jacques Delors, former European Commission President and a founder and staunch supporter of the single market, addressed through a letter an audience of around 370 people at the Hertie School of Governance on 19 September, saying Europe needs to build up the economic and social pillars of its European Economic and Monetary Union.

Speaking at the conference “Making Europe’s Economic Union work”, Delors said: “I have always said and I repeat it again today in Berlin: the euro needs both its legs to walk – the monetary leg alone is not sufficient and never will be sufficient.” The event was held jointly with the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Hertie School of Governance, the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris, and Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin.

Mario  Draghi, President of the European Central Bank was the keynote speaker at the event. Enrico Letta, President, Jacques Delors Institute in Paris, Dean of the School of International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris (PSIA) and former Italian Prime Minister, gave remarks, alongside Henrik Enderlein, President, Hertie School of Governance and Director, Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin. Pascal Lamy, President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute and former WTO Director-General, read Delors’ letter to the audience.

While praising EU measures toward banking union, Delors said more tools were required to ensure prosperity for all countries. “As we know, EMU is far more than a technical financial framework. It needs to have the tools to make our economies converge, to ensure European prosperity, our common objective,” he said.

Delors noted that European citizens are expecting politicians and policy makers to make good on their promise for economic and social convergence, and this is vital ahead of upcoming European Parliament elections in May.

“We will not be able to go into the European elections next May, which are approaching and in which the stakes, this time, will be higher than usual, without having made decisive progress along this path of economic and social convergence,” he said.

The proposals for a Eurozone budget by the German and French finance ministers at their meeting in May was a step in the right direction, he said. “With their proposal for a real budget for the eurozone, Germany and France have taken an important step towards this objective. I really do hope that our two countries pursue this path and are joined on it by others.”

Delors said that in the creation of the single currency, sufficient tools were not developed to ensure that the euro created benefits for all through “a converging Europe, a Europe socially balanced for all.”

“These are the two pillars of EMU, the economic and the social, which we must build in the years to come,” he said.

The event also included a panel discussion with Pascal Lamy,  Olaf Scholz, German Federal Minister of Finance, Elga Bartsch, Head of Economic and Markets Research, BlackRock Investment Institute, and Katharina Gnath, Senior Project Manager, Bertelsmann Stiftung. Aart De Geus, Chairman and CEO, Bertelsmann Stiftung gave the closing statement.

Read Jacques Delors' full message in English or in French.

Read Mario Draghi's speech in English.