Statement following the final session of the European Council
"We had a substantive debate in the Euro Area summit on the analysis of the economic situation," stated President Barroso at the beginning of the press conference and added: "The most relevant point is that to achieve sustainable growth we really need increased competitiveness. And we discussed how we can best achieve that."
In his statement President Barroso also talked about youth unemployment. He underlined that the Commission has moved quickly on the Youth Employment Initiative and already this week has made the proposals needed to make this Initiative a reality.
"Since January 2012 the Commission has been working with action teams in the eight Member States with the highest levels of youth unemployment. Together we have targeted EU financing to support job opportunities for young people and help SMEs get access to finance. The results have been positive. By the start of this year around 16 billion euro of EU funding had been mobilised – double the amount we first expected. Nearly 800 000 young people and 55 000 SMEs are set to benefit. This is of course still work in progress."
According to the European Commission President, is that we simultaneously have high levels of unemployment and skill shortages. The shortfall in ICT professionals could reach 900 000 by 2015. "Job opportunities exist and we must train our young people to fill them," reiterated the President.
"Today we listened to a presentation by Prime Minister Cameron on the G8. The three key priorities, the three "t", transparency, tax evasion and trade presented by the Prime Minister of Britain this morning are issues on which the Commission has led the way in recent months," continued President Barroso. He made it clear that "preventing tax evasion is a priority because everyone should pay their fair share of tax".
On trade, President Barroso outlined that "it is particularly important that we restate our commitment to a strong multilateral trading system."
On Russia, "we need to move from a partnership of necessity to a partnership of choice," concluded the President.
Responding to the journalist question on the European Union's economic strategy President Barroso answered that the European Commission has been advocating the necessary reforms which are the only possibilities to have sustainable growth.
"That's why a Compact for Growth and Jobs was adopted," he explained and added that we need to do more. "We need to combine the policy of solidarity with the policy of responsibility. It's not the question of either or. We cannot oppose growth and competitiveness. We need both," said the President and added: "At the same time we need to have more targeted measures for growth, specifically addressing the major scourge of unemployment, namely youth unemployment."