Commission presents 2012 Country-Specific Recommendations and conclusions of in-depth reviews: press conference by José Manuel BARROSO, President of the EC
Première transmission: 30/05/2012
Brussels, Belgium - EC/Berlaymont
Fin de production: 30/05/2012
On 30 May, the European Commission adopted its second annual set of policy recommendations to the 27 Member States, and to the euro area as a whole. The recommendations are based on a detailed assessment of the economic, employment and budgetary situation and policies in each country. Where required, the Commission will spell out further budgetary steps, structural reforms and growth-enhancing measures which Member States should adopt over the following 12 months. The recommendations are to be endorsed by the European Council on 28-29 June and formally adopted by the Council in July.
The presentation of the Country-Specific Recommendations is a key moment in the 'European Semester' of economic policy coordination., Taking the EU's growth strategy (called Europe 2020) as a starting point, the Commission sets out every year Europe's economic policy priorities (in the so-called "Annual Growth Survey"). The priorities presented in the 2012 Annual Growth Survey, adopted on 23 November 2011, were endorsed by the European Council on 1 March 2012. On that basis, the Member States submitted in April their medium-term budgetary plans (called Stability Programmes for euro area countries, Convergence Programmes for other Member States) and the structural reform measures planned for the following 12 months (National Reform Programmes). The Country-Specific Recommendations are the Commission's response to these.
The presentation of the results of the in-depth reviews of 12 Member States is the next step in the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure, following the Alert Mechanism report on 14 February. The Alert Mechanism Report concluded that the macroeconomic situation in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Spain,
Sweden and the UK merited further investigation with a view to assessing the presence of specific imbalances. Where necessary, the Commission will also issue recommendations to take appropriate preventive or corrective action to address these.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||José Manuel Barroso, EC President entering the press room
||SOUNDBITE (in English) by José Manuel Barroso: We have made good progress – the medicine is beginning to work: public finances are starting to improve, imbalances are beginning to be unwound and rebalancing is underway, particularly by adjusting costs to productivity levels. We are not there yet so we now need to redouble our efforts, at both the national and European levels. We need to move further and faster.
||Cutaway of journalists
||SOUNDBITE (in English) by José Manuel Barroso: Particular attention also needs to be paid to unemployment, especially youth unemployment. Current levels are dramatic and unacceptable.
While there is no quick fix, much more can be done to invest in training, better match skills to labour market needs and to shift the burden of taxation away from labour. These measures may not bring immediate results, but they will ensure that, when growth returns, it is job-rich growth that will reduce unemployment.
||Cutaway of photographers
||SOUNDBITE (in English) by José Manuel Barroso: We intend to look at the further steps we need to take towards a full economic union to complete our monetary union. The Commission will advocate an ambitious approach. The "building blocks" could include a banking union; euro area financial supervision and euro-area wide deposit guarantees. And our ideas on Eurobonds are already on the table.
||General atmosphere in the press room
||SOUNDBITE (in English) by José Manuel Barroso: It is true that the mood is negative in many of our Member States, and this is usual when we have a deterioration of economic perspectives. This is not new. When you have in Europe a situation where the economy is not going well, the public opinion sentiment regarding European integration is more negative. That is why I am asking all the leaders including at national levels to explain the reasons of the difficulties and the best way to address them. I believe that the difficulties that we are living today are not result of the Euro. That is quite clear; we have countries outside the Euro that are experiencing the same kind of problems. Iceland is not a member of the Euro and they have a huge financial budgetary crisis. Other countries of the European Union that are not part of the Euro are experiencing these difficulties, so it is completely not true that the crisis is a result of the Euro.
||General shot of the speakers
||Medium shot of the speakers
||Departure of José Manuel Barroso