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Debate in the European Parliament on the Cyprus Presidency of the Council

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"I have a lot of confidence in the readiness of Cyprus to take on this great responsibility," said President Barroso, expressing appreciation for the intensive preparatory work and President Christofias's commitment to the European project and the Community method.

"The Commission shares the objectives of the Presidency aimed at a stronger, more competitive Europe, based on sustainable growth, solidarity and social inclusion," continued the President. He called on Cyprus to focus on issues where results can be achieved by the end of 2012. He outlined in particular three main areas:

He called on leaders and Member States to do the utmost to reach agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework by the end of this year. "I know that it is extremely challenging but it is possible. This would send a clear signal that when it comes to growth we are committed to action, not limited to rhetoric," said President Barroso.

He also argued for fast-tracking of proposals around the Single Market, both those that are already on the table and the new Single Market Act 2 that the Commission will put forward soon. Finally, the President said that "intensive work will continue to ensuring stability of the Euro area and establishing a genuine Economic and Monetary Union." There is much to be done both on proposals already made (such as a bank resolution or deposit guarantee schemes) and on proposals the Commission will swiftly put forward concerning the first steps towards establishing a "banking union".

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