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European Parliament: President Barroso ahead of the European Council

(c) EU

"I will urge the European Council take concrete commitments towards economic and monetary union"

This European Council will focus on growth. "Today, I want to propose that we conclude an inter-institutional agreement on the growth initiative. Given the urgency of the situation, it is important to prioritise key decisions. An inter-institutional agreement would set a fast timetable and get things moving. I also expect a clear signal on the increasing lending capacity of the EIB at the next European Council." said the President.

On the Multiannual Financial Framework, President Barroso said: "Quick adoption of the MFF would send an immediate signal that Europe is ready to invest in our future, that we are serious about growth. With reduced spending power at home, some member states view the MFF as an extravagance to be minimised, and a potential source of savings to repatriate. This is a great mistake. Our budget is a budget for investment and for growth and I believe that we all agree that in current times we need to combine stability with growth."

At the core of the European Council will also be a discussion on the building blocks for the future of the economic and monetary union." Financial integration is one area where major progress could quickly be made, even without Treaty changes. Thus, the creation of a banking union appears as a natural priority," said the President and added: "I see two major steps. First, to accelerate the adoption of proposals already on the table. Second, by autumn the Commission could be ready to come with key proposals to introduce more integrated banking supervision and common deposit guarantee and resolution funds."

The full benefits from deepening the economic and monetary union and from creating the banking union could however only be reaped by the development of the fiscal union. Concrete steps towards it, according to President Barroso, include further development of our financial backstops and a serious discussion of the joint issuance and mutualisation of national debt in the form of stability bonds.

"Finally, a deeper economic and monetary union requires deeper accountability and legitimacy. Decisions of historic dimension need to be prepared, and the citizens need to be involved in the debate," concluded the President.

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