I know that President Juncker had to face several difficulties during the first-half of his mandate. An economic crisis that seems endless; a migration crisis affecting many European countries and the rise of nationalism in some European countries - leading to the Brexit vote.
I understand that it has not been easy. I expect Mr Juncker to address all these issues during his state of the union speech, but dear Mr Juncker you are only half way through your Presidency and the difficult years are hopefully behind. If you want to make your mandate one that will make it into history books you should not only work on reviving the economy alone, the most important challenge for the long term is to revive European cooperation.
You should also focus in bringing renewed enthusiasm in the European project and bring back belief. Citizens need to recover their trust and you need to imbue society with the understanding that the European project is the best way forward, that our cultural diversity is a source of wealth for successfully tackling the challenges of tomorrow.
One of the ideas you have to make a positive impact into the life of citizens is the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EU investment plan should be used to address the needs, concerns and problems of the people. It should also be used to empower people through high quality jobs and access to high quality services. You should make sure that EFSI is used to realise the EU social agenda; much more should be done.
Employment and social services in Europe seemed to be prioritised by the EU but only in rhetoric. The European Pillar of Social Rights is, I think, a very important opportunity to work together on further developing this social economic agenda of Europe. The Pillar is a very important opportunity but you must also make it useful for people, by integrating it into your economic and fiscal policy. The social dimension of the European Semester is also necessary to tackle nationalism and the employment crisis that still affects several EU countries.
Europe should not only be about its institutions, it should be about the people, the citizens. Both, the social sector and the European representatives have to further work together to try to make a difference in the life of the people. If we can make that work, then we can contribute to a nicer Europe to live in.
Above all, I expect you to bring enthusiasm in the European project. You should bring dreams to the European project. If you can dream it, you can do it!
Luk Zelderloo is Secretary General of the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities
Cover Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Image