European Emergency Response Centre opens: making Europe safer
Opening the European emergency response centre on Wednesday, President Barroso underlined that the centre is a prime example of how "more Europe" brings added, practical and tangible value to dealing with the challenges we face.
"In Europe, on average every year 10 000 people are tragically killed and 15 billion euro of damage caused by natural and man-made disasters" … "We need to do all that we can, at every level, to reduce this terrible toll and better protect Europe's citizens", said President Barroso.
"The new Emergency Response Centre will play a central role in this regard. Its core function is to bring together the collective knowledge and capacity of our Member States. The Centre will also support the Commission's humanitarian interventions and will be able to provide specialist services across the Commission during emergency situations."
The President emphasised that this will enable Europe to build on our experience of European civil protection from dealing with the tragic "red sludge" disaster in Hungary to mitigating the impact of the terrible explosion at the “Evangelos Florakis” naval base in Cyprus.
These actions were vivid examples for President Barroso of "European solidarity at its most fundamental level".
This solidarity also extends to third countries whenever a major disaster, said the President. He recalled that the Commission already coordinated European assistance in international crisis from the 2004 tsunami in Asia to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the Deep-water Horizon oil spill in the United States.
Presidents Barroso and Hollande host the donors conference "Together for a New Mali"
President José Manuel Barroso on Wednesday hosted a donors' conference to support the development of Mali. Mali is at the heart of the crisis of security and development affecting the Sahel region.
The high-level donor international donor conference mobilised and coordinated support from the whole international community for Mali’s development.
Outcomes of the conference revealed strong support for Mali's recovery strategy with financial commitments of the international community amounting up to € 3.25 billion. The European Union will allocate € 1.35 billion to Mali, of which € 523.9 million comes from the European Commission.
Ten Heads of African States and more than 100 worldwide delegations attended conference. President Barroso said he was delighted to see the positive results of the conference, including the genuine solidarity and generosity of the international community. "By securing the pledged aid required by the country to achieve its development priorities, the international community has sent a strong signal that, collectively, we can feel proud of", the President said.
In the margins of the Conference, the European Commission signed four financing agreements with the government of Mali, regarding water supply and support to the Mali's administration, for a total of € 300 million. The European Commission also signed a € 15 million agreement with the United Nations Development Programme to support the organisation of credible, inclusive and transparent presidential and legislative elections, which is priority number one of the Mali Transitions Roadmap.
Also in the margins of the Conference, President Barroso met with Mr Thomas Yayi Boni, President of Benin; Mr Alassane Ouattara, President of Ivory Coast and President of the Economic Community of West African States; Mr Faure Gnassingbé, President of Togo; Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger; Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania; and Mr Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso.
Le Président Barroso et la Commission européenne ont reçu le Président Hollande
Le Président François Hollande était à Bruxelles le 15 mai pour rencontrer le Président Barroso et le Collège des commissaires.
Cette visite offrait l’occasion d’aborder les grands chantiers concrets de l'Europe: comment sortir ensemble de la crise? Comment relancer la croissance sans creuser les déficits et la dette? Comment répondre à l'urgence du chômage des jeunes? Comment lutter contre l'évasion fiscale et mettre en place une véritable politique énergétique européenne? Quelle politique européenne pour l'industrie de l'acier?
Autant de questions sur lesquelles la Commission et la France souhaitent travailler ensemble pour faire avancer l'Europe.
L’entretien bilatéral avec le Président Barroso puis le déjeuner de travail avec le Collège ont permis de discuter de manière concrète les réformes économiques que la France entend mettre en œuvre pour relancer sa croissance et créer des emplois.
Ce fût aussi l’occasion d’approfondir des sujets tels que l’Union bancaire et l’avenir de l’Union économique et monétaires.
Cette visite était la première d’un président français depuis 1997 (Jacques Chirac). Elle s’inscrit dans le cadre des discussions politiques que la Commission souhaite avoir les membres du Conseil européen pour travailler de manière constructive avec les Etats membres.
Le Président Français et le Président Barroso ont ensuite tenu une conférence de presse à 15:00 qui est visible sur EBS. Les deux Présidents ont également participé le même jour à la Conférence des donateurs "Ensemble pour le Renouveau du Mali".
Meeting of President Barroso with German Vice Chancellor Philipp Rösler
President Barroso received on Tuesday morning Philipp Rösler, Vice Chancellor of Germany and Federal Minister for the Economy and Technology.
In a frank exchange, they notably discussed the policy mix needed to enhance growth, jobs and competitiveness. They agreed that this policy mix needs to encompass continued efforts towards sound public finances in full respect of the strengthened Stability and Growth Pact, reforms for competitiveness and targeted investment.
They also agreed that Germany and the Commission see eye to eye in this regard and underlined the need to stay the course.
They also discussed the need to work for a better understanding and support of this policy mix so as not to endanger its effectiveness.
Other topics raised were the envisaged reform of regional state aid, trade matters and the reform of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS).
President Barroso meets President Traoré: a new momentum for Mali
President José Manuel Barroso on Tuesday welcomed in Brussels the President of Mali, Dioncounda Traoré. The two presidents discussed issues of bilateral interest and prepared the high-level donors conference to support the development of Mali. The conference takes place on Wednesday in Brussels.
On 15 May President Barroso convenes a high-level international donors conference on Mali with French President Hollande and Mali's President Traoré.
On the eve of the Conference, President Barroso met President Traoré. They discussed the situation in Mali/Sahel region, EU-Mali relations, and the Donor Conference “Together for a New Mali”. The conference aims to integrate and coordinate the international community’s support for the development of Mali in the period 2013-2014.
After the bilateral meeting, President Barroso said he expects the donors conference to give "a strong and decisive push for Mali's stability, unity, democracy and development". "The European Commission funding will amount to 520 million euros", he added.
Ten Heads of African States and more than 100 worldwide delegations will attend the donors conference.
Europe Day, 9 May, State of the Union debate, Florence
On Europe Day 2013, President Barroso attended the State of the Union conference, organised by the European University Institute.
He made a vigorous plea for action promoting growth and jobs, while continuing the path towards sound public finances. He highlighted the need to make rapid progress on banking union and the fight against tax evasion where he announced new Commission proposals. He also said that Europe's democratic legitimacy and accountability must keep pace with its increased role and power.
President Barroso calls for progress on energy and tax fraud and evasion
President Barroso has today made a push to make significant progress on energy and tax fraud and evasion at the European Council on 22 May.
Writing to other European leaders, President Barroso highlights the considerable difference in energy prices across the EU because of the fragmented EU energy market and the failure to tap the benefits of energy efficiency. He says that the EU has part of the solution to high energy prices in its hands – if we complete our internal energy market and implement existing legislation. President Barroso says that it is urgent to complete the transposition and implementation of the third energy package and to take urgent steps to facilitate sustainable private and public investment, including on EU-level, in our energy infrastructure.
On tax fraud and evasion, President Barroso highlights the amount of tax revenue that member states are losing. He calls for member states to decide on the savings tax directive and the implementation of the Commission's action plan on strengthening the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion and the two recommendations presented by the Commission on tax havens and aggressive tax planning. President Barroso announces that the European Commission will present a legislative proposal to extend the scope of automatic exchange under the Administrative cooperation Directive. This will ensure the full and consistent coverage of all relevant types of income across all member states.
President Barroso urges EU to "seize the initiative" in debate on future Economic and Monetary Union
President Barroso on 7 May set the scene for a Europe-wide debate on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, laying out the Commission's vision for further fiscal, banking and political integration.
President Barroso explained the "new reality" brought to light by the crisis and the rationale for the Commission's Blueprint, which aims to provide a vision for the future.
"If the crisis, at this stage, has made one thing clear, it is that economic governance, democratic legitimacy and social commitments need to move forward hand in hand, keeping pace with one another," he said.
While acknowledging the progress the EU has made in repairing the economy since the start of the crisis, he underlined the need for further reform in the Economic and Monetary Union.
"A lot of progress has already been made over the last two years, more than anyone would have deemed possible before, and these are certainly important steps to move towards economic union. But focusing on the individual institutional reforms we were still missing a bigger picture of the changes – or even more – a sense of purpose - to move forward on the road to complete the design of the EMU," the President said.
This is where the Blueprint fits in, offering a comprehensive vision for the future alongside the concrete reforms - in the banking, fiscal, economic and political spheres - needed to make it a reality.
"The Blueprint also sets out the major questions of where we will land eventually, and how we advance on all fronts at the same time," he said.
The President stressed that further reforms will only be successful if they are accompanied by a broad public debate on how far we want to go down the path of further integration.
"However difficult it may be to convince citizens in times of crisis, however hard it is to explain often technical and sometimes very unpopular decisions, there is no other option in a democracy. Europe will be open and democratic, or it will fail," President Barroso said.
President Barroso: political stability is back in Italy
On Thursday President Barroso received the new Prime Minister of Italy, Enrico Letta. They both called for urgent action on growth and jobs backed by healthy public finances.
"I am very positively impressed with the strong European commitment of a Prime Minister who sees his country firmly anchored in the European Union and recognises the enormous benefits of Europe to its citizens", said President Barroso following his breakfast meeting with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
The President pointed out that stability is now back in Italy.
"I think this stability is extremely important, because stability is a vital precondition for adopting and implementing the right policies that will help the country recover from the crisis", he said.
During the meeting it became evident that the President and the Prime Minister consider growth and job-enhancing measures as a top priority. However, President Barroso underlined:
"We are also both firmly convinced that you can only build lasting growth and competitiveness on the back of healthy public finances. Every euro spent on debt is a euro not invested in jobs, not invested in youth, not invested in entrepreneurs or education or research".
Asked by journalists on the eventual conclusion of the Excessive Deficit Procedure for Italy, the President said: "I am very confident that it will be possible, provided that now Italy details the measures that it intends to take, that Italy will be able to go out of the excessive deficit procedure. But that of course now depends on the presentation in concrete terms of the plans of the new Italian government."
President Barroso congratulates the new Prime Minister of Italy, Mr Enrico Letta
After the successful vote of confidence in both chambers of the Italian Parliament, President Barroso congratulated Enrico Letta on his appointment as Prime Minister and on the formation of a new government.
The President said that the launch of this new phase in Italian politics and the start of work by the new government come at a crucial time for European integration. He added that he is looking forward to Prime Minister Letta's contribution to the deepening of the economic, monetary and political integration of the European Union.
On Italy's economic strategy, President Barroso said: "I am also certain that I can rely on your commitment to carry on the process of necessary reforms so that together Europe’s citizens are able to cope with the challenges posed by the crisis by working towards restoring growth and jobs."
He concluded by expressing his confidence that that the relations between the new Italian government and the European Commission will prove to be rewarding and constructive.
"I wish you every success with your newly assumed responsibilities".
President Barroso says "EU and Africa must work together"
On 25 and 26 April, President Barroso and six European commissioners meet their African Union counterparts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This college-to-college meeting launches the preparations of the EU-Africa Summit to take place in April 2014 and is an opportunity to take a fresh look at the EU-Africa strategic relationship.
On 25-26 April, President José Manuel Barroso and six European commissioners meet their African Union counterparts in Addis Ababa. The African Union delegation is led by the commission Chairperson Dr. Dlamini-Zuma. The African Union is the EU's key partner in the African continent.
During this executive meeting, the two colleges address a wide agenda covering peace and security, education, health, agriculture, trade climate change and science and technology. The topics for their plenary also include a discussion on the EU-Africa joint Strategy and an exchange on the post-2015 development framework.
Furthermore, Commissioners Piebalgs (Development), De Gught (Trade), Georgieva (International cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response), Hedegaard (Climate action), Cioloş (Agricultural and rural development) and Šemeta (Taxation and customs Union, audit and anti-fraud) have cluster meetings with their counterparts.
In a speech delivered today, President Barroso pointed that "in an increasingly interdependent world, Africa and Europe's future are closely interlinked." The President said that the EU and the African Union "must work together, not just to provide security, but to improve the day-to-day lives of all our citizens". "Our agenda is not just about national or regional security: it is about human security and, above all, human dignity", he added.
The European Commission College meets regularly with its African Union counterpart. Their relationship is very close and is guided by the EU-Africa joint strategy adopted at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007. The strategy puts EU-Africa relations on a new footing, based on the pursuit of shared values, common interests and strategic objectives.
The EU institutions explained by their Presidents
A view from the inside: the Presidents of the main European Union institutions share their views on how the EU actually works. Who does what? What's specific to each institution? What is the role of President? How do they see Europe's future?
European Commission President Barroso, European Council President Van Rompuy, European Parliament President Schulz and others provide interesting insights into the role and daily work of their institutions.
President Barroso supports "Food Surplus to Feed Deprived People" initiatives
In a message addressed today to the participants of the European Parliament's public hearing on "Food surplus to feed deprived people", President José Manuel Barroso said he is "confident that a strong response to the crisis will bear fruit".
President José Manuel Barroso stressed the importance of the "Food Surplus to Feed Deprived People" initiatives.
"With more and more people unemployed, poverty is unfortunately affecting a growing number of Europeans", he said. "From the start, I have been personally engaged to ensure that the European Union will be able to provide assistance to the most deprived also in the next financial period." The President welcomed the European Council's agreement to ring-fence € 2.5 billion, as proposed by the European Commission, for the new Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived. "Together with other instruments such as the European Social Fund and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, it will be part of what I consider to be a necessary social dimension of the European Union" he said.
President Barroso also thanked the Members of the European Parliament and civil society in Member States, including in the food banks, for their great work for social justice on the ground.
President Barroso announces further financial support to fight polio
Speaking at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi, President Barroso applauded the global campaign for immunisation and polio eradication and underlined that the European Union will continue to be a key ally in this effort.
On Thursday, President Barroso joined Bill Gates, Kofi Annan and other world leaders at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi.
"This impressive conference is another milestone in the global effort to fight for immunisation and polio eradication," President Barroso said, "and the European Union is proud to be part of that coalition."
The comprehensive approach developed by the EU is aimed at improving health systems, better access to health services, investments in related areas like nutrition, sanitation and clean water, and addressing the broader social issues that impact health. "These broader policies," the President stressed in his speech, "are indispensable to make specific immunisation campaigns effective and sustainable."
He also highlighted a number of concrete initiatives that will receive extra funding: "We intend to continue our substantive health sector support to two of the three countries where the wild-polio-virus unfortunately still circulates. The EU Commission plans to set aside, for the 7 years to come, over € 1.3 billion of aid for Nigeria and Afghanistan … Furthermore, on top of our country level and global health support, I am pleased to announce a very specific and immediate support action: Today, we will join partners in giving further support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, with € 5 million already implementable this year."
President Barroso also referred to the recent attacks on immunisation campaign workers: "Let us be clear that it is not just the money that makes the difference, but the people. The huge success in bringing down polio is to a large extent the work of courageous men and women who devote their lives to preventing deaths; who in some regions even endanger their own lives to save others. Let me use this opportunity to commemorate those that have been attacked and killed recently when carrying out immunisation programmes, and honour the brave health workers who refuse to give up even in the face of threats."
Mr Neven Mimica named as Commissioner-designate for consumer protection
Mr Neven Mimica has today been named by Croatia as Commissioner-designate. President Barroso has met with Mr Mimica and has confirmed his agreement for Mr Mimica's candidacy. President Barroso has indicated his intention to assign to Mr Mimica the portfolio of consumer protection.
After the necessary consultation of the European Parliament, the Council will appoint, by common accord with the President of the Commission, the new Commissioner, so as to allow him to take up his post on the 1st July 2013.
President Barroso said, "I am happy to announce the Commissioner-designate from our 28th Member State, Croatia. Neven Mimica is an experienced and committed European able to make an important contribution to the work of the European Commission, in particular in the critical field of consumer protection".
Mr Neven Mimica is currently the Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Croatia. He has a long-standing commitment to European integration with extensive experience as a Minister and diplomatic adviser.
Read the full press release which includes a CV of Mr Neven Mimica at: IP/13/354
Future challenges discussed with Lithuanian Prime Minister ahead of next EU Council presidency
Wednesday's meeting with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius and the members of his government focused on future cooperation with the Commission in the run up to and during the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council.
"This is a crucial visit in the run up to Lithuania's Presidency of the Council in the second half of this year… It comes against the backdrop of a challenging economic outlook and also in a particular moment of the democratic calendar", said President Barroso following the meeting in Brussels.
Lithuania will be at the helm of the Council of the European in the last six months before the European Parliament elections in 2014. In light of this, President Barroso insisted that it is important to conclude the fundamental legislative processes during this Presidency. These include implementation of the Compact for Growth and Jobs, construction of the Banking Union and the 2014 objective of fully completing the EU internal energy market. "Good cooperation of the Council with the European Parliament will be essential and, as always, the Commission is there to help", he said.
He urged the Council and Parliament to "move forward in the negotiations, so that we can have the Multiannual Financial Framework up and running in the schedule in principle agreed".
President Barroso also referred to the Eastern Partnership. "I welcome Lithuania's ambition to give a fresh impetus to this very important European Union policy", he said.
He congratulated the Prime Minister for Lithuania's intention to join the euro area in 2015, adding that fiscal consolidation and structural reforms "will help Lithuania in achieving sustainable convergence and in joining the euro".
Finally, the President welcomed the importance which Lithuania gives to energy challenges, and reaffirmed the Commission's support to Lithuania's ambition to be fully integrated in the EU Baltic region's energy infrastructure.
"I look forward to a fruitful cooperation in the run up to and during the Lithuanian EU Presidency. Let us work together for a stronger Europe", said President Barroso.
A Blueprint for a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union
The Blueprint sets out the Commission's vision for a strong and stable architecture for the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, and the concrete proposals to make it a reality. It presents a clear timeframe for reform in the financial, fiscal, economic and political fields.
The Blueprint was published in November 2012 to help solve the crisis of confidence that has called into question the very existence of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It is a contribution to the ongoing debate on the future of the EMU, building on the important measures already taken to solve the crisis.
The suggested reforms balance the need for more responsibility in the EMU with the need for more solidarity, and could be rolled out, step-by-step, over the short, medium and longer term. Some of the measures can be enacted under the current Treaties and some will require Treaty change.
- In the short term (within 6 to 18 months), we should complete the Banking Union and - once an agreement on the MFF has been reached - create a "convergence and competitiveness instrument" within the EU budget to support the timely implementation of structural reforms. This support could be based on commitments set out in "contractual arrangements" concluded between Member States and the EU institutions.
- In the medium term (18 months to 5 years), a further strengthening of the collective conduct of budgetary and economic policy - including tax and employment policy – could go hand-in-hand with a dedicated fiscal capacity for the euro area, relying on own resources and providing sufficient support for important structural reforms in large economies under stress. Short-term eurobills or a debt redemption fund, subject to strict conditionality, could be also be considered.
- In the longer term (beyond 5 years), based on the adequate pooling of sovereignty, responsibility and solidarity at the European level, it should be possible to establish an autonomous euro area budget providing for a fiscal capacity for the EMU. A deeply integrated economic and fiscal governance framework could allow for the common issuance of public debt. This could be the final stage in EMU.
- Increased democratic accountability must accompany any a treaty change conferring further supranational powers on the EU level.
The Blueprint also feeds into the debate at the European Council, which has agreed on a roadmap for the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union, based on deeper integration and reinforced solidarity.
Since publishing the Blueprint, the Commission has also published two Communications to develop its ideas on the ex-ante coordination of major economic reform plans and on a Convergence and Competitiveness Instrument.
The Communication on the ex-ante coordination of plans for major economic policy reforms, published on 20 March, contains options on how to organise EU-level discussions on large-scale economic policy reforms in the Member States before final decisions are taken at national level.
The reasoning behind this is to properly take into account any positive or negative spillovers of the reforms on other euro area countries early on in the decision-making process.
The Communication on a Convergence and Competitiveness Instrument (CCI), published on 20 March, sets out options for two instruments: contractual arrangements for Member States to undertake specific reforms and financial support to help Member States implement these reforms.
These two new instruments complement the structures that already exist for the surveillance of budgetary and economic policy at EU level, which have been enhanced through the European Semester, Six Pack and Two Pack reforms.
The Commission hosted a high-level conference, 'The Blueprint for a deep and genuine EMU: Debating the future economic, monetary, banking and political union' on 7 May 2013 to discuss the ideas contained in the Blueprint with national and EU-level politicians, social partners, think-tanks and other commentators.
At the conference, President Barroso set the scene for a Europe-wide debate on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, explaining how the "new reality" brought to light by the crisis has made it essential to complete the design of the EMU.
The future of the EMU will be discussed again at the European Council in June 2013, which will decide on concrete measures and a time-bound roadmap.
BOZAR: launch of the "New Narrative for Europe" project
President Barroso participated in the launch ceremony for the project which involves an exchange between the President – accompanied to the occasion by Viviane Reding, Vice-President responsible for Citizenship and Androulla Vassiliou responsible for Culture – and the participants, mainly representatives from the world of culture and intellectuals.
This project will be carried out over three meetings in the form of "états généraux" which will take place in Warsaw on 11 July, in Paris (in the first week of October) and in Germany (date and location to be confirmed).
The aim of the project is to encourage greater involvement of European intellectuals in the creation of a real European public space, such as the President called for in his speech on the State of the Union.
The exercise should lead to the publication of a manifesto by the participants in the "états généraux" meetings and other interested parties, incorporating elements relating to the values, culture and history that represent the connecting link between Europeans, in order to develop a vision for Europe which can be adapted to the current challenges such as solidarity, strengthening the democratic legitimacy of the EU and the role of Europe in the age of globalisation and interdependence.
Read the speech at the BOZAR
Download the programme [4 MB]
President Barroso attends Brussels Think Tank Dialogue
A speech by European Commission President Barroso for the Brussels Think Tank Forum 'State of the Union 2013 – Federalism or Fragmentation: Spelling out Europe's F-Word'.
"A half-hearted attitude towards the project of European integration only serves to strengthen its opponents," President Barroso argued, "to concede the political momentum to those on the side of nationalism and populism. Only by calling it by its name do we get a chance to debate the real issues, to make clear what is behind the word federalism.
"Rather than a threat to Member States, functional federalism as developed throughout European history is also a guarantee for subsidiarity: 'Federalism is in itself a concept with two faces: searching for unity whilst recognising, respecting and reconciling genuine autonomy. At its very core is the idea of unity in diversity. Now, what can be more European than that?
"Institutionally, the EU has developed tremendously during the crisis in order to avert fragmentation. The real risk today comes from elsewhere," the President said: "I am deeply concerned about the divisions that we see emerging: political extremes and populism tearing apart the political support and the social fabric that we need to deal with the crisis; disunion emerging between the centre and the periphery of Europe; a renewed demarcation line being drawn between the North and the South of Europe; prejudices re-emerging and again dividing our citizens, sometimes national prejudices that are simply unacceptable also from an ethical point of view."
Meeting the President of Germany's Constitutional Court
President Barroso received Prof. Dr. Andreas Voßkuhle, President of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court. Their main topic was how to best ensure the respect of democracy and the rule of law in the EU and its member states.
President Barroso reaffirmed along the lines of his 2012 State of the Union address that the EU needs a better developed set of instruments - beyond the alternatives of "soft power" of political persuasion and article 7 of the European Union Treaty – and which is supported and respected in the member states.
President Barroso also made the case for creating a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union, based on the Commission's blueprint of last November, so as to ensure the sustainability of the Euro in the long term.
Beyond that he reminded that the Commission will present its outline for the shape of the future European Union in time for a debate before the next European elections in 2014.
President Barroso and US Secretary Kerry reaffirm transatlantic alliance during chat with trainees
On Monday, some 30 trainees of the European Commission joined President Barroso and US Secretary Kerry for an informal chat on the transatlantic alliance.
The session took place after a bilateral working lunch, where President Barroso and US Secretary Kerry discussed EU-US relations, notably the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement, climate change, visa reciprocity and a data protection agreement. Regarding worldwide stability, they also discussed the situation in North Korea, Iran, the Middle East, Syria and the Sahel.
During the informal chat with the trainees, President Barroso said “we are - the European Union and the United States - closest allies. Our relation is rock solid and today we have exchanged our views on many issues, starting with the economic situation”. Regarding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement, the President underlined the importance of linking the world's two most important economic powers. “I believe we can get a mandate from our Member States [for the negotiations of the Agreement] before summer”, in order to “have this historic game changer agreement ready as soon as possible”, he said.
President Barroso meets Portuguese-speaking African countries plus East Timor Group to discuss future cooperation
President Barroso met today a group of Representatives of the Portuguese-speaking African countries plus East Timor Group. They exchanged views on the results of their last meeting, which took place in February in Dili, and on the concrete plans for future regional cooperation.
President Barroso welcomed today Mozambique's Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Henrique Banze, São Tomé and Príncipe's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Natalia Umbelina Neto and Cape Verde's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jose Luis Rocha. Ms. Brigida da Silva represented East Timor authorities and Ambassadors Elizabeth Simbrão and Alfredo Cabral represented Angola and Guinea Bissau respectively.
During this call, the PALOP-TL Group (Portuguese- speaking African countries plus East Timor) representatives presented the results of their Ministerial meeting, namely their collective intention to reinforce the cooperation programme around the common and shared objectives of the "Agenda for Change": sustainable and inclusive development and democracy.
The representatives said the Group will adopt a more focused approach regarding the 11th European Development Fund, concentrating resources in two main areas: inclusive human development and governance.
President Barroso thanked the Group for giving the results of the Ministerial meeting and confirmed his political will to strengthen PALOPs-TL as a regional group. He encouraged the swift operationalisation of the Group in order to ensure more effectiveness, impact and visibility. He also welcomed the Group efforts to reform its own governance structure and cooperation tools for an effective use of available funds.
Statement by President Barroso on agreement in EU-facilitated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo
"I applaud the breakthrough by Serbia and Kosovo in their EU-facilitated dialogue. This is a historic agreement, which must now be implemented quickly. I congratulate the leaders of both sides on their commitment, courage and vision."
"I would also like to commend Cathy Ashton for her tireless efforts in her role as the facilitator and to congratulate her for successfully building consensus.
I am confident that the agreement reached between the two sides will pave the way for the Council to take decisions on the next steps on the European path of Serbia and Kosovo. The people of Serbia and Kosovo want to move forward and make their European perspective a reality. This is crucial for the stability, security and prosperity of South Eastern Europe and of the European Union as a whole."
President Barroso announces extra € 30 million for maternal health in Ethiopia
President José Manuel Barroso on Thursday welcomed Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn to Brussels. The Prime Minister had chosen the EU for his first official visit. The President took the opportunity to announce the allocation of an additional 30 million euros for maternal health in Ethiopia.
During the bilateral talks between President Barroso and Prime Dessalegn, the political and economic relations between the EU and Ethiopia were discussed, as well as regional security challenges.
President Barroso noted that the EU's relationship with Ethiopia is today a more mature relationship, underlining "it's not just of course development assistance, it's much more than that. It's also political cooperation, it's also what we can do together to tackle some common challenges".
The European Union and Ethiopia have substantial and diversified economic and trade relations. Europe is the destination for over 40 % of Ethiopia's exports, making the EU the most important trade partner for Ethiopia.
President Barroso underlined that the EU is "ready to support the [Ethiopian] Government in its long-term vision leading to growth and increased investment". He said the European Union "fully supports Ethiopia's efforts to join the World Trade Organisation".
The President also congratulated Ethiopia on the country's progress in poverty reduction and Millennium Development Goals achievements, and he announced further development cooperation with Ethiopia.
"We look forward to continuing this good cooperation throughout the next 11th European Development Fund, which will apply as of next year, with an even stronger focus on health issues. It is my pleasure to announce today that the European Union has already now agreed to an additional allocation of € 30 million for maternal health", he said.
Furthermore, the President also commended the Prime Minister on Ethiopia's important and positive role on a number of regional issues and crisis situations in the Horn of Africa and beyond.
"As chair of the African Union, Ethiopia will represent Africa at the G20 summit and during the climate negotiations, key issues for the European Union where we share a strong agenda with our African partners", the President said.
Letter from Commission President Barroso to President Anastasiades of Cyprus
President Barroso has replied to the letter he received from President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, regarding EU funding for Cyprus.
Read the letter [154 KB]