Statement on progress achieved in Cypriot settlement talks
President Barroso welcomed the joint statement by the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat. "It shows the level of commitment and responsibility that the two leaders are putting into the settlement talk. The statement shows also the important progress achieved since the full fledged negotiations started on 3 September 2008.These achievements demonstrate that a settlement is within reach and that there is a chance to finalise the talks in the next few months," stressed president Barroso.
I think it is very important that Europe concludes its own work
President Barroso stressed that the EU should be coherent at the G20 in order to bring in new ideas and momentum, thus carrying through its objectives to support global recovery and put financial markets on the sound footing they need. He said: "I think it is very important that Europe concludes its own work, so that we can go to Toronto and show to our partners what we really have already done in terms of regulation and supervision, so that we are in the position to have a real level playing field globally."
Statement on the Moscow metro explosions
President Barroso expressed his sincere condolences and solidarity to president Medvedev, prime minister Putin and the families of the victims of the Moscow metro explosions. Barroso also said: "People have a right to feel safe as they go about their daily lives. We cannot allow violence to prevail against freedom and democracy. The European Union stands resolutely together with the Russian authorities in its efforts to counter terrorism in all its forms."
Meeting with the World Bank president
Today president Barroso met the World Bank president, Robert Zoellick to discuss the response to the financial and economic crisis. They also shared views on the overall EU-World Bank collaboration, especially on the support for developing countries. Barroso took the opportunity to inform president Zoellick about the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty and its implications for the EU's external mandate and development cooperation.
Statement on the agreement between the US and Russia on a new START treaty
President Barroso congratulated both president Barack Obama and president Dmitri Medvedev for the historical agreement between the US and Russia on a new START treaty. The agreement to cut nuclear weapons is to be signed next month. Barroso added: "The EU stands squarely by international non-proliferation efforts. That is why we will not hesitate to support a new round of sanctions against Iran if it continues to ignore international concerns."
European Council 25 -26 March - conclusions
I now hope that financial markets act on fact and not on fiction
President Barroso judged the European Council as a success because of "the historical agreement reached on Greece and for the financial stability of the euro area." He was delighted about the major agreement, based on Commission proposals, on the Europe 2020 Strategy. Looking ahead to the next G-20 Summit, Barroso appealed to EU leaders to "reach agreement on some of the key financial regulation files and on a supervision package". He also appealed to G-20 leaders to "not water down their ambitions". He stressed the importance of addressing these issues with new "fresh ideas".
A new Atlanticism for the 21st century
President Barroso attended the Brussels Forum 2010 where he focused on the importance of a new Atlanticism for the 21st century. Barroso explained that in a world of threats and new challenges, we need a more dynamic partnership between EU and US. He said: "Now is our moment, now is our opportunity. In order for us to play a role, we must acknowledge global interdependence as the underlying reality of our time, while reinforcing our partnership. We need to think global and act transatlantic."
Tripartite Social Summit in Brussels
Europe 2020 must generate commitment
President Barroso attended the Tripartite Social Summit, which focused on the Europe 2020 Strategy, and on Europe's exit from the current economic and financial crisis. The Summit demonstrated the broad consensus on the need to combine a successful exit strategy with an ambitious structural reform agenda. Barroso said: "We must focus on working together as European institutions, Member States, social partners, regions and all other stakeholders in the best possible way so as to build our common future: a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy with high levels of employment."
European Council 25 – 26 March
We have solved this in the European family
"25 March 1957 was the official birth of the European Community. And it is also the national day of Greece. I am really happy that we can commemorate in such a way both Greece and the European Community, the European Union," stated president Barroso following the agreement reached by the euro area members on Greece. While reiterating that the mechanism "is not a substitute for financial discipline", Barroso argued that it "offers a solid safety net for Greece and provides stability for the euro zone".
EP plenary ahead of the European Council in Brussels
The euro zone is a pole of stability, and this capacity to provide stability must be further enhanced
In the EP plenary session ahead of the European Council, president Barroso stressed the importance of reaching an agreement among EU leaders on clear targets for the Europe 2020 Strategy. He also focused on Greece and financial issues: "The euro zone is a pole of stability, and it is important that its capacity to provide stability is further enhanced.” He urged to create an instrument for coordinated action within the euro area which, if needed, would help to provide assistance to Greece. "What is at stake is an issue of responsibility and solidarity.”
Visit of the prime minister of Estonia
Following a meeting with Prime Minister Ansip, President Barroso recalled how important it is to agree "on the headline targets for the Europe 2020 strategy" at the upcoming European Council. Both leaders also discussed the efforts made by Estonia in order to join the common currency: "The willingness of Estonia to join the euro is a real and concrete demonstration of the importance that the euro has for all us in the European Union," Barroso said. While urging the country to make a "final push" to join the euro, he also made it clear that "recent developments in other eurozone member states will not influence the Commission's assessment on Estonia."
World Water Day
On the occasion of World Water Day, the Commission joins the UN in calling on governments around the globe to raise the political profile of the importance of water quality. President Barroso reiterated that today is also the deadline for Member States to submit their plans for managing Europe's river basins. "Europe has strong water legislation in place and the challenge now is to see how it is working in practice." The Commission has scheduled a number of policy reviews that will help to develop, by 2012, a blueprint to safeguard European waters.
Creation of a Euro area instrument for coordinated assistance to Greece
I urge the EU's leaders to agree on a Euro area instrument for coordinated assistance to Greece
In a statement ahead of the European Council, president Barroso announced that "the Commission is ready to propose an instrument for coordinated assistance to Greece." It would be constituted by "a system of coordinated bilateral loans and would be compatible with the no bail-out clause and with strict conditionality. The creation of this instrument does not imply its immediate activation." According to the statement, the instrument is "designed within the euro area, with conditions and management established by the euro area and its institutions." Barroso urged the EU's leaders "to agree on this instrument as soon as possible."
Visit of prime minister of Greece
Our rules and the Euro are there to help not hinder getting Greece back on track
President Barroso and prime minister Papandreou discussed the current economic situation in Greece. Barroso praised the Greek prime minister for his "remarkable efforts over the last couple of months" to put Greece on track to achieve fiscal consolidation. The ECOFIN Council has "fully endorsed the Commission's assessment on the Greek situation." President Barroso also reiterated that the Eurogroup has "clarified the modalities of a coordinated assistance to Greece, should that be necessary". He confirmed that at the stage prime minister Papandreou has not requested such a mechanism.
Visit of prime minister of Georgia
Today president Barroso welcomed the prime minister of Georgia, Nika Gilauri by reaffirming the Commission's "strong commitment to stability and democracy in Georgia and our firm support for Georgia's territorial integrity and conflict resolution efforts." Both leaders expressed their hope to start soon the negotiations on the future association agreement. Barroso congratulated Gilauri for the progress already made in eradicating corruption and reforming the justice sector. "The upcoming local elections will be an opportunity for Georgia to demonstrate further its commitment to political pluralism and international standards for free and fair elections."
Visit to Madeira following severe storms
I want to assure all Madeira's citizens that they can count on the European Commission
This morning President Barroso visited the southern part of Madeira (Portugal) after the devastating storms that struck the island on 20 February. He reiterated his message of solidarity to the people affected and their families. Barroso assured the regional authorities that the Commission is committed to helping them recover from the disaster as soon as possible. He expressed his readiness to mobilise upon request the Solidarity Fund or other financial assistance. This is testament to "the principle of solidarity as a fundamental EU value".
Statement on Greece and financial market questions
In a statement issued today, president Barroso said that the Commission has been actively working with euro area member states to design a mechanism which Greece could use in case of need. "Such a mechanism would be in conformity with the current Lisbon Treaty, in particular with the no bail-out clause" and "it would include stringent conditionality." He also addressed the question of derivatives. Barroso reiterated that since October 2009 the Commission has begun a programme of action "in favour of efficient, safe and solid derivatives markets." He also announced that the College "will examine closely the relevance of banning purely speculative naked sales on Credit Default Swaps (CDS) of sovereign debt" , in coordination with international and bilateral partners.
Question Hour with president Barroso in the European Parliament
The implementation of the Lisbon Treaty and respect of fundamental rights were the main topics of today's Question Hour. In Barroso's view, "the Charter of Fundamental Rights is a compass for all EU policies." The MEPs also questioned the president about the current economic situation in Greece and GMOs. On GMOs, Barroso stated: "I do not have any position in favour or against GMOs.” He reiterated that the Commission decided to move ahead with the authorisation of a GM potato known as Amflora in accordance with the existing provisions of EU law, based on sound scientific assessment by the independent European Agency Food Safety Authority (EFSA). He also outlined his intention to refer back to Member States the decision to cultivate GMOs or not in full respect of the principle of subsidiarity, while maintaining a Community framework for their authorisation.
Earthquake in Turkey
President Barroso has made the following statement on the earthquake in Turkey: "I am deeply concerned by the news coming in on the earthquake in Turkey. I would like to express the solidarity of the European Commission with the President of Turkey, its government and the Turkish people and to extend my condolences to the families of the victims of this latest natural disaster. I have asked Vice President/High Representative Ashton and Commissioner Georgieva to keep me informed, so that assistance can be mobilised as necessary."
International conference on access to civil nuclear energy
An international conference devoted to access to civil nuclear energy was held today in Paris. It was supported by the IAEA and the OECD. During his speech, President Barroso reminded those present that the EU "has a neutral position with regard to policy choices on the use of nuclear energy" but has a political priority – compliance with guarantees of safety, security and non-proliferation. He announced "a European initiative to assess international security and safety standards and make them legally binding worldwide". Barroso evoked the fact that since June 2009 the Union has been "the first large regional player to give legally binding force to the key international nuclear safety norms". He also discussed the question of radioactive waste: "I am already in a position to announce a legislative initiative on the treatment of radioactive waste before the end of this year."
First EU-Morocco Summit
At the first EU-Morocco Summit, held in Granada, President Barroso wanted to highlight the fact that Morocco is the first country in the region which has acquired Advanced Status. This is in recognition, he said, "of the political, economic and social progress made by Morocco in the last ten years". Thus, in the words of President Barroso, Morocco plays "the role of a pioneer and is an example for others". According to the President, the strengthened EU-Morocco partnership will be a success "not only in terms of our bilateral relations but also the contribution that our bilateral cooperation can make to stability, security and prosperity in the Mediterranean". From an economic perspective and to support the modernisation process – "Morocco’s own choice" – the President called upon those involved to work together "to prepare a strategy of convergence towards the Community acquis and towards common standards".
Visit of president of Croatia
President Barroso had this morning the opportunity to discuss with president Ivo Josipovic the efforts that Croatia is making on its way to accession. “The EU is ready to welcome Croatia as a new member,” said Barroso, “but when negotiations will be closed, Croatians will have to be ready to fully join the EU.” He welcomed Josipovic’s commitment to combating corruption and organised crime as well as his “constructive approach” vis-à-vis neighbouring countries. Barroso encouraged the Croatian president to keep on working with determination on these issues and on the other remaining challenges mainly the reform of the judiciary and public administration, the respect of minority rights and full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Visit of Prime Minister of Serbia
On the occasion of a visit by the prime minister of Serbia Mirko Cevtković, President Barroso said "in the difficult path to reach its due place in Europe, Serbia can count on our active support." He congratulated Mr Cevtković for Serbia's recent achievements and strong commitment to move forward on the EU integration path. President Barroso also stressed the importance of guaranteeing an independent and efficient judiciary, fully cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and engaging with neighbouring countries on solving pending regional and bilateral issues.
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Statement of the Commission on the situation in Greece
President Barroso welcomed the announcement made by the Greek government to introduce a set of additional consolidation measures. Barroso said: "Full and timely implementation of fiscal measures, along with decisive structural reforms, in compliance with the Council decision is paramount. This is in the interest of the Greek people, who will benefit from sounder public finances, better growth prospects and job opportunities. It is as well important for the overall financial stability of the euro area." The Commission fully supports Greece in this endeavour and considers that correcting imbalances and restoring competitiveness is essential to putting Greece back on a sustainable path.
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Meeting with the new Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich
President Barroso congratulated the new president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich, who has chosen Brussels for his first official trip abroad. In the words of Barroso: “Ukraine is a member of the European family of countries. A genuine partnership requires frankness, openness and contributions from both sides.” Ukraine should focus now on the implementation of key reforms that bring Ukraine closer to the EU. In the energy sector, urgent progress is needed in the modernisation and restructuring of Naftogaz and the adoption of the gas law. Barroso underlined that the EU stands ready to provide political and financial support for the reform efforts. He announced that once the country “will be back on track with the International Monetary Fund, the EU should be able to unlock more than half a billion Euro in macro-financial assistance.” For the conclusion of the new far-reaching Association Agreement, which can help doubling Ukrainian exports to the EU, an indicative date of one year was agreed today.
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