High-Level Meeting on Disability
European Commission President Barroso participated, together with European Parliament President Buzek, European Council President Van Rompuy and European Commission Vice-President Reding, in the first European Disability Forum. The forum discussed issues facing the estimated 80 million Europeans with disabilities. President Barroso said: "The European Union must be attentive to the situation of people with disabilities." He explained that the European Disability Strategy sets an ambitious agenda for the next 10 years. "The EU remains committed to empowering people with disabilities so that they can enjoy their full rights, and benefit fully from participating in society and the economy," the President added.
Appointment of Chief Scientific Advisor
President Barroso has today appointed the Commission's first Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Anne Glover saying: "I believe her outstanding background and calibre will bring invaluable expertise to the Commission. She has a strong track record in leading the Scottish Science Advisory Committee which made her the standout candidate for this post." The Chief Scientific Advisor will provide advice directly to the President, and will give regular updates on major scientific and technological developments.
Video message for the Food and Agriculture Organization
"The European Commission has always been at the forefront in the fight against hunger and malnutrition," underlined President Barroso in a video message for the 143rd Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Council. He stressed that alone the European Commission allocates about €800 million a year to agriculture, food security, territorial planning and rural development, which are focal sectors of the Commission's work in more than 40 countries worldwide. President Barroso: "In our 21st century world, it is simply unacceptable that human beings remain hungry. The international community must redouble its efforts to ensure that the most basic of human needs – access to food – is not a luxury, but a fact of life for us all."
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Message on Treaty change
President Barroso reiterated today his position on the issue of Treaty change. He stressed that "Treaty change may be necessary for reinforcing the Euro area governance and we are supporting the idea provided it is to reinforce the European union, provided it is not to divide the European Union." The President said: "With some conditions we believe Treaty change can be a contribution to show one very important thing – that the euro is irreversible, that all the member states of the European Union and of the euro area remain united supporting their common currency."
Message on the need for growth and enhancing measures
President Barroso commented on the need for growth and enhancing measures to complement fiscal consolidation efforts. He reminded that the Commission proposed yesterday extra support for small companies using structural funds. "It is a complete innovation, because of the lack of funding for small companies, that we have seen in many countries in Europe, we have adopted legislation that allows us to use structural funds to fund the small and medium sized companies. Up to €5bn can be used to attract additional private funding of 6 times that value." This extra support for small companies using structural funds is extremely important and it shows that we have committed to growth. The President also underlined that the Commission will next week propose a legislation to make more cross-border funding accessible for Europe's 23 million SMEs. "These will put down barriers that limit the supply of venture capital," he explained. In conclusion he called on Member States to "speed up their decisions on these very important matters because growth is also important to overcome the current difficulties in the Euro area and in the European Union."
Meeting with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community
President Barroso today met the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Derviş Eroğlu. President Barroso welcomed the results of the tripartite meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General in New York on 30 – 31 October, where some encouraging progress was made. He stressed that "what counts now is to reach agreement on all internal aspects of the settlement by the next tripartite meeting in January 2012." The President also underlined that the Turkish Cypriots will greatly benefit from reunification.
Meeting with the Minister-President of Hessen, Germany
President Barroso received the Minister-President of Hessen, Germany, Mr Volker Bouffier. They focused on the current sovereign debt crisis and the need for continued and determined action to tackle it, including through deeper integration and greater discipline. Other issues in the discussion concerned airport ground-handling services and the inclusion of aviation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme. Minister-President Bouffier also handed over an invitation to the world-famous art exhibition dOCUMENTA which will take place in Kassel (Hessen) in 2012.
Barroso's Task Force for Northern Ireland in Belfast
The members of the EC Northern Ireland Task Force are visiting Belfast to discuss with the Northern Ireland departments their priorities for the future. President Barroso said: "I was the first international leader to meet Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness after agreement on restoration of the political institutions in May 2007. We have seen good progress in the last four years. I want to see more. I'm delighted that the Task Force is back in Belfast to give a new momentum to this work".
President Barroso received the Steiger Award, Bochum, Germany
President Barroso received the Steiger Award 2011 in the category "Europe" for his efforts to build a strong Europe, to shape the international community of states and for his vision of a young, modern, tolerant Europe based on solidarity. Among the other award-winning personalities in 2011 were the famous actor Klaus Maria Brandauer, the rock stars Roger Daltrey and Mark Knopfler, Egon Bahr and Cherie Blair.
Meeting with the UK Prime Minister David Cameron
President Barroso met with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron at Number 10 today. The main points of discussion were the shared commitment to boost growth and jobs in Europe and the Union's measures to tackle the economic crisis, as well as action to deepen the Single Market. They agreed on the need for the EU to focus on concrete and ambitious actions to reignite growth in the EU, the most important market for UK business.
Visit of the European Ombudsman
Today, the College of Commissioners met the European Ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros, and discussed his future priorities and the changes brought about to his work by the Treaty of Lisbon. Europeans have the right to good administration and the right to refer cases of alleged maladministration in the EU institutions or bodies to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman has a crucial role in helping the EU institutions and bodies to deliver the rights guaranteed by the treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights to citizens.
Dinner with leaders of the Visegrád Group, Romania, Bulgaria
President Barroso met with the leaders of the Visegrád Group and of Romania and Bulgaria to discuss the North-South initiative and the EU's strategic energy infrastructure. President Barroso said: "Energy infrastructure is a backbone of our internal market and crucial for Europe's security and prosperity. The North-South initiative will connect the power sources of the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea regions. We will now establish a concrete list of projects to be tackled."
EU-Mercosur Summit, Madrid
After the Mercosur Summit president Barroso said that the EU feels a natural affinity with Mercosur. He added: "I am extremely happy about our decision to resume the negotiations for an Association Agreement. This would enable the creation of one of the largest Free Trade Areas in the world (700 million consumers) and enhance our political cooperation and coordination." The process of regional integration, promotion and protection of human rights, climate change and biodiversity were also discussed.
Meeting with Secretary General of the OECD Angel Gurría
President Barroso and the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Angel Gurría, discussed the valuable contribution of OECD data and analysis to help the EU and Member States to take the right policy decisions and put Europe on the path of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. They also discussed the important decisions of the EU to guarantee the stability of the Eurozone, and Mr. Gurría welcomed the EU's measures as "credible and having the right size".
Informal lunch with US vice president Joe Biden
In the context of the visit of US vice president Joe Biden to Brussels, president Barroso and the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, had an informal lunch.
Opening ceremony of the Shanghai EXPO 2010
President Barroso alongside vice president/High Representative Ashton attended the Shanghai EXPO 2010 opening ceremony today. The EU is represented with its own pavilion, showing that the EU is part of the new global horizons symbolised by the Expo. For Barroso, this is also an occasion to bring people closer together and build stronger ties between the citizens of the European Union and China. Barroso stated: "It is an occasion to celebrate our relationship."
President's Barroso speech at Tsinghua University, Beijing
In his speech president Barroso stressed the 35-year-old strong strategic partnership between EU-China. In the meantime both countries evolved and China became an important international player. Due to the very scale of China's economy and its geostrategic importance, China's actions affect the rest of the world. "And what China does not do will also affect the rest of the world and ultimately also China," stressed Barroso and added that Europe stands ready to work in partnership with China.
Weekly Commission meeting
"Commission in favour of an Intergovernmental Conference on the composition of the EP"
The European Commission adopted an Opinion recommending the opening of an intergovernmental conference to deal with transitional measures for the composition of the European Parliament, as proposed by the Spanish government. The latter submitted a formal proposal with the aim of allowing an additional 18 Members of the EP to take office by 1 December 2010. The Commission Opinion recommends opening an intergovernmental conference as soon as possible, remaining strictly limited to the discussion of the Spanish proposal.
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Working lunch with Nicolas Sarkozy, Paris
President Barroso met the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. They reviewed key European and international affairs, and discussed in particular the necessity to take swift and decisive action against the speculation about Greece. Barroso also stressed the importance of strengthening the coordination and monitoring of Member States’ economic policies. He also confirmed the European Commission’s desire to develop global economic and financial governance.
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Meeting with the EIT board
President Barroso and Commissioner Vassiliou met Martin Schuurmans, chairman of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, members of the EIT governing board and representatives of the EIT's newly created 'Knowledge and Innovation Communities'. Discussions focused on the importance of the EIT's contribution to achieving the goals of the Commission's ‘Europe 2020' strategy and the EIT's place and future development in the EU higher education, research and innovation landscape.
Official visit to Japan 28 April 2010
President Barroso will attend the 19th EU-Japan Summit held in Tokyo alongside President of the European Council Van Rompuy. The meeting will be hosted by Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama and will focus on the discussion of the future framework for bilateral political and economic relations. It will also be an excellent opportunity to identify areas of concrete cooperation in the fields of global and regional issues, peace and security, economy and trade.
President's Barroso official visit to China 29 April - 1 May
"The EU and China are important global players and it is essential that we work together in addressing common challenges"
President Barroso will lead a delegation of Commissioners on a trip to China to discuss bilateral issues, global challenges such as the economic and financial crisis, climate change and international security with the Chinese leadership. Barroso: "We will seize this opportunity to generate positive momentum in our 35-year relationship and develop a far-reaching agenda for the next 5 years." Barroso will also participate in the opening ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 and the inauguration of the EU Pavilion.
Meeting of the Cyprus Steering Group
On 14 April, President Barroso chaired a meeting of the Cyprus Steering Group. The Group discussed the results of the ongoing settlement talks and looked in particular at EU-related aspects of a future settlement. The overall assessment was that important progress has been made by the leaders of the two communities Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat towards a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.
President Barroso will attend the state funeral in Poland
Alongside the Polish commissioner Janusz Lewandowski, president Barroso will attend the state funeral of the Polish president Lech Kaczynski and his wife in Cracow, Poland, on Sunday, 18 April. Today president Barroso signed the book of condolence in memory of all victims who passed away in the tragic airplane crash on Saturday, 10 April 2010. And in its weekly meeting the College observed a one-minute silence in respect for the victims of this terrible tragedy.
25th anniversary of European Capitals of Culture
"Without culture, Europe would remain incomplete"
President Barroso alongside Commissioner Vassiliou opened the conference and the exhibition dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the European Capitals of Culture in Brussels. Barroso qualified the initiative as a real "success story" and urged all the national, regional and local authorities to make sure that culture is firmly anchored in long-term local development strategies. He added that the Capitals of Culture "point the way to the creative economies, cities, and communities that are crucial for our future".
First official meeting between Jerzy Buzek and the new Commission
The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, met President Barroso and the College of Commissioners for a working lunch. In a spirit of partnership and interinstitutional cooperation, Mr Buzek’s visit was an opportunity to work on various current issues from the "Europe 2020" strategy to the renewal of the Framework Agreement between the two institutions. This first official meeting, at the invitation of the Commission, will be followed by other regular encounters throughout the mandate of this Commission.
Irish Shamrocks for president Barroso to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day
"Congratulations to Ireland"
On the occasion of the celebration of Saint Patrick's Day, president Barroso received a bouquet of Shamrocks from Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the Irish commissioner in charge of Research, Innovation and Science. The shamrock, a three-leafed clover, is one of the most well-known symbols of Ireland. Barroso thanked the Commissioner for the present and shared that also for him 17 March was a special day because it was precisely on that day that he was elected prime minister of Portugal. "Congratulations to Ireland," said a grateful Barroso.
President Barroso in Budapest
President Barroso visited Budapest to meet the Hungarian prime minister, Gordon Bajnai for a working dinner. The two leaders discussed among other things the new Europe 2020 strategy, adopted by the Commission on the same day, which received the strong support of the Hungarian prime minister. President Barroso also attended a conference of the European People's Party. In his speech, he explained how the Europe 2020 strategy could help upholding and renewing the European social market economy, which has come under threat in the economic and financial crisis. During the visit he also reiterated that Budapest, which hosts the European Institute of Technology and Innovation, is at the heart of the EU's efforts to put Europe on the path of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Italian president Napolitano meets president Barroso and the College
President Barroso today welcomed the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, in the Commission by praising him as a "precious interlocutor and an example for all of us with his dedication to the European cause, to our common values, dialogue and democracy." Mr Napolitano also had the occasion to meet the entire College. The main topics discussed were the new Europe 2020 strategy, the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, external relations as well as migration. On Europe 2020 Barroso highlighted the importance that both Italy and the Commission attribute to industry, manufacturing, SMEs, and the single market in putting Europe on the path of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Meeting with Pascal Lamy
Today President Barroso met the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, to discuss the Doha cycle and the progress that has been made. They shared views on a political strategy to restart negotiations and on the role of the G20 in this process. Amongst the other topics discussed were the new Commission’s trade priorities and the impact of new institutional provisions on commercial policy.
Meeting with President of Mongolia
President Barroso met with president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of Mongolia. He announced that the European Commission will increase its bilateral assistance to the Asian country by 40% to €5 million per year. He also took the opportunity to congratulate president Elbegdorj for the recent announcement of a moratorium on death penalty: "I hope this moratorium is the first step towards the abolition of the death penalty in Mongolia, which might encourage other countries in the region to follow suit." The economic transition of Mongolia to a more modern economy was also in the agenda of the meeting.
Watch the press conference [10'34"]
Results of the public consultation on Europe 2020 and an evaluation of the Lisbon Strategy
As president Barroso has said: "The renewed Lisbon strategy was able to build an understanding of how structural reform feeds directly into growth and jobs. But the crisis has wiped out many of the gains. We must now use the "Europe 2020" strategy to create new sources of growth." The Commission publishes today a summary of the results of the public consultation on Europe 2020 and an evaluation of the Lisbon Strategy.
Nomination of Commissioner-designate Mrs Kristalina Georgieva
President Barroso met with Mrs Kristalina Georgieva following her nomination by the Bulgarian government. He has given his agreement for her name to go forward as commissioner-designate and believes she has all the professional background and European convictions to be an excellent Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. Mrs Georgieva has extensive international experience and a grasp of the issues to make a real impact in this new role. Mrs Georgieva's name will now be confirmed by the Council and she will debate her future responsibilities at a hearing with the European Parliament on 3 February. President Barroso hopes that the European Parliament will be able to vote on the whole college of commissioners on 9 February, in accordance with the timetable agreed by the European Parliament today.
Mrs Georgieva's CV [11 KB]
Spain, the right country at this time
During the press conference which followed the debate in plenary session, president Barroso said that the Spanish EU Presidency "is very good news for Europe" as Spain is a very committed pro-European Country and has a very committed European leader with José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. He also took note of the timing of this presidency, which "comes at a very important moment, when we have to prepare the new economic strategy for Europe, "the European 2020 Strategy"" and insisted on the full ownership of this strategy, offering to have debates in plenary with MEPs and also with stakeholders in Europe – mainly the social partners.
Resignation of commissioner-designate Mrs Jeleva
President Barroso took note of Mrs Jeleva's withdrawal as commissioner-designate. He fully respects this personal decision. Bulgarian prime minister Borisov has in the meantime informed president Barroso of his intention to suggest Ms Kristalina Georgieva, currently vice-president of the World Bank, as member of the European Commission. President Barroso will meet her as soon as possible, with a view to considering his agreement to that suggestion. President Barroso welcomes the swift reaction of the Bulgarian Government to this situation. The process of the investiture of the new Commission should now continue and be concluded at the earliest opportunity.
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.
Mr Šefčovič’s background [18 KB]
The appointment procedure [15 KB]
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'.