The European Union needs to secure a free trade deal with the U.S., Jyrki Katainen, former Finnish prime minister in the running for vice presidency at the European Commission, told CNBC.
Talks on the E.U.-U.S. free trade deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, began last year and have faced opposition in Europe.
French politician Marine Le Pen, president of the right wing Front National Party, is campaigning against the deal, arguing that unfettered transatlantic commerce would damage vulnerable national industries and hit employment.
But Katainen, who currently serves as the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, fully backs the deal.
"We need a free trade agreement with the United States," he said, adding that an energy union and a single market were also pivotal.
"These are the issues which could help all of Europe increase competitiveness, increase competition, and this is the way we get more jobs...We need more opportunities for our small and medium-sized [companies,] but also for the bigger companies, to go to the U.S. market," he added.
The European Commissioner also reiterated his view that structural reform is still a much-needed objective in Europe and acknowledged that increasing demand is an important factor in stimulating growth.
"The European economic challenges are more structural in nature than cyclical... what I personally hope is that all the member states would do more on the structural side, like with the labor market, in some countries we need pension reforms, in some countries we need a better single market in order to strengthen competitiveness," he said.
"Because we are not only competing between ourselves in Europe, but we should be more competitive on a global scale," he added.
A huge talking point in Europe at the moment is the Scottish referendum on September 18, especially after a Sunday Times poll revealed Scottish people are leaning towards a 'yes' vote, marking a shift in sentiment.
Many analysts believe that if Scotland separates it could send tremors through Europe, because of what it means for the U.K.'s economy and political power, and for other smaller regional groups in Europe.
Katainen declined to comment on the implications of the referendum, but hinted that a weaker U.K. wouldn't be positive for Europe.
"I don't want to speculate about the result of the Scotland referendum because it's not my duty at all, but what we need in Europe is a strong United Kingdom influencing matters when we are developing Europe,"he said.
"The only thing I want is stability, whatever threatens stability I hope that we can solve it," he added.
The European Commissioner also commented on Ukraine and said the European Union would remain a strong partner to Ukraine during its time of crisis, but said the troubled economy would also have to do its part.
"Of course it means that there must be a strong commitment of decision makers in Ukraine to follow the path of rule of law, of democratic and transparent society," he added.
President of the EC Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to appoint approximately six new vice presidents in around two weeks' time.