Meeting philosophical and non-confessional organisations
The Presidents of the Commission, Parliament and European Council met representatives of philosophical and non-confessional organisations today to discuss democratic rights and liberties. At the occasion President Barroso stated that "nothing today – really nothing can be taken for granted anymore. I do not need to cite examples to illustrate the real risks that cherished achievements are suddenly put into question and are now threatened by erosion. And whereas we are currently and rightly concentrating lots of energy on maintaining financial stability and restoring confidence in the euro area, it is at least as important that we engage vigorously in maintaining and promoting our values in Europe and world wide. Because without the respect of these values, including our democratic rights and liberties, the rest is not on solid ground."
EU – US Summit, Washington DC, 28 November
We have reaffirmed our determination to work closely together for the stability of the global economy.
"We have just reaffirmed our determination to work closely together for the stability of the global economy and for the benefit of our peoples," stated President Barroso after the EU – US Summit. He added that "the way forward in Europe is through more integration." The President said the EU and the US decided to create a High-Level Working Group for Jobs and Growth in order to help ensure that the transatlantic economy can be an engine for the recovery of the world economy. This group will examine how to strengthen the EU-US trade and investment relationship and in so doing boost growth and job creation. "But today’s world is not just about economy," said President Barroso. "It is also about values and standards. The EU and the US share a firm belief in freedom, democracy, human rights, and prosperity. They are the hallmarks of our societies and what binds us together," he concluded.
"Today’s globalised world is not just about economy but also about values and standards."
European Commission President Barroso, together with European Council President Van Rompuy and Vice-President / High Representative Ashton, will attend the EU – US Summit today in Washington DC. The EU leaders will meet US President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss global economic issues, bilateral relations and opportunities to promote growth and jobs. Foreign policy issues will also be on the agenda, including how best to contribute to the development of democracy and prosperity in the European neighbourhood, including north Africa and the Middle East, as well as the promotion of our common values in other regions of the world.
Meeting with the President of the Ivory Coast
European Commission President Barroso received the President of the Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara. At a joint press conference President Barroso announced support for the country's forthcoming elections, as well as the willingness to help social and economic recovery. The package of €125 million was formally signed today at a ceremony in Brussels. This money will go to five key projects to improve the lives of the Ivorian population, specifically supporting the health service, professional training (especially helping young people to access the job market), transport, civil society and governance.
Meeting with Mario Monti, Prime Minister of Italy
Despite huge economic head-winds, Italy is determined to tackle its enormous challenges once and for all.
"Italy is determined to tackle its enormous challenges once and for all," said President Barroso after the meeting with Italian Prime Minister Monti. He pointed out that Italian's government programme "correctly addresses the challenges faced by Italy - huge, but surmountable challenges." President Barroso stressed that its success will depend on three elements: strict implementation, putting the high government debt on a steadily declining path and increasing the country's growth potential. President Barroso concluded: "I know Mario Monti is a very committed, competent, experienced politician, a very committed Italian and European. I am confident: Italy will pass this difficult test."
Meeting with Greek Prime Minister Lukas Papademos
President Barroso congratulated Mr Papademos on his appointment as Prime Minister of Greece and stressed that the agreement to form a national unity government, backed by a broad political consensus, is a vital signal of the need for political stability in Greece at this crucial time. He added that "the political determination and resolve are more important than ever to enable Greece to stay the course towards economic reform and renewal." President Barroso also reiterated the Commission's commitment to helping Greece, adding that there are two essential objectives for the coming months: "Firstly, a second programme of financial assistance to Greece for the next three years must be concluded by the end of this year. Secondly, the voluntary bond exchange with private sector investors should take place as planned at the beginning of 2012."
Message to Mariano Rajoy, Spain's Prime Minister-elect
On behalf of the European Commission, President Barroso congratulated Mariano Rajoy, Spain's Prime Minister-elect. President Barroso said: "You have received clear and strong support from the Spanish people at an important time for both Spain and the European Union. We are confronted with one of the most demanding periods of recent decades and this will require important decisions to be taken. In doing so, I am confident that you will preserve the strong European tradition of the Spanish governments and will actively contribute to the European project. I wish you, your government and Spain every success and look forward to welcoming you very soon in the European Commission."
Meeting with Prime Minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt
President Barroso met Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to discuss the economic situation and the preparation of the forthcoming European Council on 9 December. Ahead of the adoption on 23 November of the Annual Growth Survey – the economic priorities for the coming year – President Barroso stressed: "The Annual Growth Survey we publish on Wednesday will not be as positive. Overall, we have seen an unconvincing performance, with many commitments made last year not being implemented fully … the Commission will not shy away from being explicit on where more effort is needed."
The two leaders also discussed the Commission's proposals to strengthen economic governance in the euro area using the existing Treaties, and where necessary, through Treaty change.
Meeting with the UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron
President Barroso and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, met today to discuss a range of topics, including the most recent economic and political developments in the European Union. The two leaders also exchanged views on the forthcoming European Council scheduled for the 9th December 2011.
President Barroso and Prime Minister Cameron agreed on the importance of prioritising the decisive action needed to ensure the stability of the euro area as well as fast-tracking measures to stimulate growth and jobs. They both underlined the central importance of further developing the single market to deliver its full growth potential in the interests of businesses and citizens across the Union and especially to help small and medium sized enterprises.
Social Innovation Conference
At the Conference "Together to create new growth" President Barroso addressed the role of social business in building responsible and sustainable growth. In his speech, he pointed out that social enterprises "are not only seeking to include people or to share profits more fairly, but that they also create jobs." The President also underlined that "action at EU level can be an accelerator for social business, by raising awareness of this sector and its huge potential. Social businesses are a growing and dynamic part of the European social economy, which represent millions of employees." He added that "the EU can help to foster the sector's further development by reducing the complexities of its regulatory environment, in particular, as regards funding and access to markets."
Golden Victoria Award
President Barroso congratulated Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk for receiving the Golden Victoria "European of the Year 2011" award for his political achievements. In his video message President Barroso, who received this prize last year, shared Donald Tusk's believe that to tackle the crisis we need "more Europe and more integration" and that "the current crisis concerns all Europeans and the EU as a whole". "We must not allow new divisions to emerge" – stressed President Barroso.
Debate on economic governance
In the future, we will need to go even further on strengthening integration
In his speech in the European Parliament on economic governance, President Barroso confirmed that the Commission would bring forward to 23 November the adoption of the 2012 Annual Growth Survey, setting out the EU's policy priorities for growth and jobs for the next 12 to 18 months. "At the same time we will come forward with our proposals on further strengthening the economic governance of the euro," he said. "We are indeed now facing a truly systemic crisis that requires an even stronger commitment from all", the President added. "In the future, we will need to go even further on strengthening integration. And this will require Treaty changes. And let me be clear: I am in favour of Treaty change if it is to reinforce the European Union, the Community method, the European institutions and the sense of common purpose."
The President underlined that the euro is a central part of the European Union, "not something separate or apart. The euro is not an opt-out from the EU. This is why we should implement the Community approach when we deal with the euro. We will not make the euro stronger through fragmentation of the European Union", he stressed.
The best response to the crisis: a strong and unified Europe
Speaking at the Gulbenkian Foundation (in Paris), President Barroso called for a strong and unified Europe to overcome the crisis. ‘We have established a unified euro area, but we have largely maintained an intergovernmental method to manage it. This is a contradiction that we are currently moving beyond,’ he said, adding that Europe ‘is not an abstract project. It is the daily reality of 500 million Europeans who share common values and interests’.
Decision on Mario Monti to lead the next Italian government
In a joint statement the European Commission President Barroso and the European Council President Van Rompuy welcomed the decision by the President of the Italian Republic to ask Senator Mario Monti to form a government of national unity. In their statement the Presidents wrote: "We believe that it sends a further encouraging signal – following the swift adoption of the 2012 Stability Law – of the Italian authorities' determination to overcome the current crisis. As agreed at the Euro Summit on 26 October, the Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of measures taken by Italy with the aim of pursuing policies that foster growth and employment."
Congratulations to the Irish President Michael D. Higgins
President Barroso congratulated Mr Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, on his inauguration. President Barroso said: "You are taking office at an important time, as Ireland takes resolute action to address difficult economic circumstances and in doing so, is setting an example for other countries facing similar challenges. I look forward to meeting you during the Irish presidency of the European union in 2013. Guím gach rath ort le linn do thréimhse mar uachtarán na héireann."
European higher education: An engine for growth and jobs
President Barroso attended the Jean Monnet Conference at the University of Lisbon, where the main theme of the conference was "Higher Education in the Framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy". In his speech President Barroso stressed that education, research and innovation are at the very heart of the Europe 2020 strategy, the European blueprint to get the economy back on track over the course of the decade. The President underlined that through their activities in education, research and innovation, Europe's higher education institutions have the talent, the creativity and the expertise necessary to successfully contribute to Europe's economic growth, job creation and world-wide influence. "In today's globalised world education, research and innovation will make the difference; it has to be our competitive edge," concluded the President.
Statement on the designation of a new Greek Prime Minister
European Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy warmly welcomed the agreement on a national unity government, which they said opens a new chapter for Greece: "It is important for Greece's new government to send a strong cross-party message of reassurance to its European partners that it is committed to doing what it takes to set its debt on a steady downward path. Fiscal consolidation should go hand in hand with the structural reforms needed to transform Greece's growth potential and generate the jobs its people so urgently need. We reiterate that our European Institutions will continue to do everything within their power to help Greece. But Greece must also do everything within its power to help itself."
Meeting with European Parliament President, Mr Jerzy Buzek
President Barroso and the College on Wednesday welcomed European President Jerzy Buzek to the European Commission. During a working lunch the Presidents and the College discussed the following issues: the importance of the Community method in eurozone economic governance; accelerating measures (economic governance, single market act); the Commission Work Programme 2012 and the negotiations around the Multiannual Financial Framework and 2012 EU Budget.
Message to the Polish Prime Minister, Mr Tusk
On behalf of the European Commission, President Barroso congratulated Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, Mr Donald Tusk, on his designation as the Prime Minister with a task to form a new coalition government. President Barroso stated: "I am fully aware that the coming weeks, associated with approving the new government, will be challenging for you. Consolidating public finances, boosting growth, cooperating with our neighbours, shaping social policy and, last but not least, rebuilding confidence in the European project – these are the challenges which Member States and European Institutions have to face in union."
The State of Europe - Die Europa-Rede, Berlin
The European Union and the euro area belong together.
President Barroso spoke at the "Berliner Europa-Rede", a strong appeal for deeper integration, unity and democracy. “Provided there is the political will, the greatest emerging power in the world will be the European Union,” said the President. "The challenge is how to further deepen Euro area integration without creating divisions with those who are not yet in it. A split union will not work. The Treaties define the euro area as the core of the EU. Deepening convergence and integration of the European Union must also involve deeper democracy. The agenda for Europe must be a positive one. It must not be a reluctant intervention to avoid the worst, but an enthusiastic plan to create the best.”
Meeting with Prime Minister of Iceland, Ms Sigurðardóttir
President Barroso met the Prime Minister of Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir today. The two leaders discussed the state of play in Iceland's EU accession negotiations. President Barroso noted the progress made, stressing that "the accession talks so far reflect a solid achievement. The European Commission wants to continue this work under an ambitious and realistic timetable." The global economic situation, including the developments in the eurozone and Iceland's economy, were also discussed.
European Newspaper Publishers Association Conference
In the keynote speech to the European Newspaper Publishers Association - 50th Anniversary Congress, President Barroso underlined that "freedom of expression and the freedom of the press are two non-negotiable freedoms that lie at the very heart of our democratic societies." The President added that these two freedoms "are essential core values of the European Union" and that the Commission would continue to defend them vigorously.
Meeting with representatives from the world of culture
President Barroso will meet a group of European personalities from the world of culture on 8 November. They will discuss the challenges that the cultural sector is facing and the way this sector can contribute to the image of Europe. President Barroso said: “In these challenging times when all our efforts are focused on how to boost Europe's competitiveness, growth and jobs creation and on how to overcome the crisis, we can't forget how essential culture is to forge our common destiny to which all our efforts refer. Vital sector of our economy, culture is also a cornerstone of Europe's soul and identity: both are indispensable to our further development.”
Meeting with the President of Cyprus' House of Representatives
President Barroso welcomed to the European Commission the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus, Mr Yiannakis Omirou. During the meeting President Barroso and President Omirou discussed the current economic situation in Cyprus and the forthcoming Cypriot Presidency of the Council in the second half of 2012. They also touched upon the recent developments in the Cyprus settlement process.
European People's Party conference
President Barroso gave a keynote speech at the European People's Party conference: Securing the future of the Euro through deeper economic integration. In his speech "Stability for growth- the future of the Euro" President Barroso stressed the importance of the deeper economic integration for the future of the European Union.
G20 Summit, Cannes, 3-4th November 2011
We need global governance and cooperation for problems that are of a global nature
(updated the 4th November)
In his statement following the G20 Summit, President Barroso reaffirmed the EU's determination to continue to do what it takes to preserve the stability of the Euro. He sent a clear message that the EU "remains fully committed to support Greece, as a member of our European family". While recognising the right of Greece to decide on its own future, President Barroso stressed that the country should demonstrate commitment to the decisions that it has itself subscribed to. The President welcomed Italy's initiative to ask the IMF and the Commission to monitor the implementation of its commitments. President Barroso emphasised that ensuring "the credibility of the efforts of all EU Member States is important, not only for the European but also for the global stability." The President welcomed the G20 leaders' agreement to increase the global firewall against contagion by looking into options to bolster IMF resources, and to make further progress with the Doha agenda. He reaffirmed the EU's determination to go ahead with a financial transaction tax at EU level and to work with the other G20 members towards a global financial transaction tax.
We are determined to implement all the elements of our comprehensive approach to ensure the stability of the Euro area
In a statement following the first day of the G20 Summit in Cannes, President Barroso stated that "Europe is fully aware of its responsibility in these difficult times." He outlined once again the key elements of the comprehensive response to overcome the crisis and confirmed the EU's commitment to implement these measures very rapidly. President Barroso reiterated that Greece should "remain in the euro" and called for national and political unity in the country which is "essential so that the hope of a better future can be given to the Greek people". The President recognised that the world economy faces major challenges, and international cooperation is the only way out to address them. In this context he called on each and every member of the G20 to implement their commitments.
Message to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia
President Barroso congratulated Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, on his re-appointment. "Your appointment for a third term in office pays tribute to the leadership and responsibility you have undertaken in challenging times," stated President Barroso and added that by "successfully completing the economic stabilisation and recovery programme, Latvia can become a true example of economic turnaround achieved by decisive action."
Message to the President-elect of Bulgaria, Mr Plevneliev
President Barroso sent his warmest congratulations to Mr Rossen Plevneliev, President-elect of Bulgaria. In his message President Barroso wrote: "You have received the confidence of the Bulgarian people at an important time for both Bulgaria and the European Union. I am confident that you will actively contribute to the European debate and preserve Bulgaria's strong defence of European Integration. I wish you every success during your Presidency and look forward to welcoming you very soon in the European Commission."