European Council of Brussels: intermediary press conference by José Manuel Barroso, Herman van Rompuy and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Danish Prime Minister
Type: Complete press conference
End production: 28/06/2012 First transmission: 28/06/2012
On 28 June 2012, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Danish Prime Minister, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, held a press conference at the end of the first session of the European Council, in Brussels.
On this occasion, they concentrated their discussions on growth and jobs, namely on the Compact for Growth and Jobs - action to be taken by the European Union and Member States to relaunch growth, investment and employment, and make Europe more competitive.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Danish Prime Minister, at the European Concil, in Brussels
||General view of the conference room
||General view of the speakers; Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Herman van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso
||Soundbite by Herman van Rompuy (in ENGLISH): Let me give you the state of play of our meeting this evening.
We had a good discussion this afternoon and this evening on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and on our growth and jobs agenda. We will continue over dinner the discussion about financial stability, which is related to the growth agenda.
What we have already agreed today concerns first of all the growth and jobs agenda, and here the key element is that we will boost the financing of the economy by mobilising around 120 billion euro for immediate growth measures.
A 10 billion euro increase of the capital of the European Investment Bank will increase the Bank's overall lending capacity by 60 billion euro. This money must flow across Europe, not least to the most vulnerable countries, and help companies grow themselves out of the crisis.
The other 60 billion euro comes first from the reallocation of unused structural funds (55 billion), in particular for small and medium enterprises and youth employment, and second from the pilot phase of Project Bonds that should be launched this summer and will go to key initiatives in energy, transport and broad-band infrastructure (almost 5 billion).
We have prepared the ground on how to stimulate growth earlier this year. It is not just about injecting money. Growth is the overriding concern in every aspect of our work -- be it improving the single market, tackling unemployment or promoting trade and innovation. The growth agenda is a sign of our unrelenting commitment. It brings together all the concrete measures that we will swiftly take, in each Member State and together as a Union.
There is also a real commitment to continue to apply all our strengthened economic governance tools (such as the Country Specific Recommendations) and keep building up peer pressure.
On the upcoming Multiannual Financial Framework: we had our first discussion among leaders on this issue. Everybody agrees we have a unique opportunity to transform the EU's budget into a tool for future growth.
Even if it is relatively small compared to the budgets of all the Member States put together, (about 50 times smaller), it can make a real difference because it is an investment budget. It can help finance, directly and indirectly, thousands of investments in different areas, like research, joint ventures, transport or energy, and help people to find jobs or upgrade their skills.
The MFF discussions are always interesting political negotiations. They are not just about how much we can spend and where the money comes from, but also where we spend it and how we spend it. They are about more than just money.
Today we built on the excellent groundwork done by the Danish Presidency, for which I should like to warmly thank Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
We discussed two issues:
Firstly, I asked leaders to share their priorities: in which areas they think we should invest in the first place.
Secondly, we discussed how to make sure we get the best value for money, by having policies with the right structures, incentives and controls to guarantee the biggest impact on growth.
We all agree we need an agreement quickly, before the end of the year. We must make sure to have this important tool for growth up and running from day one of the next period. That is why we will be talking about it again at our meeting in October and presumably also in December.
Over dinner we will discuss the report on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, that I presented earlier this week and prepared in close cooperation with Commission President Barroso, Eurogroup President Juncker and ECB President Draghi.
The title of the report sums up our ambition: moving "Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union.". The analysis is simple. If we are serious about the single currency, there is a number of steps that must be taken: in the financial sector, in fiscal matters, in economic policy. They must be accompanied by increased democratic legitimacy and accountability. We will talk about the timing and nature of the next steps.
There are certainly things to be done also on the short term. We will discuss this tomorrow in the framework of the Eurozone summit. But in the current climate, a credible perspective for the longer term is essential to restore confidence in the short term. More about this tomorrow. This is the state of play of the discussion we had this afternoon and this evening.
||Soundbite by Helle Thorning-Schmidt (in ENGLISH): Creating growth and jobs has been at the centre of all the summits through the Danish Presidency and that was certainly also the case today where we have spent many hours discussing a growth pact and also the Multiannual Financial Framework. What we are seeing now is a clear sign that EU has a firm determination to actually promote new growth and jobs in Europe. We know we have a crisis and we know we have to deal with that crisis but, at the same time, we have tried all through these six months and before as well to promote growth and jobs. And now we have actually created the building blocks of a new growth and jobs pact that we will hopefully agree tomorrow. Herman van Rompuy was discussing some of the building blocks in this. I think it is new and innovative that we are strengthening the European Investment Bank (EIB). The project bonds that we have decided are also a new tool that will create growth and jobs and we have also stated very clearly that we still believe in strengthening and modernising the internal market. This has been what the Danish Presidency has tried to do all along; we have tried to push for concrete and tangible resources in terms of what we already got that could push growth and jobs. Let me just give you a few examples; we have the proposal regarding the single market, regarding venture capital and social entrepreneurship which has just been adopted. On top of that, we have the standardisation directive, we have the energy efficiency directive and I could actually go on because what we have achieved during the last six months is that we have, at the same time when we had the crisis, been able to take the decisions that will move us forward. All these things are put together now in a growth compact and there is no doubt that, when we adopt that, it will be a good push at the European level and on the national level for the growth and the jobs that we have been talking about for many months. So, even though we are not quite finished, we will be finished tomorrow and I think this will be a novelty that we are also able to have a light in the dark; a growth and jobs compact is a light in the dark and it can give hope to the Europeans that we are able of taking positive decisions that will create growth and jobs in Europe. Thank you.
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH): This was a very significant first session of the European Council, and since the President of the European Council and the Prime Minister of Denmark as the current Presidency of the Council already gave a summary of our work I will not repeat.
I just want to highlight that we have concentrated our discussions on growth and I am extremely happy that the President of the European Council has decided to put this discussion on growth together with the Multi-annual Financial Framework because the European budget is indeed part of our agenda for growth. It is a budget for investment and growth trying to achieve our common European objectives for competitiveness and for cohesion.
So it was a very good and a very deep discussion on all these issues and I really welcome the fact that we could concentrate our attention on the most important concern for our citizens: How can we restore growth and jobs in Europe?
As you know the European Commission has been advocating some of these things many, many times now and the idea of having a comprehensive response to our current crisis – to address short term, medium term and long term issues. That is why at the same time that we are discussing now these concrete measures in terms of growth including investment, targeted investment, we use the occasion to remind colleagues in the European Council about the need to pursue our efforts of fiscal consolidation for stability and also deep structural reforms at national and at European level for instance, at European level, deepening the single market. But of course there are specific issues namely regarding European Economic and Monetary Union that will be discussed later today and tomorrow based on the report prepared by the President of the European Council in close cooperation with myself, the President of the Eurogroup and the President of the European Central Bank (ECB).
I think it is important to highlight this vision, because this is what investors all over the world are waiting for from us, that we define in clear terms the commitment to our common currency, to the irreversibility of the euro, this is very important, and of course we will address all these issues I am sure tonight and also tomorrow, specifically in the Euro area summit. This is work in progress and I believe we will achieve concrete positive results.