Statement following the vote in the Greek Parliament on the implementing measures for the revised economic programme
In a joint statement with Council President Van Rompuy, President Barroso strongly welcomed the approval by the Greek Parliament of the implementing legislation for the country's revised economic programme. "The conditions are now in place for a decision on the disbursement of the next tranche of financial assistance for Greece and for rapid progress on a second assistance package. We reiterate Europe's unwavering support and solidarity for the Greek people" stated the President.
Message of congratulations to Mrs Christine Lagarde
President Barroso congratulated Christine Lagarde following her appointment to the post of Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF ‘has made an excellent choice, one based on expertise, experience and talent’, stated the President, whilst also acknowledging the role Mrs Lagarde played in tackling European economic challenges as the Finance Minister, and expressing a wish for greater cooperation between the IMF and the Commission to help states facing difficulties with their national debt.
Statement on the vote in Greece on the revised economic programme
"With today's approval by the Greek Parliament of the revised economic programme, the country has taken an important step forward along the necessary path of fiscal consolidation and growth-enhancing structural reform" President Barroso said in a joint statement with President Van Rompuy, welcoming it as "a vote of national responsibility". Greek parliamentarians must vote on 30 June on the implementing measures. A second positive vote would pave the way for the disbursement of the next tranche of financial assistance, as well as for work to proceed rapidly on a second package of financial assistance, they said.
Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020
Reforming the budget, changing Europe
At the European Parliament’s plenary sitting, President Barroso evoked the main lines of the Commission’s proposal for the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework. Calling it "At once ambitious and innovative, responsible and rigorous”, the President stressed its pan-European nature and its promise for the future. A tax on financial transactions is being proposed in order to increase the EU’s own resources, for a budget to be placed at the service of growth and employment and with high added value.
All across Europe, families are prioritising where to spend their money. Some luxuries are being cut, as people invest in what really matters for the future. The European Union is doing exactly the same. The Commission’s budget proposal invests today in growth for tomorrow. Taxpayers will get more for the same amount of money they spend. It will make it a truly European budget. A budget for integration.
Boosting growth across the European Union
A large part of the budget will be aimed at getting people into work and the economy growing. A new Connecting Europe Facility will finance the missing links in energy, transport and information technology. There will be significant new money for education and vocational training, and for research and innovation to create the jobs and ideas of tomorrow. And money for less developed regions will go to jobs and growth, which will also benefit the whole of Europe.
Making Europe safer
Many of today’s challenges ignore national borders. And it is much cheaper for Europe to respond with a co-ordinated policy rather than 27 separate ones. Safe and healthy food will be at the heart of the changes to Europe’s agriculture funding. 30% of direct payments to farmers will depend on farmers making the sector environmentally friendly. A euro will protect the environment, boost energy-efficiency and the fight against climate change, strengthen cohesion and promote social targets at the same time. It can have a major leverage effect in many areas. The new budget will also strengthen the management of Europe’s external borders and put fresh money into tackling serious crime, terrorism and cybercrime.
Making Europe count in the world
The advance of technology is making the world a smaller place. Shifting alliances and emerging new powers mean that Europe must do more to make its voice count. The money invested in defending Europe’s interests will be increased. Recent events in the Southern Mediterranean have once again shown the impact on Europe of dramatic events in its neighbourhood. Incentives will be provided for those countries that deliver political and economic reforms that strengthen democracy in the region. Europe, which provides over half of development assistance worldwide, is determined to deliver on its commitment of spending 0.7% of GNI by 2015. The new budget maintains that pledge.
Getting a fairer and more transparent budget
Taxpayers need to be able to see how their money is being spent. The new budget should be simpler, more transparent and fairer. We propose that changes are made to the way the budget is financed, with new revenue streams being created to partially replace contributions based on the gross national income of each Member State. We believe that this will give families and governments a better deal.
Meeting with leaders of the European People's Party in national parliaments
President Barroso met with the chairmen of EPP groups in national parliaments and stressed the importance of national parliaments in EU affairs, especially since the Lisbon Treaty allows them to be more involved. While fully respecting the principle of subsidiarity, President Barroso pleaded for more Europe, in particular in crisis times, and for a realistic but ambitious budget in order to achieve the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.
European Council, 23-24 June 2011
This was an important European Council that took crucial and substantive decisions
"On Greece, we have once again shown that we find agreement when agreement is needed" President Barroso said at the press conference following the European Council, while adding that this Council has shown that "our new way of dealing with the European economy is working". On Schengen, the Council agreed on "an EU based approach to avoid the risk of unilateral action which disrupts free movement and could also undermine the single market". On the Southern Mediterranean, President Barroso expressed his satisfaction with the European Council's support for the approach that the Commission has advocated for the region: "We all support the calls for democracy, social justice and shared prosperity." President Barroso also expressed his hope that everything will be ready for Croatia to become the 28th member of the EU by 1st July 2013. Finally, he congratulated Mr Mario Draghi on his appointment as President of the European Central Bank: "I know him well, I know his commitment to Europe, his exceptional competence in economic and monetary affairs. We wish him the best."
"There is a real will to do what is necessary to preserve the financial stability in the Euro area"
At the press conference following the first day of the European Council President Barroso outlined the main aspects of the presentation he gave to the Heads of State and Government on the overview of the economic situation in Europe. The President said that "There was a real commitment to pursue the reforms that we believe are essential for Europe's competitiveness". On the situation in Greece, he underlined that every available possibility should be used to stimulate growth and jobs: "We are ready to consider all proposals for reprogramming and restructuring funding to deliver rapid and better results on the ground". "I am extremely happy with the clear endorsement by the European Council of the intention presented by the Commission, namely where the European Council states that it welcomes and supports the preparation by the Commission together with the Member States of a comprehensive programme for technical assistance to Greece." the President concluded.
"This European Council will take important steps to ensure that the EU's economic policy-making is both more coherent and more effective."
In his statement at the Press conference in advance of the European Council President Barroso highlighted the position of the Commission on some of the most important points on the Council's substantive agenda such as migration, economic governance package and financial sector taxation. On the situation in Greece the President stated: "Greece has the potential to access a significant amount of EU money under cohesion policy. We should concentrate these funds on where it matters the most now: on improving competitiveness and employment. We should coordinate them, so that we make the most impact. We should find ways to frontload and accelerate them, so that Greece gets the benefit now."
"We have important economic issues to discuss"
In a letter to the Members of the European Council, Commission President José Manuel Barroso laid out the Commission's perspectives on the upcoming European Council agenda. He highlighted four main issues: migration, the Southern Neighbourhood, financial sector taxation and the administrative burden on SMEs.
On migration, he pledged support for the swift completion of the Common European Asylum System, adding that "the abolition of controls at internal borders goes hand in hand with common rules, solidarity and a shared responsibility for external borders".
Around the issue of the Southern Neighbourhood, President Barroso reviewed the support offered to the region and commented on upcoming plans, for example the proposal to appoint an EU special representative for the Southern Mediterranean.
The President stated that the Commission had found "a strong case for deciding on a financial sector tax in the EU as a first step." It will present a formal legislative proposal after the summer and will continue to aim for "a global agreement on a financial transaction tax."
Finally, President Barroso shared his concern that the Council appears prepared to accept lower targets in reducing red tape for SMEs than those offered by the Commission. He urged the Council to reconsider the proposals which would reduce administrative burden by more than 31%, especially considering the importance of SMEs for the European economy.
Europe 2020 targets [188 KB]
European Council conclusions [160 KB]
Meeting with the new Prime Minister of Portugal
President Barroso today received the new Prime Minister of Portugal, Pedro Passos Coelho. Ahead of the European Council, the two leaders discussed the economic situation in the eurozone. President Barroso expressed his confidence in this new government acknowledging the difficult moments that Portugal is going though. The Portuguese Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to implement the adjustment programme negotiated with the Commission, the ECB and the IMF. "The success of Portugal will be the success of Europe", the President said.
Message on the re-election of Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary-General
President Barroso and President Van Rompuy made the following statement on learning of the re-election of Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary-General: "We warmly welcome the news of the re-election of the Secretary General of the United Nations. Under his leadership the UN has played a decisive role in tackling issues of global nature from tackling climate change to peace and security, development and eradication of poverty. We look forward to continue the good cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations in the future".
Statement on the confidence vote in the Parliament on the new Greek Government
President Barroso welcomed the confidence vote in the Parliament on the new Greek Government and said it "removes an element of uncertainty from an already very difficult situation". He called on the Greek government to focus their efforts on building support in parliament for the approval of the ambitious series of fiscal measures and privatisations agreed with the troika. "The approval of these measures next week will not only enable a rapid disbursement of the next tranche of financial assistance for Greece; it will also mark a big step in Greece's journey back towards sustainable public finances and a return to growth" he added.
Meeting with the Secretary General of the Arab League
President Barroso received the outgoing Secretary General of the Arab League, HE Mr. Amre Moussa, for talks. The two leaders discussed the state of play in the Middle East Peace Process, the situation in Libya and the democratic transition in Egypt. President Barroso reiterated the EU's and the Commission's strong support to democratic and economic reforms in our Southern Neighbourhood, in particular through the new Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity that the Commission was spearheading.
Message of congratulations to Mr Jyrki Katainen
President Barroso congratulated Mr Jyrki Katainen on his appointment as Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland. "Europe is presently facing perhaps the most serious economic crisis in its history, and there is still more to do to tackle the crisis." the President wrote. He expressed his confidence that Finland will "continue to contribute actively and constructively to these efforts as well as to other important issues on the European agenda".
Meeting with the President of Azerbaijan
President Barroso met with Mr Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan. The two leaders discussed progress in EU-Azerbaijan relations, notably the talks on an Association Agreement launched last year. On energy issues, President Barroso stressed that realizing the Southern Gas Corridor - a joint strategic goal for both the EU and Azerbaijan - was key for the security and diversification of our energy supply and demand. President Barroso also emphasized the importance of further political reforms and the full respect for rule of law in Azerbaijan.
Message of condolences to Dmitriy Medvedev
Following the tragic plane accident that happened in Karelia, President Barroso sent a message of condolences to the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitriy Medvedev, expressing his deepest sympathy with the families of victims.
Meeting with the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou
In a statement following his meeting with George Papandreou, President Barroso recognised the Greek prime minister's "tremendous efforts made over the past year" and stressed that he knew that what the Greek people were living through was difficult. "If there were an easier route out of the crisis, we would have taken it. But there is not," he said. "Now is not the time to falter. Now is the time to redouble efforts: for the sake of the Greek people, and for all of Europe," he concluded.
Meeting with UK Prime Minister David Cameron
President Barroso met UK Prime Minister Cameron today to discuss the forthcoming European Council and the forthcoming Commission proposals for the future European budget.
Meeting with the President of Croatia
We are in the process of opening a new chapter in Croatia's rich history
President Barroso congratulated Croatia's President Josipovic on his country's historic progress. "The Commission has proposed to close the accession negotiations. Croatia is now ready to move ahead" said President Barroso and added: "This decisive step forward is also a clear signal to the rest of South Eastern Europe: It shows that enlargement works". He stressed the importance for Croatia to keep the momentum in the period before accession and to continue the enforcement of reforms.
Statement on the recent political developments in Greece
"I hope the new government can be approved rapidly, so that the process for continuation of financial assistance to Greece may continue smoothly" said President Barroso on today's political developments in Greece in response to a question during his press point with the President of Croatia. "I look to Sunday's Eurogroup to resolve remaining differences and come to a responsible agreement on financial assistance to Greece" he added.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Report
President Barroso gave a speech at the launch of IPCC's Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation. He stressed that "the world needs to do much better if we are to limit temperature increase to 2°C." "Renewable energy offers Europe a significant tool in doing so and is central to building a new economic model" for green growth and jobs. "Renewables are neither a luxury nor a distraction" but "a core business for the EU", he noted.
Meetings with the Presidents of the regional associations
President Barroso met the Presidents of the regional and local associations and the President of the Committee of the Regions. President Barroso assured them that the cohesion policy will continue to be a strategic area for the EU of the future. He also expressed his wish for closer cooperation with the Committee of the Regions. With regard to the outermost regions, the Commission will propose a strategy in 2012 for 2020, which respects their particular status in accordance with the Treaty.
Annual meeting with the European Court of Auditors
The College of Commissioners held its annual meeting with the European Court of Auditors today. It was a good occasion for both institutions to update each other on different issues of mutual interest. During the meeting, among other issues, a number of elements related to financial management in the forthcoming Commission proposals on the Multiannual Financial Framework were discussed.
Message of congratulations to Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Following the elections in Turkey, President Barroso congratulated Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the outcome. "The results open the way to further strengthening Turkey's democratic institutions, as well as to the continued modernisation of the country, in line with European values and standards", President said in a joint message with European Council President Van Rompuy. He added that progress in these fields should also give new impetus to the accession negotiations with the European Union.
Conference on commodities and raw materials
We all have an interest in reducing the excessive tensions and imperfections which can occur in these markets.
In his speech at the international conference on commodities and raw materials, President Barroso stated that an 'emerging consensus is forming on the need to give greater transparency and an appropriate level of regulation' to these markets. Bringing together both producer and consumer countries, 'without a doubt the G20 is the most appropriate forum for dealing with these issues,' he stated, calling for coordinated international action.
Meeting with Mr Michel Platini, President of UEFA
President Barroso met Mr Michel Platini, President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), and in particular broached the Commission Communication on sport that was published in January, which promises standards of good governance for sports. President Barroso also supported the principle of 'financial fair-play' proposed by UEFA, aimed at re-establishing stability and good economic sense in European football, and the importance of supporting national teams and tackling match fixing.
Commission proposes to close the last "Chapters" in the accession talks with Croatia
"Today is a historic day for Croatia and for the European Union" stated President Barroso on the Commission proposal to close the last four chapters in the accession talks with Croatia. "At this significant moment, I would like to applaud the Croatian authorities for their hard work over the last years. Even more importantly, I would like to congratulate the people of Croatia. Joining the EU family of nations is first and foremost your success!" The President also stated that this important step should serve as "an inspiration to our other partners to reinvigorate their reform efforts and to deliver to the benefit of their people. This is also in the EU’s self-interest."
EU-Russia Summit - deepening strategic partnership
I look forward to a constructive Summit with President Medvedev, which will bring further progress to our strategic partnership
The discussions at the 27th EU–Russia Summit will focus on global economy and global governance, EU-Russia relations and Russia's WTO accession, and the new EU-Russia Agreement currently under negotiation. President Barroso said: "I am confident that our talks will help Russia to walk the final mile towards WTO accession, which is still possible this year, and to find constructive solutions to all outstanding issues and concerns. Regarding the ongoing negotiations on a New EU-Russia Agreement, I will encourage President Medvedev to move forward on the trade and investment chapters. This will further upgrade our strategic relationship."
Main outcomes [17 KB]
Statement on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's readiness to serve a second term
Following UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's announcement of his readiness to serve a second term, President Barroso stated: "We, in the European Union, appreciate his wisdom and his dedication to solving the important issues on our planet, from sustainability and supporting developing countries to our constant struggle for peace. I believe Ban Ki-moon has been and is a very good Secretary-General of the United Nations. We will be very pleased to see him continue in that very important position."
Meeting with Tarja Halonen, President of Finland
President Barroso met with Tarja Halonen, President of Finland and Co-Chair of the Global Sustainability Panel of the UN. "Global sustainability is not an isolated field of politics. It is an overarching, key objective", President Barroso said. He underlined that the EU is a committed actor of sustainability: "it is at the core of our Europe 2020 Strategy", with ambitious targets in major policy areas. He also expressed the Commission's support to the preparatory work for the Durban and Rio Conferences.
Message of congratulations to the Prime Minister of FYROM
Following the elections in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, President Barroso sent a message of congratulations to Mr Nikola Gruevski, the current Prime Minister and leader of VMRO-DPMNE. Underlining the common goal of FYROM's integration into the EU, President Barroso expressed his confidence that the new government would "make every effort to ensure progress on the important issues that remain to be addressed" on FYROM's path towards the European Union.
European Parliament Question Hour
The main topics of the Question Hour with President Barroso in the European Parliament were the outcome of the G8 Summit in Deauville, the support to the European Neighbourhood, migration, today's Commission recommendations to Member States to boost growth and jobs and the situation of public finances. The President also expressed his personal support for a taxation of the financial sector and announced a forthcoming proposal by the Commission in this regard.
Statement by President Barroso on the accession talks with Croatia
President Barroso made the following statement after the European Commission meeting on 7 June: "I believe we are very close to concluding negotiations with Croatia. We are about to reach a decisive moment in Croatia’s long journey towards EU membership. I believe that there will be some very good news in this regard on Friday - for the people of Croatia, the European Union and all the peoples of South Eastern Europe."
Country-specific Recommendations 2011
These efforts, if made seriously and by all, will allow Europe to leave the crisis behind it and safeguard our future prosperity
With the publication of 27 country-specific recommendations on 7 June 2011, the Commission has taken another decisive step to support each Member State in delivering growth and jobs – and thus put the whole EU economy back on track. "We know that achieving the goals we have collectively set ourselves means sometimes hard choices. But these efforts, if made seriously and by all, will allow Europe to leave the crisis behind it and safeguard our future prosperity." said President Barroso.
Laudatio for J.-C. Trichet, Charlemagne Prize 2011, Aix-la-Chapelle
A guardian of price stability and the credibility of the euro
During the presentation of the Charlemagne prize, President Barroso paid homage to Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank, as 'a guardian of price stability and the credibility of the euro'. In his laudatio, the President congratulated Mr Trichet for his experience, his independent spirit, his informed dose of pragmatism and courage, orthodoxy and openness. He also underlined the moral obligation which the Charlemagne prize represents for European leaders to preserve and reinforce European dynamism.
Meeting with Mr Andonis Samaras, leader of the main Greek opposition party
President Barroso received today Mr Andonis Samaras, leader of the main Greek opposition party Nea Demokratia. In their meeting they discussed the present economic and financial situation of Greece. President Barroso urged Mr Samaras to show his commitment to reach a broad national consensus so that Greece can face in the most determined and effective manner its present historical challenges to address the situation of its public finances.