President Barroso will participate in the G7 Summit
On 4-5 June, the EU will – for the first time – host the G7 Summit.
On the agenda will be the situation in Ukraine and the relations with Russia as well as other foreign policy topics, the global economy, trade, energy security, climate change and development.
Read more on the G7 Summit on the President's G8/G20 page.
Informal European Council and bilateral meetings with President Barroso
President Barroso will this evening attend the Informal European Council.
The meeting of the Heads of states and government will discuss the results of the European Parliament's elections and the latest developments in Ukraine following the Presidential elections.
President Barroso called Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk yesterday, to congratulate them on the orderly and successful conduct of the elections that took place in challenging circumstances.
In the context of the Informal European Council, President Barroso met Latvian Prime Minister Ms Straujuma earlier today to discuss the energy situation in Eastern Europe. This afternoon, President Barroso will meet the Bulgarian Prime Minister Mr Oresharski to discuss the same issues.
President Barroso at the informal European Council
President Barroso made a statement at the informal European Council this Tuesday.
Statement on the outcome of the 2014 European Parliament elections
President Barroso has made the following statement on the outcome of the 2014 European Parliament elections:
"Citizens across the European Union have exercised their democratic right and made their voice count in the European Parliament elections. I thank all those who have voted.
The outcomes differ significantly between Member States. These differences reflect our Union's mix of a pan-European political debate with specific national agendas. As a consequence, all political leaders at national and European level must reflect on their responsibilities following this election.
When assessing the results, the fact that this election follows the biggest financial, economic and ultimately social crisis in decades must be kept in mind. It is extremely important that the political forces that led and supported the essential steps in the Union's joint crisis response, notably the political forces represented in the European Commission, have overall won once again. They are indeed those with the biggest representation in the new European Parliament. Results show that a very solid and workable majority in the European Parliament is possible. These political forces do not agree on each and every policy detail, but they share a fundamental consensus for Europe that should now be reinforced.
Conditions are there for a solid support for a European Union that remains united and open whilst seeking to be stronger. Standing together as Europeans is indispensable for Europe to shape a global order where we can defend our values and interests. This is the moment to come together and to define the Union's way forward. The concerns of those who voted in protest or did not vote are best addressed through decisive political action for growth and jobs, and through a truly democratic debate.
I am confident that the overwhelming majority of the Members of the European Parliament elected today will meet this challenge and seize this unique opportunity to deliver tangible benefits for the European citizens. It is now of the essence to have a clear understanding on political priorities for the next political cycle, so that a proper institutional transition according to the treaty rules demonstrates the Union's capacity to act. I expect the results of this election to be respected in the decisions taken by all the European institutions, namely the European Council and the European Parliament".
Joint statement on the Presidential elections in Ukraine
Today, President Barroso and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy issued a joint statement on the Presidential elections in Ukraine.
This statement reads as follows:
"The EU welcomes the holding yesterday of Presidential elections in Ukraine. We look forward to working closely together with the next President in view of ensuring the political and economic stability of Ukraine.
We take good note of the OSCE/ODIHR's preliminary assessment that the presidential election in Ukraine was characterised by high turnout and a clear resolve by the authorities to hold what was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and that respected fundamental freedoms, despite the hostile security environment in two eastern regions of the country. All Ukrainians should take these polls as an opportunity for a fresh start for the country, and commence by accepting the outcome of the vote once the final results are known.
The successful holding of these elections constitutes a major step towards the objective of de-escalating tensions and restoring security for all Ukrainians. We count on the continued commitment of all parties to the Geneva Joint Statement to the electoral process and to its outcome, and welcome statements by the Russian Federation indicating that it will respect the will of the Ukrainian people and engage in a dialogue with the new Ukrainian President. We look forward to further concrete steps on this constructive path, including the use of leverage on armed groups to de-escalate the situation on the ground.
Ukraine and its people now need peace and stability in order to engage in the implementation of much needed and far-reaching reforms. The round tables of national unity have underlined the preparedness of Ukrainians from different political backgrounds and regions to take up this challenge. The EU stands ready to assist Ukraine in this endeavour, and it counts on other international partners to do the same."
Letter from President Barroso to President Putin
Today President Barroso wrote, on behalf of the EU and its 28 Member States, to President Putin in reply to President Putin's letter of 14 May to several Member States of the European Union.
President Barroso reiterated the EU's readiness to continue substantive trilateral discussions in order to ensure the stabilisation of gas supplies into Ukraine and gas deliveries via Ukraine into the EU, and to help find a rapid and sustainable solution acceptable to all parties.
"It is the European Union's clear expectation that all sides will remain reliable and responsible supply and transit partners, which is also very much in their own interest. The European Union and other international donors have already provided significant support to Ukraine and will remain committed. I also expect a constructive approach from the Russian Federation to solve the issues at hand", wrote President Barroso.
The full letter is available online.
Meeting between the European Commission and the Government of Georgia
Today, the European Commission met the Government of Georgia, led by Prime Minister Garibashvili, in Brussels.
At the end of the meeting, President Barroso and Prime Minister Garibashvili attended a press point, where President Barroso said:
"My message after the very useful, constructive, friendly and open discussion with Prime Minister Garibashvili and his ministers is very clear: The European Commission stands by Georgia. We stand by a democratic, prosperous, united and stable Georgia. And the EU is firmly committed to political association and economic integration with Georgia."
President Barroso also referred to the signature of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, foreseen on 27 June, when he said:
"The Association Agreement is an investment in the future which will bring real benefits to all parts of the Georgian society. It will transform the economy, open up markets, create a better business environment and provide the economic means to build a prosperous future for all Georgian citizens."
During the meeting, President Barroso expressed the EU's continued support to Prime Minister Garibashvili, referring to the already existing assistance of over €450 million during the period 2007-2013, but also mentioning "the €30 million package of support announced by the European Commission earlier this month – a package to help modernise public institutions linked to the implementation of the Association Agreement" and finally announcing:
"Another expression of EU's support is the Financing Agreement the Prime Minister and I just signed. Worth €19 million, it will aim at achieving better governance of Georgia's main institutions, improved business and investment climate and economic development."
Finally, President Barroso said:
"In our discussions today, the European Commission has reaffirmed its support for Georgia's territorial integrity and the EU's continued commitment to stabilisation and conflict resolution efforts in Georgia.
We have also addressed the general situation in the region, with particular reference to Ukraine and the key presidential elections on 25 May. Free and fair presidential elections in Ukraine on 25 May are of great importance for the stabilisation of Ukraine, and also for the stability in the region, and we expect that everyone will respect those elections."
European Commission withdraws 53 legislative proposals
A list of 53 legislative proposals which the Commission decided to withdraw in the context of its 2014 work programme was published today in the Official Journal. The withdrawals take effect today.
They include proposals identified in the context of the Commission's efforts to make EU law lighter, simpler and cheaper under its Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme. Examples are: the proposals for a simplification of VAT tax obligations and for a Framework Directive on Soil which did not receive sufficient support in the Council, a proposal for a Community Patent converted into enhanced cooperation and a proposal for a Statute on a European Private Company which was replaced.
The Commission considers it a practice of good legislative management to withdraw proposals that do not advance in the legislative process in order to allow for a fresh start or for alternative ways to achieve the intended legislative purpose. This practice will be continued in the context of the Commission's REFIT programme.
The withdrawals are published in the Official Journal 153 of 21 May 2014.
President Barroso participated in High-level conference on Energy Security
Today, 21st of May, President Barroso participated in the High-level conference on Paving the way for a European Energy Security Strategy in the European Commission's Charlemagne building.
President Barroso was a keynote speaker along with Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk and Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger at the closing session of the conference at 15:15 CET which was entitled "Security of Supply for Europe – The way ahead".
President Barroso said:
“The Ukraine crisis once again shows that for Europe energy independence is crucial. We have to explore all the possibilities which make this goal reachable. The situation also confirms that it is in our own interest to choose a path towards a low carbon, competitive and energy secure European Union. And, first of all, that it is vital for us that we stay together and united.”
Following the conference, the European Commission will present a Strategy on Energy Security ahead of the European Council of 26 and 27 of June.
President Barroso announces increase of support to improve the health of millions in developing countries
Today, President Barroso announced that the EU will provide €25 million per year in the period 2014-2020 to fund vaccines and immunisation programmes worldwide.
The new support - more than double that committed in previous years - will go to the GAVI Alliance, a non-profit organisation focused on saving children's lives and protecting people's health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries, of which President Barroso said:
"[The] European Commission has supported GAVI from its inception and is proud to be associated with GAVI's success in helping countries maintain and increase immunisation coverage."
President Barroso announced the new funds at the opening of the 'Investing together for a healthy future’ event taking place today in Brussels, when he said:
"Until access to basic health services is possible for all people, whatever progress we have made is not enough. Health is key to a functioning and fair world."
Other participants include Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, President of Ethiopia, Mulatu Teshome, and other key donors and representatives from Member States and Developing countries. Thanks to donors like the EU, close to half a billion children have been immunised since 2000, resulting in 6 million lives saved.
During his speech, President Barroso also took the opportunity to remind the audience of other EU efforts in the health sector, like Horizon 2020:
"Nearly 1 billion people worldwide are affected by neglected infectious diseases, some with a fatality rate of 100%, with very few drugs available. That is why vaccine research and innovation is at the heart of Horizon 2020 - our new, and bigger, seven-year research and innovation budget for the EU – that is also giving a very important priority to health issues, to research and innovation in the field of health."
President Barroso welcomes C.Y. Leung, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Today, President Barroso met with C.Y. Leung, Hong Kong's Chief Executive to discuss the Special Administrative Region's economic relationship with the European Union.
This visit follows on President Barroso's visit to Hong Kong in November 2013, and marks a further step to strengthen cooperation in the seven key areas, as set in 2006: trade and customs, finance, people to people links (including academia), transport, environment, health, food safety.
Message of condolences from President Barroso on the passing away of Jean-Luc Dehaene
President Barroso has issued the statement below on the passing away of Jean-Luc Dehaene, former Prime Minister of Belgium:
"I was deeply saddened to hear the news this afternoon of the death of Jean-Luc Dehaene, former Prime Minister of Belgium and a great European.
Jean-Luc Dehaene will rightly be remembered as a man of unification, both for Belgium in his remarkable time as Prime Minister for seven years, and in his outstanding contribution to a stronger and united Europe. His role as a mediator shone through in all of his work.
Jean-Luc was a passionate European, as a Prime Minister, as member of the Convention on the Future of Europe, and as a member of the European Parliament.
The whole European family has lost a man of inspiration, leadership and commitment. On behalf of the European Commission, and on my own behalf, I would like to offer my condolences to his family and to the Belgian people".
President Barroso welcomes Prime Minister of Moldova Iurie Leancă
During this meeting, President Barroso and Prime Minister Leancă confirmed their intention to sign the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova on 27 June.
The Association Agreement will help the Republic of Moldova to transform the economy and open up markets, creating a better business environment and providing the economic means to build a prosperous future for all Moldovan citizens.
At a press conference with Prime Minister Leancă President Barroso said: "We are not waiting for the signature of the Agreement to assist and support Moldova in its reform process. Only this year we have made available €131 million in technical assistance."
After their meeting, President Barroso and Prime Minister Leancă also signed the Financing Agreement to support the implementation of the Vocational Education Training Strategy in the Republic of Moldova, worth €35 million.
Further discussed were the Republic of Moldova's considerable progress in its reform agenda, and further essential reforms in particular to fight corruption, enforce and modernise the justice system and improve the business and investment climate.
"I have congratulated the Prime Minister on a very important success – namely, the achievement of visa liberalisation. In very practical terms this means that Moldovans are the first among over 175 million citizens in the Eastern Partnership countries to travel to the EU without having to request a visa. This has considerable potential in terms of family, study and business contacts", said the President.
Message of Condolences from President Barroso to Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Following the explosion at a coal mine in Turkey, President Barroso addressed condolences to the people and the government of Turkey.
President Barroso said:
"I was deeply shocked to learn of the scale of the deaths and injuries caused by the terrible explosion at a coal mine in Western Turkey. Our thoughts this morning are with the families of the victims of this tragic accident, and with those still waiting to hear of the fate on their missing loved ones.
On behalf of the European Commission, and on my own behalf, I would like to convey my sincere condolences and solidarity with the people and Government of Turkey."
Meeting between the European Commission and the Ukrainian Government
President Barroso and members of the European Commission met today with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and members of the Government of Ukraine in Brussels.
Taking place after the signing on 21 March 2014 of the political chapters of the Association Agreement, today's unprecedented meeting marks the beginning of a new chapter in EU-Ukraine relations. It is proof of the EU's and Ukraine's joint commitment to bring forward work in a reinforced manner towards Ukraine's political association and economic integration with the EU.
At a press conference held after the meeting, President Barroso said:
"Ukraine can count on the European Union, now and in the future."
"It is […] critically important that we stop the spiral of political and security escalation which we have seen over recent weeks. We need to build on the diplomatic efforts agreed in the Geneva statement and continued by the OSCE."
"The Ukrainian system of government, the election of the next President of Ukraine and agreements with third countries are decisions for the Ukrainian people to freely decide, without external interference."
"Our joint meeting today was […] part of our continued support to this stable, sovereign, democratic and peaceful Ukraine. We are acting like never before to deliver short, medium and long term support measures worth €11 billion."
"The new “State Building Contract” programme I just signed with the Prime Minister, worth €355 million, plus €10 million to support civil society, will help the government of Ukraine to address short-term economic stabilisation needs and implement governance reforms in order to promote inclusive socio-economic development."
President Barroso delivers "Humboldt"-speech on present and future of the European Union in Berlin
Today, President Barroso delivered a speech at Humboldt University in Berlin entitled “Considerations on the present and the future of the European Union”.
This is his contribution to the debate on the future of Europe, as set out by President Barroso in the State of the Union address in 2013 and based on his experience and key lessons drawn from heading the European Commission over almost 10 years.
"I feel that it is my duty, before leaving the office of Commission President, to share my experience and my thinking on how we can build on what we have achieved so far, and go forward in the future.
"[The] combined sovereign debt crisis, [..] economic crisis and [..] social crisis [..] was a momentous stress test for the solidity of the European Union and for the single currency, the euro, in particular. And it required exceptional measures to address it, […]"
"The economic and financial crisis showed […] that the improvement of the governance of the Euro Area was indispensable for the long term sustainability of a single currency. Further institutional steps of a more political nature may become indispensable."
"On top of all that, we are now faced with new challenges as a result of recent developments in Ukraine and Russia - probably the biggest challenge to security and peace in Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall."
"The lessons learnt throughout the last decade will give the debate on the future of the European Union a sharp perspective, which is why I wish to stimulate it."
"In ten years at the head of the European Commission, I have tried to add to the foundations of a pragmatic, coherent and resilient European Union. While the European Union response may not always have stood up to its initial ambition, I believe that the Commission has played and will continue to play an essential role. We have worked to preserve Europe's unity, to keep it open and to make it stronger. Stronger because the economies of the Member States are becoming more competitive to face global competition. And stronger because at the European level, our economic and financial governance has been spectacularly reinforced. There is a lot to build on from here. A unique project. A necessary project. A project that we should be proud of."
On the need for further EU integration and joint action:
"It is only through cooperation and adaptation that we will safeguard our social market economy."
"[This] phase [of European integration] is mainly […] about the power and influence required to safeguard Europe's peace and prosperity under the conditions of globalisation."
"The global attractiveness of Europe's economic model was temporarily undercut. And with that, our values and our authority as a global player were put in doubt. Now we need to fight back and regain our role and influence."
"The challenges ahead of us in this […] phase of European integration must be examined from the point of view of first, the politics needed; second, the policies needed, and third, the polity needed to achieve the first two. In that order."
On legitimacy, democracy and governance:
"Europe needs legitimation by results, and these can only come from a continued emphasis on innovation and reform: reform of our economic structures, of public administrations, of labour markets, of the internal market, of energy and climate policies, and so on."
"There is a governance gap, since Member States on their own no longer have what it takes to deliver what citizens need while the European institutions still lack part of the equipment to do so. There is a legitimacy gap, because citizens perceive that decisions are taken at a level too distant from them. And there is an expectations gap, because people expect more than the political system can actually deliver. [...] There is a clear need to define the communality we want, on which depends our role in the world."
"We cannot – and should not – force public opinion's hand. But we can try and forge the consensus we need."
"[We need] reform, not revolution. Evolution, not counter-revolution."
"We have been building the much closer union that, before, was only an aspiration. As a result, mere bureaucratic, technocratic and diplomatic deliberation will no longer do. [...] We need a new debate, a new dialogue to take this further – a real sense of ownership of the European project both at the national and transnational level."
"Before we discuss the technical details of yet another treaty, we must answer the question: what kind of communality do we acknowledge as necessary, indispensable, unavoidable between the capitals and Brussels? What do we recognize as things we must decide to do together, no matter what?"
"Now is the time to have a political and societal debate on what communality we want in the EU; on how far and how deep we want integration to go; on who wants to participate in what; and for what purpose."
"[A] stark dilemma [..] is at the heart of the discussion on the future of Europe: when the people do not like a national decision, they usually vote against the decision-maker. If they do not like a European decision, they tend to turn against Europe itself."
On euroscepticism and ownership of the European project:
"There is a lack of ownership in European politics, which institutional adjustments by themselves cannot remedy."
"All countries would like to see Europe as a big screen projection of their own aspirations, and are ready to say that 'Europe' has a problem when the others don't follow their initiatives."
"Confronted with the growing voices of euroscepticism and even europhobia, some mainstream political forces have internalized populist arguments rather than countering them. From the centre-left to the centre-right, political forces and actors must leave their comfort zone. […] They have to make the case for a positive agenda for Europe."
"We need leadership, action and ownership for and of the European Union's project, understood as part of the political and societal fabric of its Member States. […] We need to develop a new relationship of cooperation […] between the Union, its institutions and the Member States."
"To move from a competitive to a cooperative approach between the Union's institutions and between the European institutions and the Member States, we need a reinforced role of the political parties at the Union's level […] This is why the electoral dynamics triggered by the nomination of 'Spitzenkandidaten' of the political parties for the office of Commission president can be a step in the right direction."
On coherence of the Union:
"Any further development of the Union should be based on the existing treaties and on the Community method, since moving outside this framework would lead to fragmentation, overlapping of structures and ultimately to incoherence and underperformance."
"The European level has only gained in relevance." [..] A multiple-speed reinforced cooperation in Europe may become a necessity. But a Europe of multiple classes has been - and must always be - avoided at all costs. "
"The Union should always aim at evolving as much as possible as a whole, with 28."
"According to the treaties, the single currency is meant for all Member States, except for those who have a permanent opt-out."
"Playing whatever Kerneuropa against whatever periphery will weaken both."
"We can, and should, find ways to cater to the UK's specificity, inasmuch as this does not threaten the Union's overall coherence. But we should not confound this specificity – even if it is shared at some moments by several governments – with an overall situation of the Union."
On the need to perfect the Political Union – longer term institutional developments:
"Regarding the need to perfect our political union and enhance the democratic legitimacy that should underpin what I call Europe 3.0, it should be based on the Community method as the system of checks, balances and equity between the institutions and the Member States that offers the best starting point for further supranational democracy."
"[…] Supranational democracy must not be constructed as a multi-level combination of vetoes, but rather as a system of accountability at the level where executive decisions are taken."
"Inasmuch as executive decisions are taken by European executives, notably the Commission, it is the European legislature, hence the European Parliament and – in its legislative functions – the Council that need to ensure democratic legitimacy and accountability. Conversely, it falls to national parliaments to ensure the legitimacy and accountability of decisions taken at the level of the Member States, including the action of the Member States in the Council."
"The relations between national parliaments and the European Parliament should also be a privileged part of the [cooperative relationship] that I have been advocating."
"The future development should go in the direction of constituting a reformed Commission as the Union's executive, including the Union's treasury function. It would be responsible to a bicameral legislature composed of the European Parliament and the Council as the two chambers."
"In the medium term, the office of the Vice-President of the Commission responsible for economic and monetary affairs and the euro could be merged with the office of the President of the Eurogroup. A more radical innovation, such as merging the office of the President of the European Commission with the office of the President of the European Council, would undoubtedly be a question for the longer term."
"10 years in office, the road ahead": President Barroso in Florence (8-9 May)
Building on his Humboldt-speech in Berlin, President Barroso continued to share his experiences of two mandates as President of the European Commission, setting out his views on the future of the European Union.
In Florence, on the morning of Europe Day (9 May) in the context of the State of the Union conference of the European University Institute (EUI), he notably participated in a public conversation about "10 years in office, the road ahead".
He also visited the historical archives of the EU.
EU-Japan Summit 2014
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, met with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe during the 22nd EU-Japan summit which took place today in Brussels.
Following the summit, President Barroso called Japan "a pillar of Europe's Asia policy and a key partner and friend in the world scene" and said:
"This Summit was a testimony that Japan and the European Union are committed to expand and strengthen their partnership and to face evolving global challenges together, building on our shared values and principles."
He reminded of the economic ties:
"And as major economic players – together we account for close to 27% of global GDP – we also have a shared responsibility to contribute to global growth and job creation."
The ongoing twin negotiations for a Strategic Partnership Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement, launched in April 2013, were at the centre of the Summit's agenda, and President Barroso said:
"And last year we have embarked in the negotiation of a Strategic Partnership Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement that will seal our strategic partnership and put our common principles into practice.
The Strategic Partnership Agreement will enable us to stand together in many issues of common interest in the global agenda, from security to climate change or energy. And I believe that when Europe and Japan stand together the chances of making things happen is much higher.
And the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement between two major players in the world economy is likely to be one of the most important trade negotiations in the years to come. These will be a transformational agreement for both our economies anchoring many of the reforms that are already underway.
The economic gains in terms of growth and jobs are considerable.
We want these negotiations to succeed."
Also discussed were shared concerns on cyber security and cooperation on science, technology and innovation, as well as climate change.
Finally, the situation in Ukraine was discussed, including energy security. On this, President Barroso said:
"A few days ago, I attended the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding enabling gas flows from Slovakia to Ukraine. This was an important first step to diversify Ukraine’s sources of gas supply and it can contribute to greater energy security in Eastern Europe and the EU as a whole. It shows the EU's strong commitment in support of Ukraine's energy sector.
And last week, at my proposal, European Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger held a first trilateral exchange of views with his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts dedicated to security of gas supply and transit from Russia via Ukraine. They discussed how to best ensure continued gas supplies and transit including concerns about the outstanding debt of Ukraine and the gas price for supplies to Ukraine. They also discussed methods to increase transparency and reliability of gas flows and gas storage as well as ways to ensure the modernisation of the Ukrainian gas market and the gas transmission system."
European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger were also present.
President Barroso on Portugal
President Barroso comments on Portugal's exit of the economic and financial adjustment programme, foreseen for the 17th of May.
The comments of the President came today, following his participation in a regular meeting of the Eurozone leaders (including President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the ECB Mario Draghi and President of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem). The meeting was also attended by Vice President of the Commission Siim Kallas, acting Vice President for Monetary and Financial Affairs and the Euro.
President Barroso said:
"On the 17th of May, Portugal will exit the economic and financial adjustment programme put in place in 2011 with the support of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Portugal has announced it will do this without asking its international partners for a precautionary credit line. This is possible thanks to Portugal's rigorous implementation of the programme over the last three years, which has yielded impressive results.
Most of the serious economic imbalances that led to the crisis have been, or are being, corrected. The foundations for sustainable growth have been laid. And investor confidence has returned. It is also reassuring to hear the Portuguese Prime minister say that the country will remain on a path of sound public finances, financial stability and competitiveness.
It has not been a painless process - far from it - but it was unavoidable. I would like to praise the Portuguese people for the significant efforts and sacrifices they have made to build a better future. Their determination deserves our full respect.
With a clean exit from the programme, Portugal will now walk with his own feet. This is not only a success for Portugal but a success for Europe. Since Portugal joined the European Union in 1986, the European Commission has always been a loyal, dedicated and constructive partner to Portugal. The European Commission has remained at Portugal's side during the implementation of the adjustment programme. Moreover, Europe has provided two-thirds of the total financial assistance granted to Portugal in 2011. The European Commission will remain at Portugal's side following its exit from the programme.
The successful exit from the programme shows the immense capacities of Portugal and its people to work together to emerge stronger from the crisis. This should give Portugal the confidence it needs to be able to respond to the challenges that lie ahead, and to build a more prosperous and fair society."