President Barroso unveils his new team
The president announced the portfolio responsibilities for the next Commission. The president has held detailed consultations with all the commissioners-designate in order to assign the right jobs to the right people. The president believes that this team can deliver the agenda for change he set out in the political guidelines he presented in September, following his nomination by all 27 Member States and before his approval as president of the next Commission by the European Parliament.
Statement on the US and Chinese announcements on climate change
Commission president José Manuel Barroso and the Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt welcomed the news - in the last 24 hours - that the US and China had both indicated what they are prepared to do on mitigation in concrete numbers. "The US and China are essential players in this negotiation. Copenhagen must not be allowed to fail(...).” We hope that both the Chinese and US indications represent the first steps towards steeper reductions. It goes without saying that we also plan to discuss with both China and the US how to turn these indications into an international agreement", they said in a joint statement.
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Institutional decisions made, now it is time to respond to citizens' expectations
Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, president Barroso stressed the importance of moving beyond institutional discussions "Next month's European Council gives us the first significant opportunity to show that we are now focused on policy substance." To show that it will make a difference, he concentrated on three key dossiers which will be under the spotlight: the Copenhagen conference, the Stockholm programme and the economic crisis.
Greener growth is not just a dream
President Barroso and commissioners Piebalgs and Dimas for energy had discussions with a group of distinguished business leaders concerning climate change. He received a strong signal from them: business needs an ambitious deal in Copenhagen. In Europe, investments in renewables could generate 90 billion euros, create some 700 000 new jobs and reduce the oil import bill by 45 billion a year by 2020. During the press point he gave at the end of this meeting, he also explained that if, unfortunately, we won't be able to get a new binding full Treaty in Copenhagen, he’s looking for a simple, understandable and clear text that is binding on all countries while reflecting our common but differentiated responsibilities. “This Copenhagen agreement should include specific, individual numbers on reduction of emissions, and a detailed finance package to help developing countries both to develop mitigation programmes and to adapt to climate change (…) It must also contain upfront actions that will come quickly into operation". He concluded on this issue: "Some of these actions do not need to wait for the Treaty. We can do it now because climate change is happening now."
The president wishes all the best to Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton
“It would be impossible to have a better choice of personalities for European Union leadership” said president Barroso, commenting the nomination of the first president of the Council and the first high representative/vice president of the Commission. He considered the nomination of Herman Van Rompuy as a tribute to Belgium: “the constant support that this country, the heart of Europe, has been giving to our common project”. Concerning the former commissioner for Trade Catherine Ashton, “the only Baroness I can call Cathy”, he said that “it's also very significant that she comes from Britain, because we believe that it is so important that Britain remains at the heart of our project”. President Barroso did not forget to pay tribute to Javier Solana who has been replaced and to Fredrik Reinfeldt for his great leadership.
"Like the battle against climate change, the fight against hunger cannot wait"
"We need to provide for food security what the Inter-Governmental Panel has given to the battle against climate change – a science-based early warning system for the planet," said president Barroso, stressing the link between food security, climate change and global security. The EU is by far the largest donor to the FAO. And the commission, which is a full member of the FAO, is the largest extra-budgetary donor. The FAO was one of the main beneficiaries of the EU's €1 billion food facility proposed by president Barroso and approved in December 2008 by the EU Council. Earlier this week, president Barroso met with the secretary general of the FAO, Mr Diouf, and underlined that sustained funding and targeted investment are needed to improve long term food security. "But investment must be complemented by sound governance."
How I intend the next Commission to take Europe forward towards EU 2020
“We need to put innovation and creativity at the heart of tomorrow's policies,” stated president Barroso during the press conference on the European Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation. He was happy to see a convergence between the Manifesto and the EU 2020 strategy, as mentioned in his political guidelines for the next Commission. “Knowledge, reinventing education and developing broad research, promoting innovation policies and greening the economy are at the core of this EU 2020 strategy,” he explained. He also mentioned two cross-cutting issues: the need to have sound public finances in an age of demographic change and the need for financial markets to be motors of long-term investment, “not casinos were a few players take all the winnings and the rest of us pay for the losses.” He announced that the commission would in the next few weeks publish a working paper for consultation on the EU 2020.
“Working in tandem with the future President of the European Council because that partnership will make all the difference”
“It is not for me to comment on the candidates for the Presidency of the European Council. But as EC President and looking at institutional matters, I very much hope that the Heads of State and Government will select a personality that can provide effective leadership to the European Council,” said president Barroso at the European Parliament, during a debate on the results of the October European Council. He also gave details on the High Representative and the next college.
"Peace is and will remain Europe's most fundamental raison d'être"
During his speech at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Berlin, president Barroso reminded that peace is at the core of the European project. With the commemorations of the fall of the Berlin Wall as a backdrop, he expressed his conviction that "everything is possible, nothing is there to stay for ever: the desire for freedom and peace will always be stronger than walls, prisons and dictatorships". He praised the courage and leadership of people like Lech Walesa and the leadership and sense of responsibility of Mikhail Gorbachev, both present at the summit. He defined the EU vision for Russia as a "strong partner for Europe" and stated that Europeans want Russia to be a strong, stable and prosperous country based on the rule of law and the respect for human rights. He also expressed his hope that Aung San Suu Kyi will finally be given back her freedom of movement and expression and released from her internal exile in Burma.
In the age of globalisation, the US and the EU can make a real difference
At the final press conference of the US-EU summit, president Barroso said: "this relationship is more important than ever". Regarding climate change negotiations, one of the big issues, he paid tribute to president Obama's leadership – "he changed the climate on the climate negotiations" - and said that he was more confident now than he was in days before. Barack Obama took the opportunity of the summit to congratulate the European delegation on the conclusion of the Lisbon Treaty: "I believe that a strengthened and renewed EU will be an even better transatlantic partner with the United States". He also paid a special tribute to president Barroso, who "has done an excellent job in his role with the Commission over the last 5 years."
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