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President Barroso to visit OHIM

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, will visit the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) on April 10.

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The visit will be focused on the work of OHIM and its staff. OHIM is the largest EU agency, and has been based in Alicante since 1994.

President Barroso will meet staff members from across OHIM’s departments and services during his trip to Alicante, including those who work in its multi-lingual trade mark and design registration operations.  He will also be briefed on OHIM’s research work and studies, as well as its projects inside and outside the EU.

President Barroso will end his visit by unveiling a commemorative plaque at the construction site of OHIM´s new wing to mark the Office’s 20th anniversary.

In the afternoon, he will meet Mr Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain, in Madrid.

Support Group for Ukraine

The European Commission has decided today to create a Support Group for Ukraine.

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This Support Group will provide a focal point, structure, overview and guidance for the Commission's work to support Ukraine. It will also help mobilise Member States' expertise and further enhance coordination with other donors and the International Financing Institutions.

"The European Commission is determined to help Ukraine for the long term.", said President Barroso. "The Commission has already proposed an overall support package worth of at least €11 billion over the next couple of years and some of these measures are already being rolled out. The political chapters of the Association Agreement have been signed, sealing the free and democratic choice of Ukraine to be closely associated with the European Union. Today's decision to create a Support Group will ensure that the Ukrainian authorities have all the support they need in undertaking the political and economic reforms that are necessary to stabilise the country. Our common goal is to have a democratic, independent and prosperous Ukraine."

Support Group for Ukraine

European Union's support to Ukraine-update

European Commission's support to Ukraine (5 March 2014)

President Barroso urges EU countries to implement youth guarantees

President Barroso has called on EU Member States to quickly guarantee young people a job, training or further study to help combat "alarming" levels of youth unemployment in Europe.

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President Barroso has called on EU Member States to quickly guarantee young people a job, training or further study to help combat "alarming" levels of youth unemployment in Europe.

Despite improvements in growth, youth employment remains at 22.9% in the EU, almost twice as high as the overall unemployment rate.

"The reality is that youth unemployment has reached alarming levels, representing a waste of human resources and talent that Europe cannot afford," President Barroso said during a conference in Brussels on 8 April.

"The establishment of a Youth Guarantee scheme in all Member States is a major structural reform and also a key investment for the future," President Barroso said.

Member States agreed in February 2013 to guarantee under-25s a quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of them leaving school or becoming unemployed.

President Barroso told the conference, 'Youth Guarantee - Making it Happen', that current schemes to address youth employment "are almost universally weak in reaching out effectively to young people" that are not in work, school or training. "With the Youth Guarantee, we aim to change this," he said.

He added that while most of the work to implement youth guarantees had to be done at national level, the EU was supporting member states through specific initiatives and funding, including:

He said that "money needs to start flowing" and urged Member States to step up their efforts to implement the Youth Employment Initiative as soon as possible.

"It is now high time we delivered on the ground and achieved concrete results," he said. "Europe as a political project […] can only prosper if we give our young people opportunities. This is indeed one of the most existential issues that we are facing, not to have a lost generation in Europe. Those young people will only embrace Europe if Europe embraces them."

Read president Barroso's speech in full

Watch President Barroso's speech from the conference, 'Youth Guarantee - Making it Happen'

Press release on the 'Youth Guarantee - Making it Happen' conference

President Barroso meets with Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Today Commission President José Manuel Barroso received Tom Donohue, the President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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In this meeting, which took place just two weeks after the EU-US Summit, they discussed several pressing issues, such as the 9th WTO Ministerial in Bali, the current situation in Ukraine and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

President Barroso reaffirmed the EU's commitment to progressing with TTIP and finding an agreement, while stressing that content is more important than a speedy conclusion of negotiations. According to the President, it is mandatory that solutions in the regulatory cluster be found within the confines of both the European and American systems and in respect of environmental, social and consumer norms.

European Union External Action Service: EU relations with the United States

European Commission: EU trade relations with the United States

President Barroso received representatives of the Group of Eminent Persons of the Atlantic Basin Initiative

President Barroso has met ten representatives of the Group of Eminent Persons of the Atlantic Basin Initiative, who presented him with the “Atlantic Declaration ”.

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This Declaration and a call for action "Generating Growth, Human Development and Security in the Atlantic Hemisphere" were adopted last month. Five areas were identified to strengthen the Atlantic framework: energy; economic growth and human development; the common heritage of the Atlantic Ocean; Human Security and to cultivate cultures of lawfulness and effective democratic governance.

President Barroso said: “The Atlantic region is an area made up essentially of democracies, countries that have embraced human rights and a market economy; however it does not have yet a geopolitical identity, or any structures enabling deeper cooperation between all the Atlantic countries in Europe, the American continent or Africa. The Atlantic has become a real microcosm of globalisation, and our ability to resolve problems together will shape the very nature of the globalisation phenomenon.”

Read the Press Release

Interview with Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger: "The crisis is a wake-up call"

In this interview (also published in Berliner Zeitung) President Barroso answered questions about the EU's relations with Russia and Ukraine, Germany's role as well as on democratic legitimacy and the upcoming elections at the European Parliament.

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On the crisis in Ukraine and on relations with Russia:

"This is certainly the biggest challenge for the security of Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain. […] Today, at least some EU Member States view themselves directly threatened by Russia and its flagrant violation of international law. This feeling should not be underestimated. Because feelings can quickly turn into realities."

"We must support Ukraine as much as possible on its way towards democracy and stability. That's the most important thing. And we must make it clear to Mr Putin that his approach is unacceptable."

"We have offered the country a closer relation through the association agreement. We have just signed the political association, have advanced the commercial aspects unilaterally and offered macro-economic and other financial and technical assistance amounting to a total of about EUR 11 billion. This can be a driving force for the future development of Ukraine, its stability and its prosperity."

On the EU's external and security policy:

"I decidedly support a strengthening of the common foreign and security policy. The crisis has been a wake-up call in this regard."

On Germany's role

"Germany and the Chancellor have been playing a very constructive role. Germany has helped to shape the determined response of the EU and keeps diplomatic channels open for a political solution (….) It is decisive that we speak with one voice. And that's what we are doing."

On the upcoming elections of the European Parliament:

"Eurosceptic and anti-European forces benefit from the fear of the people, which is also a result of the economic and financial crisis. We need to take this very seriously, because the seed of radicals grows best in an atmosphere of fear: it usually is a mixture of xenophobia, nationalism, chauvinism. The anti-European resentment sees Europe as the epitome of everything foreign. Nevertheless, I am convinced that a clear majority of citizens will vote for pro-European parties. I appeal to these parties, clearly and explicitly: Come out of the comfort zone! Europe cannot be technocratic or bureaucratic, it must be democratic. Fight for a united, strong and open Europe!"

On democratic legitimacy

"The strongest legitimacy for the future Commission president would be if both the European Council and the European Parliament support the candidate."

Read the full interview online

also in Berliner Zeitung

President Barroso calls for more progress on Roma integration

President Barroso has called on EU Member States to make further progress on Roma integration by supporting efforts at local level.

04/04/2014

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President Barroso has called on EU Member States to make further progress on Roma integration by supporting efforts at local level.

At the third EU summit on Roma integration, which took place in Brussels on 4 April, President Barroso said that the EU's Roma integration policy had led to some "positive developments", there was still a lot to do to alleviate the poverty and social exclusion of Roma people in many countries.

"It is unacceptable – and I think that unacceptable is the right word – that many Roma people are still living in utmost poverty and suffer social exclusion in a number of our cities and towns," President Barroso said.

He said the local level was where "policies meet reality" and that local authorities and civil society groups needed help to translate commitments made at national level into action.

"My main message today is this: we need to continue further on the path we have initiated, and this means being determined to push forward Roma integration at the local level," he said.

"Because there is still a lot of work ahead in order to achieve Roma integration on the ground. The process is now in motion. We need to ensure that it goes on and delivers results, in order to reach the Roma people directly," he added.

The summit, which focused on 'going local on Roma inclusion' also featured contributions by Vice-President Viviane Reding, responsible for justice, and Commissioner László Andor, in charge of employment and social affairs. The President of Romania, Traian Băsescu, and Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Zinaida Zlatanova, also attended, along with ministers from nine member states.

The EU's efforts on Roma integration are based on three pillars:

President Barroso said he was confident that the EU's strategy would be carried forward by the next Commission and Parliament.

Factsheet on the EU's Roma integration policies

Watch President Barroso's speech at the EU Roma summit

Read the press release from the Roma summit

Factsheet on the EU's Roma integration policies

"Peace will always be the main reason for Europe", said President Barroso in Germany

On Friday, 4th of April, President Barroso travelled to Germany where he gave a lecture at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf on the EU's choices and challenges.

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In the subsequent debate he underlined the importance of the EU as a unique project of peace, prosperity and freedom underlining that "peace will always be the main reason for Europe". In the light of mounting euro-skepticism he stressed that what will bring back confidence, support and legitimacy to the European project is concrete results which improve people's lives. He referred to a "deficit in self-confidence" in Europe's problem-solving capacity and appealed to almost 1.000 participating scientists, students and citizens by saying "Let's show that we can solve the problems. Let's not give up." In the evening, President Barroso was guest of the Lew Kopelew Forum in Cologne, named after the Kiev-born Russian intellectual, moderated by Fritz Pleitgen, the former EBU-president, in which he shared his insights on the relations with Ukraine and Russia and explained the EU's position.

Read President Barroso's speech at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf

Watch President Barroso's speech at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf

Remarks by President Barroso at the press point with Professor Piper, President of the Heinrich Heine University

Watch President Barroso's speech at the press point in Düsseldorf

Watch President Barroso at the Lew Kopolew Forum in Cologne

EU-Africa Summit: President Barroso holds opening speech

At today's opening of the EU-Africa Summit, President Barroso called the "presence and the richness of the agenda […] a real illustration of the vibrant partnership that exists between our two continents."

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Herman Van Rompuy, José Manuel Barroso and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN

President Barroso furthermore said:

"History shows that people and countries prosper when they open up to the world, when they expand their trade, when they exchange ideas. Our partnership with Africa, like with any other partner, is constructed as a bridge and not as a barrier to more global cooperation. […] Our partnership with Africa is a partnership based on mutual respect – and I underline the word 'respect' – a partnership of equals. A partnership that is now more relevant than ever."

Switching into French, President Barroso made the following announcement:

"Sur les dix dernières années, nous avons mobilisé 1.2 milliard d’euros pour la Facilité de Paix pour l'Afrique. Et je suis heureux de pouvoir annoncer aujourd'hui que près de 800 millions d'euros seront mobilisables pour les trois prochaines années. Car si nous soutenons le principe de solutions africaines pour les problèmes africains, nous restons solidaires quand il s'agit de faire face à ses problèmes."

The 4th EU-Africa summit is taking place from 2-3 April in Brussels with leaders of 54 African countries and 28 EU countries.

Read the full speech

President Barroso déjeune avec les Chefs d’ État du "Groupe des 5 du Sahel"

Le Président Barroso et le Président Aziz de Mauritanie ont invité les Chefs d'Etat du "Groupe des 5 du Sahel" (G5) à un déjeuner aujourd’hui à l'issue du Sommet UE-Afrique. 

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Le G5 est un groupe régional réunissant la Mauritanie (Présidence), le Mali, le Niger, le Burkina Faso et le Tchad. Ce déjeuner a eu pour but de favoriser ce processus de coordination régionale, en tenant l'accent sur les questions de sécurité et de développement.

Press release

EU-Africa Summit: Closing remarks by President Barroso

The 4th EU-Africa summit (2-3 April), which took place under the heading "Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace", has come to an end earlier today.

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President Barroso

It had brought together the heads of States and government of 40 African countries and 21 EU countries in Brussels, as well as President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the African Union Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Chairperson of the African Commission Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

At the closing press conference, President Barroso said that he was "delighted with the results of this EU-Africa Summit which brought together in one place here in Brussels 54 African and 28 European states, as well as the African and European Union institutions."

Switching to French, President Barroso continued by saying:

"Entre 2007 et 2013 l'Union européenne et ses Etats membres ont versé quelque 140 milliards d'euros, 20 milliards chaque année, au titre de l'Aide publique au développement (APD) au continent africain qui bénéficie en moyenne de 40% de l'aide collective de l'Union Européenne. Donc le continent Africaine est de loin la priorité pour notre assistance publique au développement et on va continuer à montrer cet engagement spéciale pour l'Afrique, en considérant bien sûr toutes les raisons qu'il y a de proximité avec l'Afrique", and he anounced that he had had "le plaisir d'informer nos partenaires africains que nous maintiendrons ce même niveau d'ambition et de générosité pour la période 2014-2020. La Commission Européenne, à elle seule, c’est-à-dire du budget Européen, engagera 28 milliards d’euros en dons pour les pays africains. Mais ça, c'est seulement la partie de l'aide."

He also reminded the audience of the additional 800 million EUR which will be mobilised over the next three years for the African Peace Facility, in addition to the 1.2 billion EUR already dispatched in the last 10 years.

Stressing that there needed to be African solutions for African problems, President Barroso reaffirmed support and solidarity of the European Union. He said in this context:

"C'est pourquoi d'ailleurs l'Union Européenne a proposé – je suis fière que les États membres ont accepté – 1 milliard d'euros seule pour un instrument panafricain d'appui à l'intégration panafricain. Nous pensons que cette appropriation par nos amis africains de ses questions est essentielle. L'intégration économique entre nos deux continents sera aussi très importante pour l'avenir. Entre 2007 et 2012 le total de nos échanges commerciaux a augmenté de presque 45 % et les pays de l'Union européenne ont compté pour presque 44% des investissements directs étrangers en Afrique entre 2005 et 2010."

And finally, President Barroso mentioned the 350 million EUR which the European Commission will be mobilising to support exchanges with and grants for African students in the framework of Erasmus+.

Read the speech

President Barroso attends Africa Urban Agenda conference

On 3 April, President Barroso participated in the "Roundtable: Visionary Urban Africa: For an African Urban Agenda ", organised by BOZAR and UN-Habitat, with the support of the Commission, in Brussels.

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This event was organised in the context of the 4th EU-Africa summit (2-3 April), to discuss urbanisation and cultural spaces and their importance for people, prosperity and peace.

President Barroso said:

"Africa is currently showing a real acceleration of urbanisation, a motor of development, growth and jobs in our globalised world; sometimes accompanied by the negative aspects of urbanisation, as a consequence of conflict and war."

The roundtable produced recommendations to better inform policymakers in the EU and Africa on urbanization and cultural spaces in African cities, to which the President referred when he said:

"So, following your recommendations – that, of course, I will bring now to my services in the Commission- I believe that cities are key to creating a public and political space and promote cultural diversity which reaches across disciplines and borders. Culture, art, music, architecture will remain key tools to complement "traditional" economic development if we are – in Africa and Europe – to seek a better, richer, more inclusive, open and sustainable future together."

About 40 leading specialists and thinkers from international organizations, pan-African organizations, academia, the private and public sectors, and civil society participated in the roundtable.

Read the speech

EU-Africa Summit: President Barroso meets UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

This morning President Barroso met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, guest of honour of the 4th EU-Africa Summit (2-3 April) taking place in Brussels with leaders of 54 African countries and 28 EU countries.

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President Barroso and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

During a working breakfast, they discussed the partnership between the EU and the UN, as well as with Africa, and particularly peace and security issues. President Barroso called the meeting "very productive" and added that he was "really impressed by the great degree of convergence between the United Nations and the European Union in the most important matters of the international agenda."

At the press point following the breakfast, President Barroso referred to the EU-Africa summit when he said: "[…] there is great potential for cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations in the field of peace and security. We share the same vision, to empower our African partners to deal with the problems facing their countries and our actions are complementary from Mali to Central African Republic, from Guinea-Bissau to Sudan." He then reminded the audience – still in the context of the EU-Africa summit - of the 1.2 billion euros mobilised by the European Commission for the African Peace Facility, and added: "I am glad that today I'll be able to inform that over the next three years an additional 800 million euros will be put at the service of this African Peace Facility."

More concretely, President Barroso mentioned the situation in the Central African Republic, announcing the mini-summit that is to take place later today on this subject and mentioned the development package of 100 million euros which is under preparation, notably in the areas of education, health and food security/nutrition and a support for the organization of the elections.

They also touched upon the Post-2015 Agenda, as well as international climate action, in which context President Barroso welcomed that "the Secretary General will convene a leaders' summit on climate policy in September in New York, which will no doubt inject important momentum into the talks on a global, binding climate treaty to be concluded 2015." He added: "We really believe it is important that we commit globally. Recently I had the opportunity to discuss these matters here in Brussels with President Obama and President Xi of China. I believe it is critically important that these countries, as the two most important global emitters, can also show leadership. We very much appreciate the efforts they are doing, mainly domestically, but we believe it's also important that internationally they show leadership so that they can have a success for the global community and for the future of our planet."

Both President Barroso and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will in the two coming days attend the EU-Africa summit in Brussels.

President Barroso will deliver the opening remarks of the summit later today, and UNSG Ban Ki-moon will address Heads of State at the opening ceremony and as keynote speaker in the session on Peace and Security.

Watch the press point

Read full speech by President Barroso

President Barroso meets African leaders in the wake of EU-Africa Summit

President Barroso meets today several African Heads of State and government, including the leaders of three Portuguese-speaking countries. The meetings take place ahead of the 4th EU-Africa Summit, starting tomorrow in Brussels with leaders of 54 African countries and 28 EU countries. 

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In the run up to the EU-Africa Summit, President Barroso welcomes today several African leaders.

He met the President of Cape Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, the Prime-minister of São Tomé and Príncipe, Gabriel Costa, and the Vice-President of Angola, Manuel Domingos Vicente (three leaders from Portuguese-speaking African countries) for a working lunch.

President Barroso also has bilateral meetings this afternoon with the President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza, the President of Zambia, Michael Chilufya Sata, the President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama and the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. The 4th EU-Africa Summit will deepen the strong ties between the European Union and Africa and will mark a significant step forward for the relations between the two continents. The economy - including investment, growth and jobs – together with peace and security will be the key issues to be discussed in the summit.

President Barroso welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping

Today Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy received President Xi Jinping. Following the meeting, a joint statement was issued.

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As part of this statement, all sides stated that they " welcomed the significant strengthening of bilateral ties over the last 40 years, which have benefitted both sides and the world as a whole, and underlined their determination to strengthen the global dimension of their cooperation."

President Xi Jinping's first official visit to the European Union was also the first visit ever by a Chinese President to EU institutions.

President Van Rompuy and President Barroso met President Xi at the European Council and the European Commission respectively, and these meetings were followed by a joint working lunch. President Xi then continued his official visit with a meeting with President Schulz at the European Parliament.

On Tuesday 1 April, President Xi is also set to deliver a speech on EU-China relations at the College of Europe in Bruges.

Joint Statement: Deepening the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for mutual benefit

Fact sheet on EU-China relations

Watch the video

President Barroso receives report of expert group on joint debt issuance

President Barroso has today received a report from the Commission's expert group on a debt redemption fund and eurobills.

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EU coins

President Barroso has today received a report from the Commission's expert group on a debt redemption fund and eurobills.

The group was set up in July 2013 following a commitment made to the European Parliament. Its mandate was to deepen the analysis on the possible merits, risks, requirements and obstacles of the partial substitution of national debt issuance through joint issuance in the form of a redemption fund and eurobills.

The report was submitted to President Barroso on 31 March by the chair of the expert group, Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell. President Barroso thanked her for the "excellent" report, which he said was a "welcome contribution" to the debate on further integration launched by the Commission in November 2012 with its Blueprint for a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union.

"More than a year ago, the Commission launched a reflection on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, where we said that more responsibility should be matched with more solidarity," President Barroso said.

"The Commission will carefully study the report and decide how to follow it up in due course. But before we do, we need to have a democratic debate on these ideas with citizens, governments and the European Parliament. The upcoming European elections are a prime opportunity to discuss what kind of Union we really want," he added.

Press release on the expert group's report

Read the report of the expert group on a debt redemption fund and eurobills

Find out more about the expert group on a debt redemption fund and eurobills

President Barroso attended EU-Africa Business Forum

The 5th EU-Africa Business Forum was opened this morning in Brussels with opening remarks by President Barroso and African Union Commission’s Chairperson Dlamini-Zuma.

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President Barroso opened the event, which is one of the official accompanying events of the EU-Africa Summit (2-3 April), by saying:

"There is a great sense of optimism in and around Africa these days. And rightly so. Africa has over the last decade become one the fastest growing regions in the world, with 8 out of 10 fastest growing economies being African in 2012 and with a €1.6 trillion economy growing at about 6%."

More than 500 high-level representatives from European and African business, politics and public institutions will be in Brussels for two days (31 March-1 April) to discuss common challenges including the stake of young people in today's economies, the role of banks for inclusive growth and financing issues for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and specific issues such as raw materials, risk capital, sustainable energy or space cooperation.

EC Vice-President, Antonio Tajani, and Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, also participate in it as well to promote sustainable and inclusive growth in both Africa and the EU. Prior to the forum, Commissioner Piebalgs also announced two new EU programmes to support the private sector in West Africa and Madagascar.

Speech by President Barroso: "Emerging Africa"

EU-Africa Business Forum: Working together towards sustainable growth and employment

EU-Africa Business Forum: The EU’s Work on the Private Sector in Africa

Watch the video

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Rubik's Cube

President Barroso congratulated Professor Ernő Rubik today on the 40th anniversary of his legendary Rubik's cube with an ice cake in the form of the cube. 

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Professor Ernő Rubik, inventor of the famous cube, met President Barroso today over lunch to discuss the importance of science outreach and education in order to attract young people to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

President Barroso said:

"Today we are celebrating the 40th birthday of a timeless toy that has become an iconic symbol of European ingenuity worldwide. The Rubik's Cube is the ultimate metaphor for bewildering complexity and triumphant intelligence, creativity and innovation. At a time when we need to mobilise all our capacities in innovation, research and development and promote more than ever our skills in science and engineering, the Rubik's Cube is an encouragement and a reminder to all Europeans that we have the talents and skills boost the European economy and build sustainable growth and jobs. Let's make use of them!"

The lunch was attended by Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor and Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission Professor Anne Glover, as well as other participants from the science, business and policy communities.

Read the press release

Rubik's cube and EU Politics: The Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation in Europe (05/07/13)

President Barroso to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping

Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy will receive President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China on Monday, 31st March.

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Herman van Rompuy, Xi Jinping and José Manuel Barroso

President Xi Jinping's first official visit to the European Union is also the first visit ever by a Chinese President to EU institutions.

President Van Rompuy and President Barroso will meet President Xi at the European Council and the European Commission respectively, and these meetings will be followed by a joint working lunch. President Xi will also visit President Schulz at the European Parliament.

On Tuesday 1 April, President Xi is also set to deliver a speech on EU-China relations at the College of Europe in Bruges.

Fact sheet on EU-China relations

President Barroso participates in last Pan-European Citizens' Dialogue

On Thursday, the last pan-European Citizens' Dialogue took place in Brussels during which President Barroso led a Citizens' Dialogue devoted to the "Future of Europe".

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President Barroso said:

"While people around the world are looking to Europe as inspiration, […] in Europe there is pessimism. There are many citizens that do not trust our project. […] I think there is an issue here about engagement with the citizens, to have a real pan-European dialogue to avoid prejudices, to avoid stereotypes, to avoid what some extremists are saying, that 'Europe is the cause of the problem and not part of the solution'. […] That's why I very much welcome the opportunity to discuss these matters with you."

After 50 dialogues held in each EU Member State, the European Commission invited over 150 citizens to Brussels for a pan-European debate in Brussels. While President Barroso led a Citizens' Dialogue in the afternoon, ten other Commissioners and Members of the European Parliament debated with citizens in parallel events held throughout the day.

Video from the Citizens Dialogue

EU-US Summit

Following today's EU-US summit, President Barroso told U.S. President Barack Obama: "Your visit sends a very strong signal."

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Handshake between Herman van Rompuy, Barack Obama and José Manuel Barroso

"First of all to the European citizens, in the sense of how important the transatlantic relationship is for Europe and for the United States of America; to the American people – and I would like to say to the American people that you can count on us as your best friends and allies; and also to the rest of the world."

The European Union was represented by President Barroso and by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, and the United States was represented by President Barack Obama.

Following the summit, President Barroso said:

"We remain committed and open. We are decided to engage in all global issues, from free trade to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to climate action. But at the same time we will also be firm in defending our common values: values of peace, freedom, of the rights of the individual, the rule of law, of international law."

"The most concrete example of the deepening of our relationship is precisely the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. […] Today we have confirmed that we are determined at the highest level to make it happen and to make it a success, not only for us, but also for the global economy."

EU-US summit

EU-US relations

Read the full remarks

Read the EU-US Summit joint statement

Watch the video of the press conference

President Barroso meets Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key

The meeting with the Prime Minister and European Council President Van Rompuy took place in the context of the third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague

25/03/2014

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The three leaders decided to deepen all aspects of the relationship between the European Union and New Zealand, including in the political and security sphere, science and innovation as well as trade and investment. They reaffirmed their commitment to transform the existing 2007 Joint Declaration into a new agreement, which will further strengthen their cooperation and relations.

President Barroso, President Van Rompuy and Prime Minister Key reviewed the progress made on this new Partnership Agreement on Relations and Cooperation (PARC) and encouraged the chief negotiators to continue their efforts with a view to concluding the Agreement in the near future.

Furthermore, it was agreed to reflect on options to progress the trade and economic relationship, including the parameters for the possible opening of negotiations to further liberalise trade and investment between the EU and New Zealand.

In light of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, the three leaders recalled and reaffirmed the shared commitment of the EU and New Zealand to international peace and security.

Read the joint declaration

EU-Japan relations: Meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague

President Barroso and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy met Prime Minister of Japan Mr. Shinzō Abe at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.

25/03/2014

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They discussed the situation in Ukraine and reviewed the current bilateral relations ahead of the next EU-Japan Summit.

They also reiterated their commitment to the ongoing negotiations for a Strategic Partnership Agreement and a Free Trade Agreement.

Finally they exchanged views on the regional situation in East Asia.

European Union External Action Service: EU relations with Japan

European Commission: EU trade relations with Japan

Watch the video

President Barroso meets Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of Vietnam

President Barroso met today the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung at the Third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.

25/03/2014

EC

In the bilateral meeting, President Barroso confirmed his commitment to broaden and strengthen relations between the European Union and Vietnam on the basis of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). He welcomed the progress made since Agreement was launched in 2007 in Vietnam and encouraged both negotiating teams to continue with the good work in view of concluding the negotiations in October.

On 25th and 26th August 2014, President Barroso will travel to Vietnam for an official visit.

The Hague declaration: G7 leaders reaffirm their support for Ukraine's sovereignty

Following their meeting in the Hague yesterday, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission issued a declaration to reaffirm their support for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

25/03/2014

 © EU

They decided to suspend their participation in the G8 until Russia changes course and the environment comes back to where the G8 is able to have a meaningful discussion, and decided to meet again in G7 format in June 2014, in Brussels.

In the declaration the leaders condemned the referendum held in Crimea and Russia's attempt to annex the Ukrainian region: "International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state’s territory through coercion or force.  To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built.  We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine’s constitution.  We also strongly condemn Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations.  We do not recognize either", reads the statement.

The G7 leaders also reaffirmed that Russia’s actions will have significant consequences: "This clear violation of international law is a serious challenge to the rule of law around the world and should be a concern for all nations. In response to Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to demonstrate our determination to respond to these illegal actions, individually and collectively we have imposed a variety of sanctions against Russia and those individuals and entities responsible.  We remain ready to intensify actions including coordinated sectoral sanctions that will have an increasingly significant impact on the Russian economy, if Russia continues to escalate this situation."

As announced by President Barroso after last week's signature of the political provisions of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, Commissioner Füle visits Ukraine today Tuesday and Wednesday to work with the Ukrainian authorities on a number of issues regarding its implementation.

Read the full declaration

Watch President's Barroso video statement on the G7