Van Rompuy: Reforms needed to save European model

08:39, April 06, 2011      

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European Council President Herman van Rompuy delivers a speech during a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg April 5, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

EU President Herman Van Rompuy said Tuesday that the comprehensive package of economic measures approved last month was necessary to save the European social model.

Van Rompuy made the remarks in an apparent effort to dispel doubts about the economic and social reforms involved in the package that was adopted at the EU summit on March 24 and 25.

"Some people fear this work is about dismantling the welfare states and social protection. Not at all," Van Rompuy said at a hearing before the European Parliament about the EU summit.

The package consists of both short-term measures to defend eurozone countries against the ongoing sovereign debt crisis and also longer-term reforms, including the so-called Euro Plus Pact.

The Euro Plus Pact, which the EU president said would provide a new quality of economic coordination, incurred mass protests led by labor unions since it calls for restraint on wage increases.

"We want to make sure that our economies are competitive enough to create jobs and to sustain the welfare of all our citizens and that's what our work is about," Van Rompuy told EU lawmakers.

The president said all problems were not over while EU countries had every chance of dealing with them and not repeating them.

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