|President of the European Commission|
7 January 1985 â€“ 24 January 1995
|Preceded by||Gaston Thorn|
|Succeeded by||Jacques Santer|
|Minister of Finance|
22 May 1981 â€“ 17 July 1984
|Prime Minister||Pierre Mauroy|
|Preceded by||RenÃ© Monory|
|Succeeded by||Pierre BÃ©rÃ©govoy|
20 July 1925 |
Party of European Socialists
The unions may continue to decline, but if they do, it'll be their fault.
These days there are not enough of such intermediary groups, between the state and the individual, with the result that political leaders are often unduly guided by opinion polls.
If you don't have collective agreements between unions and employers, governments have to legislate more.
Therefore one should speak at the same time of national citizenship and wider European citizenship.
The countries that share this conception should be able to go further together, without excluding the others, since they can still live in a greater community of exchange and co-operation.
The problem of how we finance the welfare state should not obscure a separate issue: if each person thinks he has an inalienable right to welfare, no matter what happens to the world, that's not equity, it's just creating a society where you can't ask anything of people.
Cinema explains American society. It's like a Western, with good guys and bad guys, where the weak don't have a place.
Any union that can't accept workers choosing their own representatives through universal franchise is finished.
I would not be opposed to devising a new system of pensions, in which one part was based on collective provision, but which also gave incentives for people to take out an additional, personal plan.
The unions still have a job to do, representing their members' interests to governments and parliaments. And I think collective agreements still have a role, alongside markets and laws.
The European model is in danger if we obliterate the principle of personal responsibility.
The problem with a purely collective system is not only that it requires economic growth, and the right sort of demographic trends, but that it prevents people thinking about their futures in a responsible way.
We have to struggle against the conservatives from all sides, not only the right-wingers, but also the left-wing conservatives who don't want to change anything.
Fundamentally, American society is composed of individuals who don't go out of their way to do each other favours.
I had to think whether, after 50 years of hard slog, I was still lucid and fresh enough for the job.
This weakening is worsened by the widening distance between the governed and their governments.
For me, socialism has always been about liberty and solidarity, but also about responsibility.
Even in Britain, the trade unions tell me that employment contracts have less protection than in the past.
My presidential victory, if it had happened, would have been artificial in relation to the Socialist party. It may be that on my deathbed, I will come to regret my decision, but for the moment, I live at peace with it.
The driving force behind the liberal counter-offensive in Europe has been a reaction against irresponsibility.
This desire for equity must not lead to an excess of welfare, where nobody is responsible for anything.
The European model is, first, a social and economic system founded on the role of the market, for no computer in the world can process information better than the market.