Visit to Bulgaria
President Barroso today inaugurated a new EU funded metro line in Sofia. His visit to Sofia was also the occasion to meet bilaterally with Prime Minister Borissov and President Plevneliev.
"Working side-by-side with the Bulgarian authorities, we have together completed this project that serves to stimulate the economy, make traffic safer and faster, and allow for a more pleasant urban life. This is what we mean when we talk about green, smart and sustainable growth" said President Barroso at the opening ceremony of the second line of the Sofia Metro. He also added that the metro line is a demonstration of what can be achieved through the European Union structural and cohesion funds.
The bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Borissov focused among others topics on the use of EU funds in Bulgaria, the latest CVM report, the country's accession to Schengen and on structural reforms. "A real push is needed on pension reform, the fight against poverty, youth unemployment and administrative capacity to improve living standards and keep the Bulgarian economy growing", said the President at the press conference following the meeting. In the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption, President Barroso called for a "consistent political effort". He also reiterated the Commissions "unequivocal support for Bulgaria joining the Schengen area".
Visit to Austria
President Barroso met with Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann to discuss the various aspects of the Euro-area crisis during his visit to Salzburg and Alpbach. The President also met with the Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger and with Salzburg Governor Gabi Burgstaller.
President Barroso addressed the Alpbach Economic Symposium, a forum renowned for its contributions to the debate on Europe. The President said: "What distinguishes this crisis from previous ones in history is that we have the European Union as our shield that can protect us from these storms. In fact, we are already more integrated than before. All the steps so far taken to combat the crisis have resulted in more European integration, not less."
The European Commission will table proposals to create a European banking union on 12 September. According to President Barroso this is the next concrete and immediate deliverable of our vision to generate confidence in the future of the Euro area. "That is exactly what we need for Europe: to complete our work, to complete the economic and monetary union, to be determined and consistent, to stay the course, not to expect miracles, but to focus on implementation and results. Step by step. But always with the broad horizon in mind", he said.
Message from President Barroso to José María Olazábal, following the announcement of the European Ryder Cup Team
"The Ryder Cup is the most prestigious team golf event in the world. And it is the one event where Europe is represented by a single team."
"It was a real privilege to speak at the opening ceremony at Celtic Manor, Wales in 2010 as Europe won the golden chalice trophy.
The team you have picked today for the defence of the trophy represents the true diversity of nationalities, languages and cultures from many different parts of Europe. They will all come together under your leadership to represent the European flag. You have a unique opportunity to bring a smile to millions of Europeans.
I wish you every success at Medinah Country Club in Illinois."
Statement by President Barroso on the passing away of Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia
"It is with great sadness that I have learnt this morning of the demise of His Excellency, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. In this sad moment I would like to offer my sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to his family and all the people of Ethiopia."
"Prime Minister Meles was a respected African leader. He demonstrated his strong personal commitment over many years to improving the lives of not just his own but all African peoples, through his work on African unity, climate change, development and in promoting peace and stability, particularly in the Horn of Africa. In his time, Ethiopia made great advances towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. I sincerely hope that Ethiopia will enhance its path of democratisation, upholding of human rights and prosperity for its people, and of further regional stabilisation and integration."
Reaction to the Romanian Constitutional Court's decision on 29/07 referendum
The Constitutional Court (CC) of Romania has declared the referendum of 29 July as invalid due to the lack of participation quorum required by law. The European Commission takes note of this decision and considers that it will now be of utmost importance for all political actors to comply with the decision of the Constitutional Court.
Accordingly, the legal procedure to reinstate President Basescu should be respected. The European Commission expects the Romanian authorities to abide by the rule of law and the decisions of the Constitutional Court.
The European Commission calls on all political forces to respect European values, to act with responsibility and to work constructively in overcoming divisions, in Romania's best interests. Respect for the rule of law and independence of the judiciary are essential for restoring political stability and economic confidence in Romania.
The European Commission will continue to monitor the situation very closely. It will adopt a further report under the cooperation and verification mechanism before the end of the year.