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European council, 27 - 28 June 2013

"This was a good Summit for Europe," stated President Barroso at the joint press conference at the end of the European Council.

28/06/2013

President Barroso underlined that at this European Council "decisions have been made that will make a difference for our economy and the job prospects of our citizens, especially the young.

The second day of the European Council focused on the Economic Monetary Union and especially the Banking Union. President Barroso stressed that "we have been pushing full steam ahead on the banking union. And this week we saw an important step forward with the Council's agreement on a common approach to dealing with failing banks without relying on the taxpayer. We need this finalised by the end of the year at the latest, so a full agreement between the Council and Parliament. The European Commission will present its proposal for a Single Resolution Mechanism in the next two weeks. This will ensure effective European decision-making on banks in difficulties within the Single Supervisory Mechanism."

He stressed that "this is about making sure that it is the banks who pay for their own mistakes and not the citizens."

President Barroso also presented important decisions taken on the future enlargement of the EU and regarding the euro area. "We will have another member of the euro area from next year, Latvia. We all very warmly congratulated Latvia for its impressive achievements," said President Barroso.

He welcomed the decision to set a date for the start of negotiations with Serbia and at the same time, opening of negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo. He also announced his trip to the Croatian capital Zagreb, to welcome Croatia to the European Union family.

In conclusion President Barroso paid tribute to the Irish Presidency and its impressive results achieved including the MFF deal, the Single Supervisory Mechanism, the reform of CAP and fisheries policy, Horizon 2020 regulations, the youth guarantee, the mandate for negotiations of Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States.

27/06/2013

"Today was a growth and jobs summit", President Barroso said, commenting on the results of the first day of the European Council. "It was also about creating a new consensus to get our economy growing again."

"The reality is that our growth performance is disappointing, and in some parts of Europe we have a social emergency. So we need to face this situation with courage and determination, and I believe a part of the response is confidence", the President said.

President Barroso highlighted the endorsement of the Commission's country specific recommendations, the concrete decisions to frontload funds to tackle youth unemployment and getting finance to Europe's small companies. He also said that "One thing is sure: we had a growth compact but we cannot develop this growth compact without a growth fund. Our growth fund at European level is of course the multiannual budget. This is why I was delighted that this morning we have agreed, with the President of the European Parliament and with the President of the Council - the current Irish Presidency, agreed politically, on the next multiannual budget for Europe. This is critically important now, so that we have all the instruments to develop the policies agreed."

President Barroso concluded his remarks with an assessment of an intense day of discussions: "the last 24 hours have been a great success because we have obtained this, by the Council, this approval of the Directive on Bank resolution and recovery; we have an agreement between Parliament and Council on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and today we have also agreed on the next MFF, and we have in this European Council very important decisions regarding youth employment and support to small companies. A good day of work for Europe".

President Barroso presents conclusions of the European Council in Strasbourg

European Council conclusions, 27 June 2013

Statement by President Barroso following the second day of the European Council, 28 June 2013

The full statement by President Barroso following the first day of the European Council, 27 June 2013

Watch the video of the press conference

Commission calls for a new consensus to get the economy growing again

Working together for Europe’s young people: A call to action on youth unemployment

Increasing lending to the economy: implementing the EIB capital increase and joint Commission-EIB initiatives

The Compact for Growth and Jobs: one year on

Commission follow-up to the ‘Top Ten’ consultation of SMEs on EU regulation

Letter by President Barroso sent to the Heads of State and Government, the President of the European Parliament and the President of the European Council ahead of the European Council on 27-28 June 2013

Read President Barroso's speaking points after the European Council 28 June 2013

Watch video

European Council, 27-28 June

The European Council starting in Brussels this afternoon will discuss practical measures to get Europe growing again. The focus will be on youth unemployment, increasing lending and small businesses.

27/06/2013

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Ahead of the meeting, the Commission has made recommendations in each of these areas, and Commission President Barroso has written to all EU heads of state and government calling for consensus on them.

Combatting youth unemployment is a top priority. The Commission is proposing that € 6 billion of the Youth Employment Initiative should be frontloaded so that this money is committed in 2014 and 2015 rather than over the seven year period of the MFF.

One of the biggest obstacles to recovery at the moment is the lack of normal lending to the real economy, especially SMEs. The Commission will urge the European Council to take an ambitious approach on this issue.

Having a business friendly environment is also an important part of the mix. The Commission has adopted a communication to address the Top ten most burdensome pieces of EU legislation, as identified by SMEs. The communication details the action taken or to be taken to address each of them.

The European Commission has also adopted a progress report on Compact for Growth and Jobs. One year on, there is much that member states can still do to help themselves, for instance by unlocking the potential of the single market in areas like digital, energy and research. The report highlights the need to complete Single Market Act I where only 7 of the 12 proposals tabled by the Commission have been agreed by the co-legislators. The European Commission has presented most of the proposals for the Single Market Act II.

Working together for Europe’s young people: a call to action on youth unemployment pdf - 782 KB [782 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr)

Increasing lending to the economy: implementing the EIB capital increase and joint Commission-EIB initiatives pdf - 605 KB [605 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) português (pt)

The Compact for Growth and Jobs: one year on pdf - 898 KB [898 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr)

Commission follow-up to the ‘Top Ten’ consultation of SMEs on EU regulation pdf - 563 KB [563 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr)

President Barroso's letter to Heads of State and Government and the Presidents of the European Parliament and European Council ahead of the European Council meeting

Political agreement on EU's future budget 2014-2020

Following their meeting this morning at the Commission headquarters, President Barroso, President Schulz and Irish Taoiseach Kenny announced a political agreement on the European Union's future budget 2014-2020.

27/06/2013

Eamon Gilmore, Enda Kenny, José Manuel Barroso, Janusz Lewandowski, Martin Schulz and Alain Lamassoure, Member of the EP (from right to left)

27 June 2013

President Barroso underlined that this was possible because all sides have gone the extra mile and said: "This is a good deal for Europe, for European citizens and for the European economy."

He pointed to the main elements of the agreement: more flexibility on both payments and commitments, frontloading of expenditure linked to youth employment, research, education and SMEs as well as the possibility to increase aid for the most deprived people. He also said that the deal confirms the agreement reached for the 2013 amending budget.

He also pointed out that the Compact for Growth discussed at today's European Council cannot exist without a fund for growth and concluded: "Our fund for growth is the European budget". He thanked the representatives of the other institutions for their true European spirit.

The deal will now be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council for formal endorsement.

Press statement by President Barroso

Elements of the political agreement on the European Union's future budget 2014-2020

Watch the video of the joint press point

Find out more about the original MFF proposal of the European Commission

Good examples of EU funded projects

MFF for dummies

MFF website of the European Commission

MFF website of the European Parliament

MFF website of the Council of the European Union

03/07/2013 Speech by President Barroso at the European Parliament plenary session

12/06/2013 President Barroso calls for a European consensus to restore confidence

18/02/2013 There can be no agreement on the Multiannual budget without the European Parliament

08/02/2013 European Council: EU multiannual budget 2014-20 agreed by Heads of State or Government

06/02/2013 President Barroso outlines Commission position before European Council on EU budget, trade and neighbourhood policy

31/01/2013 New multiannual budget must have means to address the major social challenges

30/01/2013 "After calming unrest among markets we have to yet raise hope among our citizens"

President Barroso meets Prime Minister Dačić of Serbia

The meeting took place after the General Affairs Council recommended to the European Council to open accession negotiations with Serbia.

26/06/2013

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The meeting took place after the General Affairs Council recommended to the European Council to open accession negotiations with Serbia.

President Barroso and Prime Minister Dačić discussed the progress made by Serbia on its European path, and the next steps, in particular in the implementation of the agreement reached in the EU-facilitated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.

President Barroso congratulated the Prime Minister, his government and the people of Serbia for opening the door to the next important phase in Serbia's European path.

"Prime Minister Dačić has worked hard to achieve this, in particular through his commitment to reach the historic agreement in the dialogue with Pristina. This agreement paves the way for a better future of all citizens in Serbia and Kosovo. And it reflects a European spirit: we are not weaker because we talk and try to reach compromise; on the contrary - we are stronger because we build bridges.", said President Barroso. "Serbia's determination to reform and work with its neighbours in a spirit of reconciliation is thus delivering".

Watch the video

President Barroso meets the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

President José Manuel Barroso and the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Mr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu hold talks today in Brussels.

25/06/2013

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The President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation looked at how to improve cooperation between the two organisations. President Barroso welcomed the opening of a new Permanent Observer Mission of the OIC in Brussels which will certainly contribute to a more regular dialogue, increased cooperation and deeper relationship.

The discussion also focused on the Arab awakening and on security challenges in the whole region, from Syria to the Sahel. Both leaders concurred that political polarisation and huge economic and social needs have to be addressed to prevent instability from growing.

President Barroso explained the EU engagement in the Middle East and North African countries through its Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity, whose aim is to support political and economic transition reforms. Respect for democracy, rule of law and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief, are key for the success of democratic transformation. The EU has mobilised significant additional resources in grants (around €500M in new grants in 2011-2013 through the SPRING programme) and loans, and has set up Task Forces (with Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt) to facilitate coordinated action for investment in the respective countries.

Regarding Syria, President Barroso said that only a political solution can ensure a stable, inclusive and democratic Syria. The EU strongly supports the joint US-Russia call for a peace conference on Syria in Geneva. The EU is currently the main donor with €900 million committed both in Syria and neighbouring countries in response to the crisis. Recently an additional 400 million were announced by President Barroso to address the appalling humanitarian situation.

President Barroso meets the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu

President Barroso welcomes President Obama's Climate Action Plan

"The plans set out today are positive steps that will create further momentum for international climate action", said President Barroso in a statement with Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. They welcome US President Barack Obama's renewed push to tackle global climate change.

25/06/2013

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In the statement, President Barroso stressed that climate action can be a tremendous opportunity to modernise our economies, create jobs and growth, and invest in the dynamic industries of the future.

"Finding global solutions to the climate challenge is a shared responsibility. They can only be reached on the basis of leadership from all the world's major economies. President Obama's announcement will help give the world confidence that it's possible to win this fight, if we fight it together", he said.

Explaining the EU's climate action, the President said: "The European Union is a confident climate leader. We have ambitious legislation in place. We are reducing our emissions considerably, expanding on renewables and saving energy. And we are getting ready for the next step: a climate and energy framework for 2030."

Read the statement by President Barroso and Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard

Read other recent statements on climate and energy action: Press statement by President Barroso

Read other recent statements on climate and energy action: No city is an island

President Barroso meets the new head of the Tunisian Government, Mr Larayedh

In the past, President Barroso held regular talks with Mr Larayedh's predecessor and with the Tunisian President, which reflects the privileged status of EU-Tunisia relationship.

25/06/2013

Mr Larayedh

The EU maintains its focus on efforts to support democratic transition in Tunisia, a key partner for the EU: "Tunisia was the origin of the changes taking place in the countries of the southern Mediterranean and remains at the forefront of the reforms", the President said.

During the meeting, President Barroso and Prime Minister Larayedh discussed Tunisia's democratic political process, especially constitutional and elections, as well as its challenges - in particular with regard to regional development, economic recovery and security.

President Barroso said that Europe is ready to send an Election Observation Mission, to provide technical assistance and support to civil society initiatives.

The President announced that, as in 2011 and 2012, Tunisia will remain the primary beneficiary of the SPRING programme in 2013. This programme has been designed to support the progress made by Arab partners in transition. € 40 million have been allocated in addition to approximately € 400 million committed in 2011-2013 under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument.

President Barroso confirmed his intention to achieve a Mobility Partnership with Tunisia. On other mobility issues, Erasmus Mundus and Tempus were addressed as tools to promote exchanges and mobility of researchers and students.

Finally, the President offered his views on potential trade negotiations through a Complete and Advanced Free Trade Agreement to further align the Tunisian economic operators with the wider market.

Read the full statement following the meeting (in French)

Video: Press point with President Barroso and Ali Larayedh, Head of the Tunisian Government

Watch the video

President Barroso welcomes Mr Horacio Cartes, elected President of Paraguay

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss future relations between the EU and the country beyond trade and development cooperation.

25/06/2013

President Barroso welcomes Mr Horacio Cartes

During the meeting, President Barroso reiterated the EU's support to the consolidation of Paraguay's democratic institutions and he congratulated Mr Cartes on the results of the recent general elections which were accompanied by an EU Electoral observation mission. 

President Barroso said that institutional reforms are key to the future of Paraguay and he offered EU's assistance to support the country: "Paraguay needs to translate economic growth into social development and that EU is happy to continue supporting these efforts", he said.

President Barroso and Mr Cartes also addressed the regional situation and exchanged views on UNASUR, MERCOSUR and the Pacific Alliance. President Barroso expressed his support to Paraguay's re-integration in MERCOSUR, also in view of the on-going negotiations for an EU-MERCOSUR Association Agreement.

Mr Cartes will be sworn in as President of the Republic of Paraguay in August.

President Barroso welcomes Mr Horacio Cartes, elected President of Paraguay

'No city is an island' - speech at the Covenant of Mayors ceremony

Speaking at the 4th Covenant of Mayors ceremony in Brussels, President Barroso applauded 4 700 mayors' "shared vision of smart sustainability for which cities and city governments play a leading role", and their efforts to "turn this vision into a reality, thus serving the people, protecting our planet, and creating growth and jobs." The European Commission, he stressed, is more than ever willing to support them.

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The commitment and ambition of cities across Europe for the Covenant is even more striking in the light of the economic context, the President said: "Cities struggle to meet the demands placed on them by changing economic patterns, social disparities and migration. Our cities were hit hard by the financial crisis. And at the same time the environmental challenge continues relentlessly as pollution, traffic congestion and rising costs of infrastructure put pressure on our scarce resources. So the demands on our cities are huge. But their yet unused potential is even greater, if we get our policies right."

The President highlighted numerous examples of the creativity and enthusiasm of Covenant cities' sustainable energy projects and confirmed the Commission's willingness to support them. "Like you," he told an impressive Brussels audience, "the European Commission believes such investments on the ground can really make a difference, and that they pay off in both economic and ecologic terms.' 'Green' and 'growth' are not contradictory terms. They are two sides of the same coin".

The Commission also plans to do more in the future: "We've made the commitment to spend 20% of the EU budget for the years up to 2020 on climate related activities, both within the EU and in our partner countries abroad – the so-called green mainstreaming. We can now use all instruments in the EU toolbox to achieve our energy and climate goals even more effectively".

He also applauded Arnold Schwarzenegger's past and present efforts in the fight against climate change. "We will try to turn that European ambition into a new, legally binding global climate change agreement by 2015 and when United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon convenes a climate change Summit of world leaders in the autumn of next year, we will be there to add to the momentum as best we can, hopefully together with our friends and partners like Governor Schwarzenegger and the R20 Initiative."

Read the full speech

Watch the video

"Together we will win this fight"

Arnold Schwarzenegger paid a visit to the European Commission today. The former Governor of California and founding Chair of the "R20 - Regions of Climate Action" had a meeting with President Barroso and Commissioner Oettinger before they attended the Covenant of Mayors.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Barroso

At a press point after the meeting, President Barroso recalled that Mr Schwarzenegger is one of the pioneers of climate and energy action in the United States and praise his R20 initiative – regions of climate action.

"It is good that you show the way and that together we remind everybody of our collective responsibility for the future of our fragile planet", President Barroso said to Mr Schwarzenegger.

President Barroso said that climate and energy action is at the heart of European policies and at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy. Since 2007, the European Commission has strongly pushed European climate and energy action, through binding legislation and financial support.

In the face of devastating natural catastrophes around the globe, from floods in Europe to tornadoes in the United States, the President said that "people expect us to act".

He emphasised the economic benefits of climate action and its contribution to European jobs, innovation and competitiveness: "Green and growth can go together" in full agreement with Governor Schwarzenegger.

He outlined the different strands of EU action, including the on-going reform of the European Emissions Trading Systems, the completion of an internal energy market, the path towards a 2030 energy and climate framework and the commitment to achieve a binding global agreement by 2015.

Both underlined the importance of grass-roots-level action and showed their appreciation for the Covenant of Mayors, uniting the local level around ambitious climate and energy action.

President Barroso's press statement

President Barroso's speech at the Covenant of Mayors ceremony

R20 Regions of Climate Action

Covenant of Mayors

Roundtable

Joint press briefing with Arnold Schwarzenegger

"Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis": an EU joint communication

The European Commission and the High Representative on Monday adopted a joint communication mapping out a comprehensive EU approach in response to the conflict in Syria and its consequences both in Syria and in its neighbouring countries.

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The situation in Syria has been deteriorating drastically, with more than 93,000 deaths and 1.6 million refugees as of June 2013. It is the most dramatic humanitarian situation facing the world today. As the largest humanitarian donor for the crisis, the EU has so far mobilised more than € 850 million from humanitarian and non-humanitarian budget instruments. However, the severity of the crisis and human suffering in Syria and the neighbouring countries cannot be solved with extra money alone. This is why it is crucial to rapidly find a lasting political solution, which guarantees an end to the violence and leads to an inclusive transitional government. This can only be reached through dialogue.

Today, the European Commission and the High Representative adopted a joint communication on Syria, which sets out the response of the EU. The EU response aims at supporting a political process that brings a sustainable solution to the crisis; preventing regional destabilisation from the spill-over of the conflict in neighbouring countries; addressing the dramatic humanitarian situation and assisting affected populations; and addressing the consequences of the conflict on and in the EU.

President Barroso said: "Today, we are proposing a comprehensive EU response to the deteriorating situation in Syria and neighbouring countries. The international community cannot stand by idly in the face of the most dramatic humanitarian situation of the last decades. Our first priority is to promote a political settlement aimed at ending the violence and the human rights abuses. In parallel, the EU is mobilising its financial instruments in order to alleviate human suffering. The European Commission has decided to allocate an additional € 400 million to the humanitarian, economic and development needs in Syria and in the neighbouring region, bringing the EU's overall contribution to over € 1.25 billion so far. At the same time, we also call on other donors to redouble their efforts. We all have a duty to act."

"Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis": an EU joint communication

Meeting with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Plamen Oresharski

President Barroso appealed to the Bulgarian political forces and society to come together for national consensus.

21/06/2013

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Speaking to the press after the meeting President Barroso said: " We have prepared next week's European Council. You know our agenda for the European Council, namely the issue of youth unemployment, how to address it, and also the financing to the economy, especially SMEs."
He explained that "we are now working at European level to mobilise all instruments and funds we have to support a return to sustainable growth - and I insist on the word 'sustainable', it has to be sustainable, if not it's not what our citizens need."

The political situation in Bulgaria was also discussed during the meeting. "We know that the situation from a political point of view is polarised in Bulgaria. We have a mechanism that was agreed in Bulgaria several years ago - and with all Member States -, the CVM, the cooperation verification mechanism. The Commission has the obligation to check the developments in some of these areas," said the President. 

President Barroso also urged the Prime Minister Oresharski to consult widely on key appointments, especially in the areas of the fight against corruption and organised crime. "The candidates chosen should be based on merit and should have the highest standards of integrity, " he stressed. 

On the economic situation President Barroso outlined the need to keep structural reforms to boost the growth potential of Bulgaria and the need now to implement the country specific recommendations, which in turn will help to improve the business investment climate.

In a reply to a question the President said the following:
"Apart from that, there is an overall political issue that I also mentioned to the Prime Minister – it is the polarisation in the Bulgarian society. And let me make here this comment publicly. We all know that democracy by definition is competitive, that the parties fight for power. I was Prime Minister; I was also leader of the opposition, so I know well what I am saying. But, it is important that while parties fight for power, there is a minimum of national consensus about the broad issues of the state. The most important institutions, the most important principles, they should not be put in question neither from the one side, or from the other side of the political spectrum.

So I want once again, as I have done in other situations, to make an appeal to all the political forces that are democratic political forces and to the society in Bulgaria that apart from the natural divergences, ideological or others, that there is a commitment to the good of the country, that some consensus can emerge, because I think it is in the interest of Bulgaria and certainly of the European Union that there is stability and prosperity. And this is my appeal to all the political forces that care about the future of the country."

Watch the video

President Barroso holds bilateral talks with President Aliyev of Azerbaijan

The discussions focused on energy issues, namely on the progress achieved on the Southern Gas Corridor since the Joint Declaration of 2011, and on the development of EU-Azerbaijan relations in the context of the Eastern Partnership.

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President Barroso with President Aliyev of Azerbaijan

Cooperation between the European Commission and Azerbaijan is grounded on a reliable partnership in the energy field.

Following the meeting, President Barroso stressed the great progress achieved on Southern gas Corridor which will strengthen Europe's energy security: "The Southern Gas Corridor is not a theoretical project on the drawing board. It is about to be realised, to the benefit of all involved," he said.

On human rights and fundamental freedoms, President Barroso noted that stability and prosperity can only endure in the long term with the respect of rule of law, democratic institutions and of course a dynamic civil society.

The two leaders also discussed economic issues, including Azerbaijan's development plans and progress towards WTO accession. "We are committed to deepen our trade relations, also through the establishment of a bilateral deep and comprehensive free trade area for which WTO membership is crucial," President Barroso said.

Read the full statement

Watch the video

On the way to the next Council, President Barroso meets Austrian Chancellor Faymann

President Barroso met today Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann in Vienna to discuss the preparations of the June European Council, the economic situation and the on-going reforms in Europe. They also talked about the recent floods that affected Austria.

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President Barroso and Minister-President of Saxony-Anhalt

"One meeting alone will not solve Europe's problems – but we can make several decisions that will affect people's lives and improve our prospects of confidence, of a return to better times", the President said.

The Commission is mobilising all tools to support Member States in combatting youth unemployment. "I hope that, at the next European Council, Heads of State and Government will be in a position to turn commitments into determined action. It's time to develop a European consensus on the practical ways to resolve the crisis", the President added.

President Barroso called for the implementation at national level of the Youth Guarantee and underlined the Austrian youth guarantee as an example in terms of training young people. As part of the contribution to the European Council meeting next week, the Commission has made proposals on frontloading the EUR 6 billion Youth Employment Initiative, and to focus all this amount in the first two years, from 2014 to 2016.

On financing the economy, the President stressed the need for SMEs to have access to finance. "In many of our Member States we have a real problem here. That is why, working with the European Investment Bank, we have now completed some proposals that are going to be discussed tomorrow by finance ministers (and that I hope will be endorsed in the next European Council) in terms of blending some instruments we have at European level with others resources at national level", he said.

President Barroso underlined the need of an European consensus on the practical ways to resolve the crisis and to restore sustainable growth, and he called for more confidence: "One of the difficulties we have today in Europe is the lack of confidence. (…) Investors don't feel confident to invest, consumers don't feel confident to consume, to buy, to purchase".

The recent floods in Austria were also discussed at the meeting, with the President expressing the Commission's solidarity by commending the efforts of the local and national services and standing ready to assist with the Solidarity Fund.

Read the speech

Watch the video

Annual meeting with the European Court of Auditors

The President of the Commission with the college met the European Court of Auditors on Wednesday. The meeting allowed both institutions to take stock of their relations and to exchange views on on-going issues.

19/06/2013

Vítor Caldeira and José Manuel Barroso

At this occasion the European Commission showed once again its commitment to a sound and transparent financial management of the EU budget and the implementation of a number of important initiatives during its mandate.

The annual meeting between the Commission and the European Court of Auditors is intended to be a wide and political discussion about the Commission’s accountability regarding its management and control systems and the Court’s methodologies and processes.

The European Union is about solidarity, says President Barroso after meeting the Minister-President of Saxony-Anhalt

President Barroso received Dr Reiner Haseloff, Minister-President of Saxony-Anhalt in Brussels. They discussed the recent floods in several European regions, including Saxony-Anhalt, and potential support from the European Union.

19/06/2013

President Barroso and Minister-President of Saxony-Anhalt

After hearing from Minister-President Haseloff about the extent of the damages caused in Saxony-Anhalt, President Barroso expressed, once again, his sympathy with the people affected. He also gave his appreciation of the efforts of the local and national services, including the many volunteers.

He reassured the Minister-President about the Commission's commitment to provide assistance to affected countries and regions through the existing and future EU programmes, while pointing out that the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund requires a national application, based on a d needs assessment, before it can be transmitted to the Council and the European Parliament for final approval. He strongly reminded of the fact that the European Union is also about showing solidarity, including with richer countries.

President Barroso calls for a new consensus to get the economy growing again

The European Commission has called for the next European Council to agree on practical measures to get Europe growing again, focused on youth employment and financing for SMEs. To drive forward an agreement at the European Council, scheduled for 27-28 June, the Commission has adopted three contributions on tackling youth unemployment, better regulation and the review of the compact for growth and jobs.

19/06/2013

President Barroso

These were adopted this morning, with a fourth, a joint report with the European Investment Bank on increasing lending to the economy, to be adopted shortly. This package of initiatives will help Europe to make a difference in getting people back in work, allowing companies to hire staff and invest, and enabling banks to provide lending to the real economy. These contributions demonstrate that collective action at the EU level will have a bigger impact than isolated individual measures nationally. President Barroso will now send these contributions to all members of the European Council and to the European Parliament.

"Europe is doing a lot to work its way out of the crisis. The Commission has documented this in the detailed analysis that accompanies our country specific recommendations. But still our growth performance is very unsatisfactory and we have a social emergency in parts of Europe. We can use the European Council meeting at the end of next week to bring a new consensus and renewed momentum, uniting the EU around agreement on what we will do to get our economy growing again.

Today we bring forward concrete measures to fight youth unemployment and to support, together with the EIB, the financing of the real economy, especially SMEs. The ingredients of the consensus are on the table, now we need to make it happen," President Barroso said after the college meeting, which was largely focused on the upcoming European Council.

The four contributions in more detail:

Working together for Europe's young people – a call to action on youth unemployment

Combatting youth unemployment is a top priority. While most of the means are in member states' hands, the EU level can help make a difference. The Commission has proposed a number of practical and achievable measures that have the potential for immediate impact, but some measures are yet to be agreed at EU level, in particular those linked to the MFF. The priority is to accelerate the implementation of the Youth Guarantee.

The Commission is proposing that € 6 billion of the Youth Employment Initiative should be frontloaded so that this money is committed in 2014 and 2015 rather than over the seven year period of the MFF. Member States need to bring forward their youth employment programmes in the autumn. In parallel the Commission will develop a number of EU-level tools to help Member States, such as the EU Alliance for Apprenticeships, the coalition for digital employment, EURES and the 'your first EURES job' initiative, and helping firms to recruit young people. All these measures need to be taken forward in close partnership with the social partners and relevant stakeholders.

Joint Commission-EIB report to the European Council – increasing lending to the economy

One of the biggest obstacles to recovery at the moment is the lack of normal lending to the real economy, especially SMEs, a point highlighted by the Commission in the Annual Growth Survey. In a joint report, the European Commission and the European investment bank set out how the recently agreed capital increase of the EIB will be allocated. In addition, the report sets out three options to help SMEs get access to funding and hire young people in the near future. The Commission will urge the European Council to take an ambitious approach on this issue.

The Compact for Growth and Jobs – one year on

The European Commission has adopted a progress report on Compact for Growth and Jobs. One year on, there is much that member states can still do to help themselves, for instance by unlocking the potential of the single market in areas like digital, energy and research.

The report highlights the need to complete Single Market Act I where only 7 of the 12 proposals tabled by the Commission have been agreed by the co-legislators. The Commission has presented most of the proposals for the Single Market Act II. It will table the remaining proposals in the coming weeks, including legislation to promote long-term investment funds which can be another alternative source of lending to the real economy. The Commission calls for swift adoption of these proposals before the European Parliament elections in 2014.

The report shows how the Commission has made available the full cohesion policy budget to support growth and job creating projects as part of the €120 billion investment package outlined in the Compact.

Commission follow-up to the 'Top Ten' consultation of SMEs on EU regulation

Having a business friendly environment is also an important part of the mix. Regulating at EU level rather than 27 different ways at national level has proven to be an effective way of creating new opportunities.

The Commission has adopted a communication to address the top ten most burdensome pieces of EU legislation, as identified by SMEs. The communication details the action taken or to be taken to address each of them. For each of the pieces of legislation identified by SMEs, the Commission has already reviewed the concerns expressed, taken action where this can be done by the Commission or made proposals to the co-legislators to ease the burden on SMEs. For example, in December 2011, the Commission proposed a revision of the public procurement regime which will have direct impact of the access of SMEs to public procurement. In February 2013, the Commission proposed to replace the general product safety directive by a regulation on consumer product safety which includes a simpler set of common requirements for companies.

This is part of the Commission's on-going work to review and ensure that the entire "acquis communautaire" is fit for purpose (the 'REFIT' programme).

The European Council will also endorse the Commission's country specific recommendations to guide member states budgetary and economic policies over the course of the next year. It will also set out the next steps to reinforce the architecture of the Economic and Monetary Union.

Press release: Commission calls for a new consensus to get the economy growing again

Working together for Europe’s young people pdf - 782 KB [782 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) (other languages)

Increasing lending to the economy: implementing the EIB capital increase and joint Commission-EIB initiatives pdf - 605 KB [605 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) português (pt) (other languages)

The Compact for Growth and Jobs: one year on pdf - 898 KB [898 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) (other languages)

Commission follow-up to the ‘Top Ten’ consultation of SMEs on EU regulation pdf - 563 KB [563 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) (other languages)

Letter by President Barroso sent to the Heads of State and Government, the President of the European Parliament and the President of the European Council ahead of the European Council on 27-28 June 2013 pdf - 201 KB [201 KB] français (fr)

Presidents Barroso and Obama announce launch of TTIP negotiations

"Today is a special day for relations between the European Union and the United States.

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Presidents Barroso and Obama

We are ready to start the negotiations of a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP)," said President Barroso in his statement at the joint EU – US press conference at the margins of the G8 summit.

Together with the European Council President Van Rompuy, President of the United States Obama and UK Prime minister Cameron, European Commission President Barroso stressed the importance of the TTIP. "Our joint endeavour is about bringing growth and jobs to both sides of the Atlantic by boosting trade and investment," said the President, adding that the TTIP is "also a powerful demonstration of our determination to shape a free, open and rules-based world."

President Barroso explained that "we intend to move forward fast. The current economic climate requires us to join forces and to do more with less. More importantly, in doing so, we will remain strong global players who set the standards and regulations for the 21st century."

He called on regulators, legislators and civil society to play a constructive and engaged part in this negotiation and concluded: "This is also good for the rest of the world. Given the integrated supply chains in today's global markets, everyone can benefit from this agreement."

Read the full statement

Watch the opening statement by UK Prime Minister Cameron

Watch the opening statement by European Commission President Barroso

Watch the opening statement by US President Obama

Watch the opening statement by European Council President Van Rompuy

The EU at the G8/G20 summits

Web news on the G8 summit in Lough Erne, UK

Joint statement after the G8 Summit

After the G8 summit, European Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy issued a joint statement on the G8 summit outcome saying: "Overall, we are pleased that our ambitions for this summit have been broadly achieved."

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The EU actively contributed to the discussion of all items on the agenda.

On the global economy
The two Presidents highlighted in particular the good discussions of the global economy with the other G8 leaders.

"All leaders agreed that our urgent priority is to promote growth and jobs, particularly for the young and long-term unemployed. While recognising that the economic situation had improved since the last G8 summit in Camp David, we all agreed on the need to continue supporting the global recovery by supporting demand, ensuring healthy public finances and implementing structural reforms."

On foreign policy - Syria
"The G8 discussion of foreign policy focused in-depth on the appalling crisis in Syria with tens of thousands of dead and millions of displaced and refugees. We stressed the need to press for a political solution via convening a Geneva II conference as soon as possible and simultaneously address the gravely escalating humanitarian crisis that also threatens regional stability as a matter of urgency."

On trade - TTIP
"Together with US President Barack Obama, we launched the historic negotiations for an unprecedented Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the United States. A successful conclusion of the negotiations would provide significant economic benefits."

On tax evasion and tax fraud
"All G8 leaders seized and reinforced the momentum in the global fight against tax evasion and tax fraud. The G8 sends a powerful signal that we are ready to take action to make sure that companies and individuals pay the taxes due, including via promoting automatic exchange of information - which is already the EU norm for savings income and by 2015 should apply to all forms of income and account balances - as a global standard and introducing country-by-country reporting by multinational companies to tax authorities."

On transparency
"We also supported the G8's strong call for increased transparency, on land governance, open data and in extractive industries, where the EU has a strong agenda, both in the laws we have put in place and through our support for partner countries."

President Barroso and President Van Rompuy concluded: "We said at the beginning that we were here to promote a fairer world, fairness at home in the G8 countries and fairness for people right around the globe. So we are happy that the G8 has sent a strong signal that the days of impunity for tax evaders are numbered and that we will all work tirelessly to shed more light on how and where our citizens and companies pay their taxes."

17 June 2013

"The EU is coming to this G8 to promote a fairer world. Fairness at home in G8 countries and fairness for people around the globe," said European Commission President Barroso in his press statement ahead of the G8 summit.

At the joint press conference, where he together with European Council President Van Rompuy presented the goals the EU will push for at this summit, he expressed his confidence that "the G8 will provide political impetus for global change towards more global fairness, including for the poorest countries."

"Firstly, the European union wants fairness by further opening trade between free and open economies," said President Barroso. He reiterated that the EU agreed on Friday eve a broad mandate to start negotiations with the United States on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The President said that this summit is also about fairness in the way taxes are paid by individuals and companies, and "Thirdly, we want fairness through greater transparency on land governance, open data and in extractive industries."

President Barroso also announced that "still today, together with President Obama we will give the go-ahead for the start of negotiations between the United States and the European Union. The European Commission will negotiate on behalf of all our 28 Member States. Our Partnership will be a true game changer for the global economy."

"The European Union has very good story to tell, often pioneering the global agenda in all of the G8 priorities," underlined the President and outlined the examples of the EU has done so far. He said:
- our bilateral trade agreements are a stepping stone towards further liberalising global trade and strengthening the multilateral trading system;
- the EU has agreed far-reaching binding legislation for transparency in extractive industries and forestry;
- the EU passed legislation to further open up public data because it believes that open data means business opportunities and job creation;
- the EU is world’s largest donor for development assistance, with a specific emphasis on food security;
- the EU is driving force behind the new political momentum in the fight against tax evasion and avoidance;
- in Europe and at global level, we want everybody to pay his fair share of taxes in a transparent way;
- the EU has proposed a maximum extension of the scope for the automatic exchange of information among the EU tax authorities;
- the EU is convinced that there is a need to improve tax governance everywhere.

In conclusion President Barroso congratulated the UK G8 presidency for the choice of the venue: Northern Ireland. The summit places on the global stage the efforts of the people and leaders of Northern Ireland – where the peace and financial efforts have been supported by the EU since 1995. "This is a clear signal to the world that peace and reconciliation have returned to this most beautiful and hospitable part of Europe."

Video: President Barroso ahead of the G8 Summit

Read the President's statement ahead of the G8 summit published on the 17th of June

Video: President Barroso speaking at the EU - US trade meeting

Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy: joint concluding statement

President Barroso meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

President Barroso met today Pope Francis at a private audience, an opportunity to discuss common interests, in particular the initiatives to overcome the economic crisis in Europe. The President also met Pope Francis at an appointment in March.

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During the meeting, President Barroso expressed the EU's strong commitment to overcome the current crisis, to fight poverty and to promote solidarity. The social investment package and the latest initiatives to combat youth unemployment were also on the agenda.

The EU's engagement in both conflict resolution and in humanitarian support was also discussed. In particular, President Barroso presented the EU's involvement in Syria, where the EU leads the efforts of the international community, contributing more than € 840 million. Recently, the Commission announced a € 400 million additional package of humanitarian and non-humanitarian assistance to Syria and neighbouring countries.

The European Commission promotes a regular dialogue with representatives of religions and non-religious about the future of Europe, citizenship and social policy.

Watch the video

EU receives FAO's award for work in food security

President Barroso today received on behalf of the European Union the Jacques Diouf award from the UN’s Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO) in recognition of the pioneering work of the EU's Food Facility.

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farmers in a field

The award recognises the pioneering work of the €1 billion EU's Food Facility, which has so far improved the lives of more than 59 million people in 50 countries.

"The EU has long been the world’s largest donor on food security and nutrition, and it’s very rewarding to see our work being recognised in this way. It has given us the incentive to now make sure that we do even more to help those who need it most by using the prize to top up funding for our work in food resilience and nutrition going forward’, the President said.

The EU’s ground-breaking Food Facility was set up to respond to the food crises which hit the Horn of Africa and the Sahel in 2008. It has since then provided substantial and swift support to the worst affected people.

The Food facility has boosted sustainable agricultural production from small-scale farmers, reduced post-harvest losses and facilitated access to markets, improving the lives of more than 59 million people in 50 countries. Beneficiaries saw a 50% increase in agricultural production and a rise in the household annual income of on average €290.

Watch the video

President Barroso visits Rome and meets President Napolitano and Prime Minister Letta

Friday, President Barroso travels to Rome to meet the President of Italy, Mr Giorgio Napolitano, and Prime Minister Mr Enrico Letta.

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Pres Barroso and PM Letta

The meeting with President Napolitano takes place Friday afternoon. On Saturday, President Barroso meets the Italian Prime Minister Letta. It is their second meeting since Mr Letta's appointment.  Following the talks, they will give a press conference. The speaking points of President Barroso will be available afterwards.

These bilateral talks focus on two critical points of national and European agendas: tackling the current economic crisis and fighting unemployment, in particular youth unemployment.

Watch the video

Mandate to negotiate the EU – US agreement on trade and investment obtained today

I am delighted we have a mandate to negotiate an agreement on trade and investment with the United States. These negotiations can be a game changer.

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It shows that where there is a will there is a way.

We are already each other's biggest trade and investment partners. Strengthening this relationship will bring more jobs, more growth to Europe and the United States. The potential economic gains for the EU are estimated at around €120 billion a year. And the real beauty of this deal is that it will offer real returns of around €545 per average household in Europe almost for free. This makes it the cheapest stimulus package one can imagine.

Both sides come to these negotiations with their own priorities and interests. But I am convinced that, if both sides show the political will, we can reach an agreement that fully respects our sensitivities.

Beyond the economic benefits, this is also about our place in the world. An agreement will forge a shared future based on our common values and our common commitment to open trade.

The European Commission will take these negotiations forward. We will work quickly while ensuring that the substance is right.

G8 summit: promoting global fairness through trade, taxation and transparency

Ahead of the 2013 G8 summit in Northern Ireland (UK), President Barroso sets out the EU’s views on the main topics on the agenda.

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The G8 summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland on June 17-18 has three "Ts" as priorities: trade and the economy, taxation and transparency.

The President presents his views on these main issues in the summit magazine published by the G8 Research Group of the University of Toronto.

Regarding trade, President Barroso underlines the fact that the EU's bilateral trade agreements are a "stepping stone" towards wider multilateral global trade. He notes that the EU has always been a staunch supporter and promoter of free and multilateral trade. For example, the EU is fully engaged with its partners to conclude a WTO trade facilitation agreement, which would have a huge positive impact for developing and least developed countries.

"The G8 summit should make the case for such an agreement and then, together with the G20, provide the political impulse needed to close the deal at the WTO ministerial meeting in Bali in December. This G8 should also back and outline actions to further trade in Africa, for example by lowering trade costs, stimulating infrastructure financing and coordinating support better", President Barroso says in the article.

On the second T, taxation, President Barroso strongly welcomes the G8's willingness to join forces and cooperate more effectively to fight tax evasion and avoidance, in Europe and worldwide.

Within the EU, common action is being taken on exchange of information, on tax havens and on aggressive tax planning. President Barroso describes the G8 summit as a great opportunity to inject further momentum at the global level.

"The EU would strongly support a joint effort towards a new multilateral standard in the context of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. We believe that our EU savings tax directive can be an important point of reference here", says the President.

As for the third T, transparency, President Barroso highlights the update of the EU transparency and accounting directives which make the EU a global pioneer in legislating on transparency in extractive industries – such as mining – and forestry. He also urges more countries to join in the global effort to subscribe to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

He notes that transparency should also be further enhanced on land tenure by pushing for the implementation of the ground-breaking Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in May 2012.

Read the full article

Read the full summit magazine of the Toronto University G8 Research Group

Read President Barroso's statement after meeting OECD Secretary General Gurría on 13 June 2013

Watch President Barroso's statement after meeting OECD Secretary General Gurría on 13 June 2013

More on the EU at the G8

President Barroso meets President Cavaco Silva and announces agreement on EIB's funding for Portuguese SMEs

President Barroso on Thursday met the President of Portugal Cavaco Silva in Brussels. The meeting provided for a discussion on economic topics.

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President of Portugal Cavaco Silva

The Presidents discussed the economic situation in Portugal and in Europe, and the progress achieved by the on-going Economic Adjustment Programme. The President of Portugal thanked President Barroso for his efforts in supporting Portugal in its endeavours to overcome the current economic crisis.

Following the meeting, President Barroso announced an agreement between the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the Portuguese authorities to facilitate EIB's funding for the country's small and medium enterprises.

Regarding the Portuguese economy, President Barroso said that much has been achieved to address the country's problems. He said that conditions are being put in place for a sustainable recovery. The President also said he is fully conscious of how hard the situation still remains for many Portuguese citizens and he highlighted their efforts. He said he is confident that Portugal is on the right track.

President Barroso praised the actions of the Portuguese authorities and the political and social consensus in the country. Furthermore, he reaffirmed his commitment to support the Portuguese government through the difficult period of economic reform and adjustment, with a view to ensure that Portugal emerges from the programme with its public finances in order, its economy more competitive and better placed to grow and create jobs.

The Presidents also addressed the employment situation in Portugal, in particular the situation of the young and long-term unemployed. President Barroso explained how the EU is planning to tackle youth unemployment, a top priority on his agenda.

Read the speech (in Portuguese)

Watch the video

President Barroso calls for a European consensus to restore confidence

President calls for a European consensus, based on fiscal consolidation, structural reform and help for the unemployed to boost economic confidence and to help Europe exit the crisis.

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Today in the European Parliament President Barroso called for a European consensus to help restore confidence, break the vicious circle of lack of confidence and boost economic activity.

"This is the time to develop what I could call a European consensus: if we do not pull together, we will be pulled apart. We need a consensus built on practical steps to resolve the crisis. A consensus not just on the need for growth and jobs, but on the means to achieve this. A consensus for an economically more competitive Europe and a socially more inclusive Europe", the President said in his speech.

The forthcoming European Council is the occasion to focus on Employment creation and measures that will restore lending to the SMEs.

On employment the Commission has taken many measures including reprogramming €16 billion of structural funds. Further steps are needed from the member states: "more work is needed and more work is already underway because unemployment affects not hundreds of thousands but millions across Europe", he added.

SMEs in particular face a lack of access to credit. "Excessively tight access to credit remains a key obstacle to the revival of economic activity – especially in our most vulnerable Member States", the President said. Pursuing a banking union should help the return to normal lending conditions.

Confidence is also important. Savers are not prepared to invest and there is a lack of consumption. A European consensus, based on fiscal consolidation, structural reform and help for the unemployed would help boost confidence, spurring investment and lead to growth and jobs.

Read the speech

Watch the video

Le Président Barroso rassure les cinéastes européens sur la protection de la culture dans les négociations avec les Etats-Unis

Le Président Barroso a reçu, aujourd'hui, une délégation de cinéastes européens à Strasbourg. Cette rencontre a notamment permis un échange sur les opportunités des futures négociations commerciales avec les Etats-Unis et de clarifier certains malentendus sur les enjeux culturels de cette négociation.

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A l'issue de la rencontre, le Président Barroso a déclaré:

"La Commission est du côté de la culture. Personne n'est plus attaché que moi à la diversité culturelle européenne ainsi qu'à la spécificité des biens culturels qui doit être préservée et nourrie.

La diversité culturelle - pilier fondateur de notre Union européenne - sera pleinement protégée dans les futures négociations avec les Etats-Unis. Nous avons donné des garanties additionnelles pour rassurer quiconque pourrait en douter.

Un mandat de négociation ambitieux est dans l'intérêt général européen pour générer le maximum de croissance et d'emploi. Ceci est parfaitement possible en respectant nos obligations vis-à-vis du secteur culturel, fermement ancrées dans le Traité et dans la Convention de l'UNESCO que l'Union Européenne a ratifiés.

Laissez- moi le réaffirmer haut et fort: l'exception culturelle n'est pas négociable. Il n'y aura pas de marchandage sur la culture! "

Il a ajouté:

"L'exclusion totale de l'audiovisuel du mandat de négociation n'est pas nécessaire pour atteindre nos objectifs, notamment sur "l'exception culturelle". Par contre, exclure tout un secteur, c'est limiter notre ambition pour l'ensemble de la négociation. Cela risque de mettre en cause l'intérêt européen dans un secteur où l'UE a aussi des intérêts offensifs.

Nos échanges aujourd'hui ont permis de constater qu'il y a en réalité peu de choses qui nous séparent - puisque nous sommes tous unis dans l'objectif de protéger notre culture! J'espère que les gouvernements européens se mettront d'accord sur les bonnes modalités pour y parvenir. Cela permettrait de donner rapidement le coup d'envoi aux négociations contribuant au nouveau dynamisme dont nos économies ont tant besoin."

Le Président Barroso a souligné le soutien concret de la Commission à ce secteur, notamment à travers le programme Europe Créative 2014-2020 qui continuera son action pour renforcer la compétitivité du secteur audiovisuel. Le futur programme MEDIA sera renforcé pour tenir compte des opportunités de l'internationalisation du secteur et favoriser les échanges entre les professionnels européens du secteur et avec le monde entier. Il a enfin souligné l'importance de la protection de la propriété intellectuelle et la lutte contre le piratage, domaines dans lesquels la coopération avec les Etats-Unis est essentielle.

Voir la vidéo

Laying out Commission's strategy on industry for growth

Speaking at the Industrial Policy Conference in Brussels, President Barroso outlined the role of industry in the Commission's strategy for growth and jobs. "Uncertainty and the lack of confidence are the main obstacles for EU industry at this moment," he said, "but investors from within and outside Europe still believe in our industry's growth potential, and rightly so."

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President Barroso underlined the main issues the Commission is working on that support EU industry in dealing with the challenges it currently faces.

As stressed in the Country Specific Recommendations presented by the Commission last week, he repeated that "the first issue we need to focus on is restoring normal lending to the economy, because negative expectations lead to falling investment. Despite massive backing provided by governments and a supportive monetary stance of the ECB, lending conditions remain tight and access to finance is limited. This is especially the case in countries most hit by the banking and sovereign debt crisis, and even beyond."

Energy policy, the subject of the last European Council debate, plays a key role, especially for the steel sector. "In the steel sector, it is estimated that the energy bill represents up to 40% of total operational costs, so the energy issue should be an important feature in the Steel Action Plan to be adopted by the Commission next week."

President Barroso stressed the Commission's active policy to complete the internal market and open markets internationally, and their importance for industry: "To make our industrial companies and entrepreneurs more competitive and more robust, we need to provide them with greater market access and better market conditions. Both in the internal market and in international evolutions, I see a lot of potential still to unleash."

Watch the video

More information on the conference

Cooperation at all levels needed to overcome the crisis

Today the European Commission President Barroso and Committee of the Regions President Valcárcel met to discuss the main economic, social and political challenges the European Union.

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The on-going efforts for growth and jobs and the path towards a deeper integrated economic and monetary union was at the heart of the discussion.

President Barroso said: "While we are pulling all the stops to move Europe out of the crisis, our most important task is to give hope to people. We need to continue directing all efforts towards creating sustainable growth and jobs in Europe, implementing the measures we have decided to take. And we need to show that the action is making a difference for our unemployed young people and our cash-strapped small and medium sized enterprises."

The bilateral meeting between the two Presidents was followed by a working lunch hosted by President Barroso with seven major Local and Regional Associations.

President Barroso stressed that cooperation at all levels is needed to overcome the crisis, adding that "the role of regions and cities is key to achieve our common goals."

Both meetings take place in the framework of the "structural dialogue" between the European Commission, the Committee of Regions and European Associations of Local and Regional Authorities.

Joint Press release by President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso and Committee of the Regions President, Ramón Luis Valcárcel

Watch the video

President Barroso discusses trade, tax and transparency with Prime Minister David Cameron

President Barroso met this afternoon in London with Prime Minister David Cameron. They had positive, constructive talks on the three priorities (trade, tax and transparency) of the UK Presidency of the forthcoming G8 in Northern Ireland.

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They also looked ahead to the forthcoming European Council that will focus on economic reform, growth and tackling youth unemployment.  President Barroso raised the issue of the mandate for trade talks with the United States and underlined the importance of reaching an ambitious mandate.

President Barroso calls for European consensus on growth and employment

President Barroso today welcomed the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy together with the Ministers of his government in Brussels.

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Mariano Rajoy Brey, on the left, and José Manuel Barroso

The meeting allowed for in depth discussions on the challenges Europe is facing, and how Spain and the Commission can work together for Europe to overcome the economic crisis.

President Barroso recognised the important steps taken by the Spanish government to achieve a sustainable economic recovery and reduce the unacceptable level of unemployment.

"Our common goal is stability, growth and jobs. I would like to recall that many of the measures that need to be taken are already on the table. They must now be adopted as soon as possible and implemented without delay. The Commission is working with determination, in advance of the next European Council, to help make this happen", the President said.

To tackle big challenges like unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, President Barroso stressed that, in addition to structural reforms, short-term actions are also needed.

"The Commission has led the way to have a Youth Guarantee adopted at European level, to ensure that all young people under 25 receive an offer of employment, further education or training within four months of finishing formal education or becoming unemployed - a system that has worked well in some European countries", the President said.

He called for an urgent conclusion of the negotiations of the future EU budget so that initiatives like the Youth Employment Initiative can be implemented.

President Barroso concluded by calling for stronger joint efforts to create the conditions for employment.

"We need a European consensus … this is vital for growth and employment. This is the message I will take to the next European Council, and I know I can also count on the support of Spain in this", he said.

Speech by President Barroso following the meeting (in Spanish)

Youth Employment Page

President Barroso welcomes new Australia–Europe Leadership Dialogue

President Barroso on Wednesday addressed a delegation of 30 high-ranking representatives of Australia's business community.  This business mission abroad was led by Australia's Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

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Quentin Bryce, José Manuel Barroso, and Duncan Lewis, Head of the Mission of Australia to the EU

The meeting was held during a period when EU- Australia relations are moving to a much higher degree of cooperation and political alliance.

The EU and Australia are currently negotiating a modern and ambitious Framework Agreement. Despite the geographical distance, the EU remains Australia's second-largest trading partner after China, and it is its most significant trading partner in services. It is also the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) and the largest destination for Australian FDI overseas.

"This is our objective with Australia", President Barroso said. "We need to build on our political like mindedness and on our solid economic relationship." Noting that cooperation cannot be exclusive to the executives or to the officials, President Barroso said it "needs to include civil society and businesses which are the motor of our relations. This is why I would like to commend this initiative to establish an EU-Australia Leadership Dialogue."

Remarks by President Barroso to members of the European Union Leadership Dialogue with Australia

European Australian Business Council

President Barroso's first official visit to Kazakhstan

President Barroso visited Kazakhstan from 1st – 3rd June, at the invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Their bilateral meeting focused on bilateral, regional and international issues.

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Jose Manuel Barroso with Serik Akhmetov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

While giving a speech at the Gumiliov Euroasian National University in Astana on Sunday, President Barroso stressed that Kazakhstan has become an increasingly important partner for the EU, not only because of trade and economic exchanges, but more importantly as a stable country with a proven track-record of harmony and tolerance.

"We wish to deepen and enrich this relationship. The negotiation of a new and enhanced Partnership and Co-operation Agreement, which we have initiated together, is the recognition of the importance of Kazakhstan to the European Union and of our strong strategic relations", the President said following his meeting with President Nazarbayev.

President Barroso said that the aim is to broaden the cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, and to support Kazakhstan’s reform and modernisation efforts.  He stressed that human rights and the respect for the rule of law are integral parts of a modern society.

Regarding bilateral trade between the EU and Kazakhstan, President Barroso pointed out that the EU has progressively become Kazakhstan's leading trade partner, with about 40% of the country's total external trade. He said: "I am most pleased to be able to confirm here today that our trade negotiators have found agreement on the substantive elements of the bilateral EU-Kazakh terms of Kazakhstan's WTO accession, and we look forward to signing the deal soon".

Recognising that many important developments in Kazakhstan have been driven by the country's energy sector, President Barroso also commended the 2050 Strategy, anchored in a green economy concept, which the Kazakh authorities have just embraced.

"Being one of the world’s largest oil producers and adopting a growth strategy for the future based on clean energy and resource efficiency is not only commendable, it is visionary", he said.

Joint Communiqué by the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev

Watch the video

EU-Russia summit moves forward negotiations on New Agreement

The EU-Russia summit in Yekaterinburg covers economic and trade relations, regional and international security challenges as well as energy and mobility.

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Today and tomorrow Yekaterinburg hosts the EU-Russia Summit. The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, represents the European Commission together with the President of the Council, Mr Van Rompuy.

"Russia is our largest neighbour and a strategic partner with whom we have been building a solid and mutually beneficial relationship. It is in our common interest to develop further our bilateral relationship and the legal framework that underpins it. The best basis for a closer and reliable partnership is an ambitious and comprehensive New Agreement", said President Barroso prior to the Summit.

The agenda of the meeting covers the overall global economic situation with a particular attention given to the upcoming G20 meeting and the Russian G20 presidency. Moreover, leaders will attend to the current state of affairs in relation to the negotiations of a New Agreement to replace the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. They will cover trade, the EU-Russia Energy Roadmap 2050 , mobility and global security challenges – including Syria. A drug precursor's agreement will be signed at the Summit.

President Barroso said he also expects the summit, which takes place on June 3-4, to reconfirm the great importance that both sides attach to the Partnership for Modernisation.

He stressed that "thriving civil societies are the best lever for political and economic modernisation. Trade and energy will also be discussed. We are interested in a predictable and rules-based relationship based on our common WTO commitments. Closer relations between our people, namely through increased mobility, will be also part of our agenda".

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission and Energy Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger will also take part.

Russia will be represented by President Vladimir Putin, accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and several other Russian ministers.

Factsheet on 31st EU-Russia summit

More on EU-Russia relations

Watch the video