The spirit of cooperation and transparency has to prevail in Copenhagen
As a developing country that has set ambitious targets to fight against climate change, Indonesia appears as a bridge between developing and developed countries, said Barroso during a joint press conference in Brussels with Mr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the president of Indonesia. The spirit of cooperation and transparency has to prevail in Copenhagen now that the negotiations are reaching a decisive moment. "How are we going to look on Friday or Saturday if more than 100 heads of state and government come from all over the world and, at the end, what we can say to the world is that 'it was not possible' ? It is unthinkable", stated Barroso. Bilateral issues such as trade, investment and education were also on the agenda of the two leaders.
President Barroso welcomes the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon enters into force today – 1 December 2009. The occasion will be marked by a ceremony in the city of Lisbon organised jointly by the Portuguese government, the Swedish Presidency and the European Commission. The Commission believes that the new treaty provides significant new benefits for citizens and will settle the institutional debate for the foreseeable future. "I'm delighted that we now have the right institutions to act and a period of stability, so that we can focus all our energy on delivering what matters to our citizens", president Barroso said.
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The EU-China Summit focused on global challenges, in particular on climate change
During the 12th EU-China Summit, president Barroso stressed that we need political leadership from all sides if we want to get a deal in Copenhagen. He welcomed the news that China is now indicating what they are prepared to do on mitigation in concrete numbers. "We agree that there must be a differentiated approach and different responsibilities for developed and developing countries. And we can always negotiate with numbers… but we cannot negotiate with science, with the science and the facts", he said. The EU remains committed to a legally binding outcome of the Copenhagen conference.
Official List of commissioners designate for the next Commission
President Barroso has received nominations from all Member States. He will now proceed with the allocation of portfolios. "It is my job to allocate the right portfolios to the right people. I look forward to present a strong Commission team to the European Parliament", he said. Hearings at the European Parliament will then take place in January before the College of Commissioners as a whole will be subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.
President Barroso officially opens a dairy employing disabled workers in Alsace
On Tuesday, in addition to attending the plenary session in Strasbourg, President Barroso officially opened some cowsheds at a farm in Bischwiller in the French administrative region of Bas-Rhin. The farm employs around 15 disabled people. Joseph Daul, President of the European People’s Party at the European Parliament, was present, as were several local elected members.
President Barroso very much welcomes the tougher target on greenhouse gas emissions set by Russia
Speaking at the press conference following the EU-Russia summit, president Barroso stated that "With the Copenhagen conference starting in just over two weeks, we have made very important progress today and I very much welcome the signal from president Medvedev today of their proposed emissions reduction target of 20 to 25%. I have instructed officials to work very closely with their Russian counterparts on all the details, because we fully agreed in our discussion this morning that this is a critical negotiation and we must succeed in Copenhagen. Both the EU and Russia have responsibilities to lead on climate change, and we need all players to do all they can to remain within the two degrees target. We can negotiate between ourselves on the numbers, but we can't negotiate with physics. Science must be our guiding light. I am confident that we can still achieve a meaningful result in Copenhagen."
Helping public authorities to create employment whilst investing in the future: the public-private partnerships solution
In order to foster more frequent and more efficient application of public-private partnerships (PPPs), at a time when innovative public funding solutions are required to meet the challenge of limited national budgets, the Commission has adopted a Communication on exploiting the potential of PPPs. ‘If they are well planned and carried out, respecting the long-term public interest, PPPs can increase investment in health care, education and high-quality sustainable transport systems. They can help to combat climate change and improve energy efficiency. We would like public authorities to make fuller use of PPPs and use them more efficiently,’ explained President Barroso.
Improving prevention and management in the event of an energy crisis between EU and Russia
As agreed by the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso and the president of the Russian Federation, Dimitri Medvedev, during the last EU-Russia summit in Khabarovsk, the EU and Russia have strengthened current dispositions under the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue to prevent and manage potential energy crises, with an enhanced early warning mechanism. Energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs and the Russian minister for Energy, Sergei Shmatko, signed a memorandum on an early warning mechanism in Moscow on Monday that includes a clear definition of the circumstances that would trigger the activation of the mechanism, in terms of what constitutes a "significant disruption of supplies", be it due to maintenance of relevant infrastructure, accidents, or commercial disputes.
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President Barroso invites all heads of State and government to join him at the Copenhagen conference
President Barroso made a public announcement today that he is to participate, on behalf of the European Commission, in the final stage of the United Nations Climate Change Conference on 17 and 18 December 2009 in Copenhagen. The Commission will also be represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Stavros Dimas. President Barroso did not consider it of value to justify once again the crucial importance of the conference, and explained to what extent leadership would play a key role in the final negotiations. From this perspective, he declared: ‘I sincerely hope that all leaders will be able to participate.’
20th anniversary of the democratic change in Central and Eastern Europe
Two days after the commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall, President Barroso participated in a formal ceremony organised by the European Parliament in Brussels to celebrate the20th anniversary of the democratic change in Central and Eastern Europe. The ceremony was attended by the former President of the Czech Republic and European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek. Both of them were important protagonists during the period of democratic change.
Video message by president Barroso ahead the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall
"For me, the pecking of holes in the Berlin wall in November 1989 echoed the music of freedom that I got used to listen to only a few years before" said president Barroso in reference to the revolution in his own country, Portugal. For me, in 1989 not just the wall collapsed, but a world of ideology and oppression. The iron curtain had cut Europe into two –its dismantling in 1989 was the start of making it one. The past five years as Commission president I dedicated a huge effort into making this enlarged European Union work. (…) Now we have to work hand in hand to tear down the last remains of the wall that still persist in Europe. Let's remove them, brick by brick, like the long chain of dominos that we will topple tonight in Berlin.
Festival of freedom
Invited by chancellor Merkel of Germany, president Barroso commemorated the fall of the Berlin Wall with the president of the European Parliament, heads of state and government as well as hundreds of thousands of citizens. During the night, he toppled the domino he painted himself a few weeks ago with Belgian school children as part of the artistic domino project consisting of more than 1000 dominos that symbolically reproduce the domino effect of events in 1989.
Celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989. On Monday, 20 years later, a reunited Europe will celebrate this page in history. Representing the European Commission, President Barroso will go to Berlin to participate in a wide-ranging programme of commemorations, in particular the 'Festival of Freedom' in which the Berlin Wall will fall a second time — symbolically.
European citizens must not be subject to further disruptions of gas supplies from Russia through Ukraine
President Barroso spoke on Thursday with president Yushenko of Ukraine to discuss the transit of gas supplies, the current economic situation and the Ukrainian request for assistance to tackle the H1N1 virus. He stressed that it is absolutely essential that there are no blockages within the Ukrainian system on the payment of gas supplies from Russia.
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President Barroso optimistic on progress on trade and climate change at the EU-India summit
At the eve of the summit which takes place this year in New Delhi, president Barroso said: “In the past decade, the EU and India have evolved to become key actors on the world stage. The dynamic strategic partnership we have forged over the years is a sign of strong commitment and mutual understanding to contribute together to global solutions to global challenges, from peace, security and development aid to the fight against climate change. By agreeing a position on climate finance last Friday in Brussels, the EU is signalling that we are ready to help if developing countries and, in particular, emerging economies like India deliver. ”
It's now absolutely clear that the Lisbon Treaty will enter into force soon
President Barroso welcomed that president Klaus has taken the crucial step of signing the instrument of ratification on the Treaty of Lisbon in the Czech Republic. "It's now absolutely clear that the Lisbon Treaty will enter into force soon", he commented. “At this point in time, I want to pay tribute to all those who have worked hard in the 27 member states to make the Lisbon Treaty a reality. The road is now open for the consultations on the appointment of the president of the European Council and vice-president of the Commission / high representative to begin. This will in turn allow me to start the process of nominating the new Commission."
Poverty: one of the main priorities of the European Union
'Any progress in thwarting the scourge of poverty is a success for our common values,' declared President Barroso in a video message broadcast during the conference 'Poverty, between reality and perceptions: the communication challenge'. This event was organised in Brussels to mark the launch of 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. Unable to attend in person due to meetings related to the preparation of the European Council, the President nevertheless wished to speak by this means in order to explain how strongly he felt about the issue. At present almost 80 million people in Europe are on the poverty line, including 19 million children.
Fight against climate change: Europe cannot be the only locomotive in the negotiations
During the press conference of the Tripartite Social Summit which focused to the implementation of the European stimulus measures, president Barroso raised the issue of the progress in the negotiations leading to Copenhagen and the need to get agreement internally on financing during the Council. "Everybody is committed, from the trade unions to the business community, to see the benefits to develop a greener economy. At the same time, everybody considered that the others have to do the same efforts than Europe".
"The last political obstacle to the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has been overcome"
These were President Barroso’s words on Thursday evening during the press conference held at the close of the first day of the European Council. Heads of state and European government leaders have accepted to grant the Czech Republic the derogation that it has been requesting in order to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, thus removing ‘the last political obstacle’ to its entry into force. This comes at the end of a process that the President compared to a marathon dotted with high jumps. The Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer confirmed that ‘if the Constitutional Court – which is still to pronounce its decision on Tuesday 3 November with regard to an appeal lodged by members of the Senate – orders that the Lisbon Treaty is in line with the Czech constitution, there are no further obstacles to a speedy completion of the ratification’.
President Barroso names new head of Cabinet, deputy head of Cabinet and Commission spokeswoman
Commission president Barroso named Mr Johannes Laitenberger, currently head of the Commission's Spokesperson's Service and Commission spokesman, as new head of his Cabinet, as of 1 November 2009. Mr Laitenberger succeeds Mr João Vale de Almeida, who was appointed earlier this year as the Commission's director-general for external relations and who will take up his new role on 1 November 2009. Mr Vale de Almeida will continue to personally assist the president in the capacity of G8/G20 sherpa. Mr Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, currently director in the Commission's Secretariat General, will take over as deputy head of the Cabinet, also on 1 November 2009. He succeeds Mr Jean-Claude Thébault, who was today appointed as a deputy secretary general of the Commission, taking up his role also on 1 November 2009. Ms Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, currently deputy spokeswoman of the Commission, will on 1 November 2009 take over as Commission spokeswoman, succeeding Mr Laitenberger.
The protection of fundamental rights will be high on the agenda of the Commission
President Barroso had a working lunch with the new secretary-general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland on the occasion of his first visit abroad. Former president of the Storting - the Norwegian Parliament - Mr Jagland took office on 1 October 2009. As he did at the ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe three weeks ago, president Barroso welcomed the close cooperation with the Council of Europe. He also took the opportunity of this meeting to announce to Mr Jagland that he intends to establish a new "human rights" portfolio covering the fields of justice, fundamental rights and civil liberties within the next Commission in order to allow an even stronger emphasis on these policy areas.
Meeting with the prime minister of São Tomé
President Barroso met Joaquim Rafael Branco, prime minister of São Tomé and Príncipe, in Brussels. The visit was an opportunity to exchange views on the country's perspectives and the bilateral cooperation between the European Union and São Tomé and Príncipe. President Barroso gave a positive assessment of recent developments. This was the first such formal meeting with prime minister Branco. Prime minister Branco assumed his post in June 2008 after a period of governmental instability.
European House opens in Vienna
In the presence of Heinz Fischer, President of the Federal Republic of Austria, President Barroso, accompanied by Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, inaugurated the new European Commission and European Parliament building in the heart of Vienna. President Barroso pledged that dialogue with the citizens and the different actors in civil society, a hallmark of the current Commission, will continue to be of critical importance under the next Commission. The EC will redouble its efforts to have a real Commission presence communicating on the ground in the Member States and in the regions, in partnership with the European Parliament, listening to citizens and dealing first hand with their questions and concerns. However, he pointed out that the gap in awareness of the EU can only be closed in full partnership with all actors at national, regional and local level.
Meeting with the Czech prime minister
During a meeting at the Berlaymont, the Czech prime minister, Jan Fischer, informed president Barroso in detail on the new developments on the issue of the ratification process. "We certainly hope that no artificial obstacles are raised at this time, bearing in mind that the democratic approval of the Treaty by the Czech Parliament has already taken place", president Barroso commented during the press conference. "It is in the interests of nobody, least of all the interests of the Czech Republic, to delay matters further."
Supporting the Cyprus settlement process
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, has decided to appoint Mr Leopold Maurer as his personal Representative to the Good Offices Mission of the United Nations in Cyprus. This designation follows a request by the United Nations and is a further demonstration that president Barroso and the European Commission are committed to supporting the Cyprus settlement process. Mr Maurer will provide advice to the UN Good Offices Mission on EU-related matters.
Signature ceremony for the Lisbon Treaty in Poland
At the invitation of Poland's president, Mr Lech Kaczynski, president Barroso will attend the signing ceremony for Poland's instrument of ratification for the Lisbon Treaty. The ceremony will take place on Saturday 10 October at 12:00 in Warsaw.
Consolidation of EU-China relations
President Barroso welcomed the vice president of China, Xi Jinping, to the Berlaymont on his first visit to Brussels. The president raised the topics of the upcoming summit, expected to take place at the end of November in China, and the EU priorities regarding the global agenda for which EU and China share responsibilities. Both parties expressed commitment to success in Copenhagen at the end of the year, and president Barroso again acknowledged the efforts announced by Hu Jintao in New York to this effect. Later on, both attended the opening of the arts festival Europalia. For its 40th anniversary, Brussels and its neighbouring regions will celebrate the diversity of Chinese culture by hosting hundreds of breathtaking events during the coming four months.
EU-Brazil summit to focus on climate change and the economic crisis
President Barroso attended the 3rd EU-Brazil summit in Stockholm alongside Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and commissioners Ferrero-Waldner and Ashton. They held discussions with president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil. Summit leaders addressed key global challenges such as climate change and the global economic situation and will review progress in the implementation of the EU-Brazil joint action plan, which was adopted in December 2008. The EU is Brazil's biggest trading partner, accounting for 25% of its exports and 22% of its imports. It is also the main investor in Brazil and the first destination of Brazilian foreign direct investment.
Mr Maroš Šefčovič, new member of the College, will be responsible for education, training, culture and youth
Following the resignation of Mr Ján Figel', who has been elected as chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement in Slovakia, Mr Maroš Šefčovič has been designated by the Slovak Government for appointment as member of the Commission, in agreement with the Commission president José Manuel Barroso. These decisions take effect today. President Barroso entrusted the education, training, culture and youth portfolio to Mr Maroš Šefčovič.
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Presentation of the European Prize for Literature
On Monday evening President Barroso attended the award ceremony for the European Prize for Literature at the Flagey arts centre in Brussels in the presence of Henning Mankell, Ambassador of the Prize, and personalities from the world of culture, literature and politics. The European Prize for Literature aims to spotlight the richness and diversity of Europe’s contemporary literature, to promote the circulation of literature within Europe and to encourage greater interest in literary works from other countries.
Europe comes a step closer to its citizens
On 9 May 2006 in the European Parliament, during the First Joint Parliamentary Meeting on the Future of the Union, President Barroso suggested entering into a substantial political dialogue with national parliaments by offering them an opportunity to give comments, criticism and positive feedback on Commission proposals. Three years later, the dialogue is a clear success: the Commission has received 525 opinions from national parliaments. ‘I am proud of what we have achieved together,’ declared President Barroso. ‘The political dialogue both contributes to raising awareness on European issues in national parliaments and to giving the Commission a better view of the national political landscapes. This brings Europe a step closer to its citizens’.
The huge potential of the G20 needs implementation
During his joint press conference with prime minister Reinfeldt before the G20 summit, president Barroso called for global rules based on universal values and reflecting the reality of economic interdependence. Considering that the G20 is making a huge difference in tackling this crisis through a good level of coordination, he recalled that the EU has supported the process from the beginning. He also underlined the importance Europe gives to the principle of a Charter for Sustainable Economic Activity - "it is a way of providing the economic and ethical basis for global governance" - and explained why it is important to take specific action to rein in exorbitant bonuses "in terms of ethical principle and also for the legitimacy of our financial systems and the way they are seen by our citizens." Nevertheless, president Barroso warned that "the G20 is not just a talking shop. Afterwards we need to implement what we have agreed."
Europe has a lot to offer to shape globalisation
"The crisis that we face is not just an economic crisis. It is a crisis for the values of our societies." President Barroso says as an introduction to an article published in many newspapers around the world before the G20. He also considers that the G20 provides an opportunity to shape globalisation or "the chance to develop a sustainable model to replace the one brought to its knees by the failure of financial markets." In this context, he believes that Europe has a lot to offer as we develop this new global architecture. "We have been a laboratory for cross-border supranational cooperation for 60 years. The European model of society strives to surpass the destructive dichotomy of unregulated markets or over-powerful states."
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European measures to enhance financial supervision
On the eve of the opening of the G20 summit in the United States, the European Commission under the presidency of José Manuel Barroso has adopted legislative provisions aiming to reinforce financial stability throughout the EU, to ensure that the same basic technical rules are applied and enforced consistently, to identify risks in the system at an early stage, and to be able to act together far more effectively in emergency situations and in resolving disagreements among supervisors. ‘Financial markets are European and global, not only national. Their supervision must also be European and global. Today we are proposing a new European supervisory system, which has the political backing of the Member States and is based on the de Larosière report. Our aim is to protect European taxpayers from a repeat of the dark days of autumn 2008, when governments had to pour billions of euro into the banks’, said the President.
New five-year term for President Barroso
By a large majority, the European Parliament has re-elected José Manuel Barroso as President of the European Commission for a new five-year term. Visibly moved, President Barroso thanked MEPs 'very sincerely' for the confidence shown in him. He was also keen to thank the members of the European People’s Party for being the first to support his programme, as well as Portugal, his home country, which supported his candidacy for the post of President of the EC. Interpreting the vote as 'an acceptance of the ambitious programme for a Europe of freedom and solidarity' put forward recently, he restated his 'determination' to work closely with MEPs 'to build an even stronger Parliamentary democracy'.