Extracts from the press conference by José Manuel Barroso on the country-specific recommendations
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 30/05/2012 First transmission: 30/05/2012
On 30 May 2012, the European Commission adopted its second annual set of policy recommendations to the 27 Member States, and to the euro area as a whole.
On this occasion, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, gave a speech at the European Commission in Brussels to present those recommendations which 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 2012 and formally adopted by the Council in July 2012.
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 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 and the structural reform measures planned for the following 12 months. 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.
||Arrival of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, at the press room, in Brussels
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH): In some areas, we have made good progress. I can say the medicine is beginning to work: public finances are starting to improve, imbalances are beginning to be addressed. Indeed, rebalancing is underway, particularly by adjusting costs to productivity levels. But we are not there yet in terms of our goals. So, we now need to redouble our efforts, at both national and European levels. We need to move further and faster.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH): A particular attention should be paid to unemployment, especially youth unemployment. Current levels are dramatic and this is 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 a job-rich growth that will reduce unemployment.
||Cutaway of photographers
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH): 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, among others, a banking union; with integrated financial supervision and single deposit guarantee scheme. And as you know, our ideas on stability for bonds are already on the table.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH): 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 level to explain the reasons of the difficulties and the best way to address them. I believe that the difficulties we have today are not the 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 view of the press room
||Departure of José Manuel Barroso