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The French Prime Minister for a long time refrained from expressing his views on the post-Nice epoch. He held his peace, too, during the recent PES Congress in Berlin, even though Chancellor Gerhard Schroder made his contribution as leader of the SPD (see European Report 2592, same Section). Nonetheless, Lionel Jospin decided to step forward on May 28 in Paris to offer his vision of Europe's future, against the background of enlargement. In a well-tailored speech, he stressed what he thought the European political project should contain. He then went on to outline other themes related to the "container", in other words the European institutions.It came as no surprise that the Prime Minister, recently described as the "most left-wing in Europe" should set forth a series of proposals with a very French flavour. An example is the proposal for an "economic government". Claiming that for two years now the Euro as acted as the "common shield against international financial crises and beggar-thy-neighbour devaluation policies", he considers that the "co-ordination of economic policies has to be increased to a considerable extent...I recommend that Member States consult early on with their partners and take account of their suggestions before taking decisions that have global implications for the zone". He also spoke of the election soon of a Eurogroup President. He hinted at the creation of an "economic action fund, to which every State would be eligible, that would help lend support to any Member State affected by world economic turmoil". Ploughing a completely different furrow to the Commissioner in charge of this matter, Frits Bolkestein (see European Report 2595, Section II), Mr Jospin believes that "combating fiscal dumping is an immediate priority: it is unacceptable that some Member States use unfair tax competition to attract international investments and encourage the headquarters of European groups to relocate. In due course, a wholesale harmonisation of tax systems will be required".Another priority for the French Premier is "fully-fledged European social legislation setting ambitious EU-wide standards (...), particularly in the case of workers' information/involvement in companies, of redundancy legislation, combating unstable jobs and of wage policy. We should be able to look forwards to a European social Treaty". From the same point of view, he recommends an EU Directive to determine a legal framework to strengthen, subject to the...

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