European Council: extracts from the final press conference by José Manuel BARROSO, President of the EC, and Herman VAN ROMPUY, President of the European Council
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council
End production: 28/06/2013 First transmission: 28/06/2013
On 28 June, José Manuel Barroso, EC President, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Enda Kenny,The Taoiseach, Irish Prime Minister, held the final press conference following the two-day European Council.
EU leaders agreed Friday to start accession negotiations with Serbia. EU leaders are expected to sign off on the negotiation guidelines in December, before talks start in January at the latest. 'We are at an historic moment for the Balkans and Europe as a whole', outlined Herman Van Rompuy.
They also decided to open of negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo.
The day before, actions for combating youth unemployment and supporting SME's were taken. Heads of state and government agreed to boost the ' Youth Guarantee program' which aims at ensuring that within four months of leaving schools or becoming unemployment every young person gets a good offer for a job, education or trainee. 6 billion Euros will be allocated to this youth initiative.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General view of press conference
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council: We are at an historic moment for the Balkans and Europe as a whole. Not only we are welcoming Croatia as a new Member State, we have also agreed to open accession negotiations with Serbia and taking a key step in our relation with Kosovo. These last two decisions are an immediate result of the courageous agreement Belgrade and Pristina reach last April. The first inter-governmental conference with Serbia will be held in January 24 at the very latest. And at the same time the negotiated mandate for stabilisation and association with Kosovo was adopted.
||General view of press conference
||SOUNDBITE (in English) José Manuel Barroso, EC President: I especially welcome the decision to set a date for the start of negotiations with Serbia. This is indeed historic, we very often use the word historic in an abusive manner, but this is historic. Let's not forget what happened not so long ago in that part of Europe with one of the most violent wars we saw and now we will start negotiations with Serbia. At the same time, opening of negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo. This is also a recognition of the process of dialogue in which the two parties have engaged. This is also a demonstration of the power of attraction the European Union has.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE (in English) José Manuel Barroso: We have been pushing full steam ahead on the banking union. And this week we saw an important step forward with the Council's agreement on a common approach to dealing with failing banks without relying on the taxpayer. We need this finalised by the end of the year at the latest, so a full agreement between the Council and Parliament. The European Commission will present its proposal for a Single Resolution Mechanism in the next two weeks. This will ensure effective European decision-making on banks in difficulties within the Single Supervisory Mechanism. This is about making sure that it is the banks who pay for their own mistakes and not the citizens.
||Cutaway of a photographer
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Enda Kenny, The Taoiseach, Irish Prime Minister: It is particularly adapted that we discussed that at the last Council meeting in the Irish presidency, the question of youth unemployment. This fits in entirely with the pillars that we set for this Presidency of stability, growth and jobs. What we set up to do from the 1st of January is to have a really effective Presidency and to implement the arrangement and the decisions that were made politically at highest level by the European Council. It is very important that our citizens across the Union see that the decision made by the Political leaders are actually followed trough and that the commitments made seem to happen.