Speech at the launch of the book "For Timor: Memories of Ten Years of Independence" at the European Parliament
Yesterday, the President participated at the launch of the book "For Timor: Memories of Ten Years of Independence" that was held at the European Parliament in Brussels.
President Barroso highlighted that this was a book of memories but that it was also a book about the future. The future of Timor-Leste and the future of all those who are struggling for freedom and democracy. There is a message as well for the international community's commitment to live up to the ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
EP President Martin Schulz meets the Commission on draft budget 2013
The draft budget for 2013 adopted today is a budget of responsibility and solidarity.
At the press conference, held together with President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, President Barroso said: "This is a budget that supports growth and jobs while recognising the pressure on national budgets. It shows responsibility because it freezes future expenditure at the level of inflation. It moves the investment to areas that can best help to create growth and jobs. Finally it also limits increase of administrative expenditure to 1.2%, well below inflation (also through cutting Commission staff levels)."
He further explained: "At the same time, the budget shows solidarity because it respects our legal obligations. Member States and private beneficiaries are now submitting their bills to us. This is normal in the last year of a programming period. And the EU has to pay these bills, there is no way around it. We owe this to our citizens to allow them to complete their EU-funded research work, their infrastructure projects, their training and education classes and to implement their business plans as envisaged. I therefore call on Member States to show responsibility in the discussion and to avoid any kind of myths or prejudices."
President Barroso highly appreciated this first and very good meeting between the College and President Schulz, stressing the special partnership between the Commission and the European Parliament. He announced that such meetings will take place on regular basis from now on.
Meeting with Mr José Maria Neves, Prime Minister of Cape Verde
After the meeting, President Barroso recalled the importance of the special partnership between the EU and Cape Verde and commended the extraordinary journey of progress and development Cape Verde has made over the years. The President said that the initialing of the agreements on visa facilitation and readmission – concluded within the Mobility Partnership between the EU and Cape Verde – was a qualitative step forward in strengthening relations between Europe and Cape Verde, going beyond institutional contacts.
The leaders also discussed the situation in West Africa and shared their concern about the political, economic and social problems that still affect some countries in that region. President Barroso used this opportunity to condemn once more the recent military coup in Guinea-Bissau and to express support for the efforts of international and regional organisations such as the UN, the African Union, the ECOWAS and the CPLP.
Meeting with Mr Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia
After the meeting President Barroso expressed his confidence that “Mr Fico's Government will pursue a targeted reform programme that will allow Slovakia to tackle effectively the economic and social challenges”.
He mentioned two key challenges: the budgetary consolidation and also making full use of its labour market potential. “It is important that the new Slovak Government takes the necessary measures effectively and without delay", he said.
Slovakia is not alone in this. Following the informal European Council on 30 January 2012, a joint action team was established with Slovakia “to see how structural funds can in the short term strengthen national efforts to combat youth unemployment and help small and medium sized enterprises to create jobs. In the current situation, more than ever it is absolutely key to use EU funds effectively and efficiently and to accelerate the implementation on the ground.”
President Barroso also welcomed Prime Minister Fico’s “broad support” for the Commission’s proposal of the next financial perspectives for the European Union. “It is extremely important to understand that this budget is not just about expenditure," President Barroso said. "It is mainly about investment. This is not money that goes to Brussels. This money goes to our regions, for the cohesion countries, for the cohesion regions, for our workers, for our SMEs, and without a strong policy for cohesion we will not have a real Union.”
The challenge of winning citizens' trust – European Ombudsman event
President Barroso participated on Tuesday in the high level seminar "Europe in Crisis: The challenge of winning citizens' trust", hosted by European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros. The President focused on possible ways to close the gap between 'people in the street' and the elites in the European Union. He called for "leadership and strong ownership of the European project. The EU is not just Brussels, it is for all. We need leadership of EU institutions, but also at all levels, from national governments, parliaments, social partners, civil society, business, universities. Democracy is not just about the state, it is about engaging."
The discussion which followed covered topics related to the EU response to the crisis, and the legitimacy and transparency of European institutions. Questions were asked both from the audience present and those following the event online and submitting their questions via Twitter.
President Barroso in Copenhagen
President Barroso discussed with national parliamentarians about the achievements and further development of the Single Market at a meeting of the Conference of the committees of the national parliaments of EU Member States dealing with European affairs (COSAC). The President said: "Over the past two decades, the Single Market has transformed the way Europeans live, work, travel, do business and study. But twenty years after 1992, it is important that we take a moment to pause and reflect not only on what a tremendous achievement the Single Market is. We also need to think of how we can put this unique tool to Europe's best advantage as an engine driving forward sustainable growth and jobs." He stressed that "building partnership and ownership with national parliaments is essential not only to drive forward the Single Market and make sure its benefits are actually delivered on the ground, but also to promote Europe's future growth and prosperity across the board."
Later that day President Barroso gladly accepted an invitation to speak at the University of Copenhagen where he focused on Europe's response to the crisis and on concrete benefits of European integration, such as cooperation and achievements in the fight against climate change or greater energy supply security. "And this is why I say with a great conviction that a sustainable solution to the crisis means more Europe not less Europe. And we have to fight hard against any prejudice." The speech was followed by a public debate together with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
President Barroso's visit to Angola
The two day visit confirmed that the EU and the Republic of Angola are entering a much more intense phase of their mutual co-operation. During the visit, the President witnessed the remarkable effort made by Angola in its post-war reconstruction and development. It is symbolic that this visit took place during the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of peace in the country.
The principal tool for enhancing the mutual cooperation will be the Joint Way Forward document, which both sides agreed to conclude soon. This document was one of the topics covered during a meeting between President Barroso and the President of the Republic of Angola, Mr Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Both leaders also discussed the situation in the region, during which President Barroso commended Angola on a constructive regional and international role in contributing to stability and peace.
Letter to Mr. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, former Prime Minister of Poland, on his 85th birthday
In his letter President Barroso conveyed his best wishes on the occasion of Mr. Mazowiecki's 85th birthday. He also strongly appreciated his invaluable contribution and wholehearted commitment to the process of leading Poland towards democracy, freedom and integration with the European Union as the Prime Minister of the first non-communist government in Central and Eastern Europe.
Read the President's letter [82 KB]
Unlocking the growth and jobs for Greece and Europe as a whole
These actions, if properly implemented, should quickly unblock growth, create jobs and mitigate the social impact of the crisis
Just after adoption of the Communication on Growth and Jobs for Greece, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, said in the European Parliament: "This Communication proposes a set of priority actions which range from promoting youth employment to tax reform, and investing in education to smarter regulation. These actions, if properly implemented, should quickly unblock growth, create jobs and mitigate the social impact of the crisis." He also acknowledged and appreciated the tremendous efforts made by the Greek authorities and by the Greek people over the last months in undertaking the measures necessary to secure the second programme, and the unprecedented solidarity of the international community (the total package of assistance to Greece, is equivalent to 177% of Greek GDP, almost double the income Greece can generate in one year) that actually opened the way for this Communication.
The President continued with a strong call to Member States to speed up the implementation of growth-friendly legislation to release the full potential of the Single Market. He promised that the Commission will also later this year come with a Single Market Act II to further take forward efforts to unleash the full jobs and growth potential of the single market in Europe.
Meeting with Federal President of Germany, Mr. Joachim Gauck
After a very friendly and open discussion with Federal President Gauck on democracy, values like freedom and solidarity, the European economy and integration, President Barroso said:
"I noticed with great satisfaction that the new President of Germany is fully committed to continue the historically pro-European position of his country and shared with him my deep personal appreciation for his life-long fight for freedom and for his courage to call on citizens to 'dare more Europe.' I believe that President Gauck, with his personal background and his strong convictions for European values and integration, is very well placed to lead by example."
The President further underlined that Europe indeed needs leaders and citizens to stand up for Europe; to explain its achievements and promote its benefits. He insisted that no one should believe that the European project and its achievements are irreversible or can be taken for granted.
Meeting with His Majesty Abdullah II, King of Jordan
At the press point after the meeting President Barroso said: "EU-Jordan relations are very good and our ties are getting even closer. We have now an “advanced status” partnership, we are marking the 10th anniversary of the EU-Jordan Association Agreement this year, and the preparatory process for the launch of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement negotiations has already started."
"I had the opportunity to convey to His Majesty King Abdullah II a strong message of support but also of encouragement to pursue with the political reform process aiming at strengthening democracy, justice and the rule of law in Jordan. We also discussed in detail Jordan’s commitment to conducting free, fair and transparent elections," continued the President. He also commended His Majesty the King and Jordan’s efforts in moving forward with the Middle East Peace Process.
Sustainable Energy for All Summit and meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Energising Development - €50 million to provide access to sustainable energy for an additional 500 million people
The President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso together with Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, today opened the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels. The President applauded the Secretary-General for his most relevant "Sustainable Energy for All" initiative, in which the European Commission is strongly involved. "In the developed world," he said, "adequate energy supplies are often the difference between growth and stagnation. In the developing world, they may make the difference between progress and falling behind, or even between life and death." He also announced today the launch of a new Commission initiative: Energising Development. This will provide 50 million euro over the next two years to support countries that "opt in" to the initiative and commit to the necessary reforms to spread the access and usage of sustainable energy sources.
After the opening of the summit, the leaders will continue discussions on topics of common interest and concern. "If sustainable development, environment and climate action are truly global issues, so are peace, stability and democracy," concluded President Barroso, confirming that among other issues they will discuss the current situations in Syria, Iran and Guinea-Bissau.
In the afternoon, President Barroso and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will witness the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women between the EU and UN Women, establishing a strategic partnership between both organisations.
Proposal for simplifying cross-border car registrations in the EU
We want to make it as easy as possible to move and register cars across borders in the EU
On Wednesday the Commission proposed a regulation for simplified car registration in the EU. Once adopted by the Council and the Parliament the new law will bring savings of about EUR 1.5 bn per year and many concrete advantages for citizens and companies. President Barroso commented: "Greatly simplified rules for cross-border car registration and a substantial reduction of administrative burden will bring us a step closer to a smooth functioning Single Market, our engine for growth and jobs."
Interview with "Dein SPIEGEL" (German news magazine for children)
Two children reporters from the German children's magazine "Dein SPIEGEL" interviewed President Barroso during his recent visit to Hamburg. They asked the President about Europe, the Commission, his working habits and what it means to have one of the most important jobs in Europe.
The President explained to the children that without the European Union it would be much more difficult to travel, study or work abroad and that thanks to European integration people do not need to be afraid of wars in Europe any more. The Commission's role, he said, was as a kind of referee that kicks off the match and ensures that all players stick to the rules. President Barroso also explained his daily work and talked about his political contacts in Europe and abroad.
He finally confirmed that he will support Portugal during the European Football championships. After the interview he played table football with the two children reporters, which was a nice experience for everyone involved.
Meeting with Jyrki Katainen, Prime Minister of Finland
After the meeting with the Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, President Barroso pointed out that the European Commission and Finland are both committed to fiscal consolidation and structural reform and that they share a common agenda, an agenda for stability and growth.
The President thanked Mr Katainen for his leadership regarding the digital agenda and his vision of a fully integrated internal market in the digital area as the markets of the future will become more and more digital. President Barroso assured that such a market was part of the Commission's priorities for growth in Europe.
The role of innovation was also discussed during their meeting. As President Barroso noted: "We all know in Europe that Finland has been a champion of innovation and has been very successful in many of the initiatives taken to foster innovation. It is an area where I think we can do more."
Meeting with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO
President Barroso met this afternoon with the Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to discuss EU-NATO relations and also the preparation of the next NATO Summit to be held in Chicago. They both agreed that an active and effective European Union contributes to the overall security of the Euro-Atlantic area and that for this reason the EU is a unique and essential partner for NATO. They emphasised that NATO and the EU can and should play complementary and mutually reinforcing roles in supporting international peace and security. President Barroso reiterated the European Union's commitment to strengthen the relationship between the EU and NATO, including through the synergies between the two organizations' military capabilities initiatives: "smart defence" and "pooling and sharing". Both leaders agreed with the need to ensure a successful NATO Summit, in particular to guarantee that the international community will remain committed with the future of Afghanistan post-2014. Other issues of common interest were also discussed such as the cooperation between EU and NATO in different theatres of operations, in particular Kosovo.