College visit to Denmark, 11 – 12 January 2012
Fiscal discipline is indispensable for Europe. But that's not enough.
The European Commission meets the Danish government in Copenhagen at the start of the Danish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The programme comprises a plenary meeting and different working sessions to discuss the implementation of the main priorities. These include financial stability and the creation of growth and jobs, for example through deepening the Single Market, green growth and energy efficiency. The College of Commissioners will also attend a luncheon hosted by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe as well as the opening of an exhibition on Europe's relations with the world in the Danish National Museum. On 11 January there is a press point of the President and Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt, and on 12 January a joint press conference by the two. President Barroso emphasised that Denmark can be a bridge between the euro area and non-euro area members and praised the pragmatic approach and European commitment of Denmark.
In a press door step on the first day President Barroso thanked Danish Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt and her government for the warm welcome and said: "Let me tell you that we very much share the priorities of the Danish Presidency for a more dynamic, more open, safer and greener Europe. And I believe that these tasks are going to be delivered during the Danish Presidency. We very much support you, Prime Minister, in your commitment to this kind of Europe – a Europe that is closer to citizens. As I said before – the Danish Presidency comes at a very crucial moment for the European project. We have to show to our citizens concrete results in their daily lives. There are also some risks here and there of fragmentation. We want all the Member States to be involved in our common purpose and I count on Denmark for building bridges, consolidating this kind of unity and we will work, of course, loyally and very closely with the Danish Presidency to make this presidency a success for Denmark and a success for Europe."
Updated 12 January
At the end of the Commission's visit to Copenhagen and after a meeting with the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, President Barroso said: "We have been both standing on the deck discussing big political issues, and in the engine room to look at how we can work together for concrete results for our citizens". He stressed that "the Presidency and the Commission fully agree that fiscal discipline and sound public finances are indispensable for Europe. But that is not enough! Discipline is indispensable but growth is also necessary."
The President underlined that "the structural reforms boosting competitiveness and measures enhancing growth are as important as putting our public finances in order to restore confidence. This is what the Commission has consistently advocated and insisted on in its comprehensive approach to the crisis."
He stressed that: "growth is within our reach, if we can break down the barriers that stop money, services and people flowing through our Union as they should. And the fact that Denmark puts the deepening of the Single Market and green growth at the heart of its presidency is crucial to ensure we will succeed." The President also outlined that the EU's future Multiannual Financial Framework should be discussed as part of a contribution to growth. He ended by praising the determination of the Presidency: "With this commitment, underpinned by its action at home, Denmark can be a bridge at European level and also a role model."