In the previous legislature, the EPP group's main priority was to help stabilise Europe after a financial crisis that struck all our economies hard and to put the continent back on a growth track. Now, we have seen the situation improve, for example in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland.
At the end of May, the EPP group once again received the trust of the European voters. As we continue to be the leading political group in the new parliament, it is our task and our mandate to address the key challenges Europe has to face. These include dealing with a recovery that remains weak and uneven and, moving forward, contributing to the right conditions to reignite economic growth and the creation of new jobs, especially for the young generation, as well as Europe's competitiveness. These must rank at the top of parliament's agenda, as must our innovation, energy and foreign affairs policies. I believe that growth can come from Europe's re-industrialisation based on a coherent strategy. Through our work, we need to ensure that Europe enhances its industrial competitiveness without placing an excessive regulatory burden on business.
"I believe that growth can come from Europe's re-industrialisation based on a coherent strategy"
Research and innovation need to be put at the heart of growth and we need to make sure that we have an EU framework in place that allows companies to invest more in R&D. We also need to work towards improving the overall business environment for European companies and particularly towards creating a more SME-friendly environment, one that would allow businesses to have better access to funding. This will help stimulate innovation and increase competitiveness. Access to credit at similar and affordable interest rates must be provided to companies and small businesses. We need to make full use of the 2013 European investment bank capital increase, and SMEs must be provided with modern financial instruments.
In addition, we need to make better use of the entire EU budget. This will be one of my priorities as EPP group vice-chair in charge of our budget and structural policies working group. In the energy field, Europe needs a joint policy, one that is sustainable and leads to greater security, independence and diversity of our energy supply, as well as competitive and affordable energy prices. Making sure that we have more investments in our internal energy infrastructure, for greater connection, as well as a fully functional common market for energy, to give us greater power in negotiations with third-party suppliers, will be among our group's priorities.
The EU is in full review of the Europe 2020 strategy. And although, overall, the strategy remains valid, the mid-term review can lead to improvements that would make the strategy more in line with what citizens want and expect from the European Union. The review should allow further orientation towards innovation, investment, jobs and growth in Europe. These are some of our key priorities as a group. To these I would add the priorities related to my work: contributing to a better implementation of policy as a member of parliament's transport and tourism committee, helping the Republic of Moldova progress on its European path, supporting Serbia's integration process as a member of the SAPC delegation and contributing as an industry, research and energy committee member to a sustainable European energy strategy. A first step would be the effort to conclude, under the Italian presidency, the single European sky file.