Welcoming the Irish Presidency priorities
President Barroso welcomed the priorities set out by the Irish Presidency, especially its commitment to push for an agreement on the "Two-pack" and to reach an agreement next month on the Youth Guarantee to tackle youth unemployment.
On the Single Supervisory Mechanism – a key step we can take in the short term to build a genuine banking union – the President expressed appreciation for the fact that Member States were able to find consensus just three months after the Commission's proposal. He also expressed hope that the Parliament and the Council will be able to finalise the agreement as quickly as possible: "Reaching political agreement on the proposal in time for discussion at your plenary session in early February is not impossible with political will." He also repeated his yesterday announcement that the Commission will present a proposal for a next key step towards the banking union – 'Single Resolution Mechanism' – before the summer.
"But stability means more than financial stability. We must increase our efforts to ensure economic and social stability," he continued; making references to the Commission's work in these areas, which include deepening the Single Market and supporting entrepreneurs and small and medium sized companies. The President pushed again for a swift agreement on the EU's multiannual budget: "It is a new year but the message remains the same, the European budget is the budget for investment, growth and jobs at the European level."
On the issue of international trade, he said that the EU will continue to deepen economic ties with both its well-established strategic partners and the dynamic emerging economies – specifically by concluding negotiations with Singapore, completing negotiations with Canada and starting talks with Japan. "We will also set out a clear vision on deepening economic ties with the United States which remains our single most important economic partner," he said.