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Renewal of Europe – President Barroso on Europe Day

© EU

On Europe Day, the 62nd anniversary of the Schuman declaration and beginning of European integration, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso participated at the WDR Europaforum 2012, a traditional event, meeting for the 15th time, which annually gathers leading figures from the European public to discuss top issues on the European agenda.

Afterwards he spoke about European values at a festive event of the European People's Party. In the afternoon the President attended the The State of the Union Conference in Florence, Italy. In his speech, which concluded the first day of the event, he said: "At a time when a so-called decline of Europe is widely discussed in Europe and beyond, it is the appropriate place to remind us that decline and renewal are two of the greatest and intertwined themes of our European culture and history. And the European Union has always been able to cope with crises and emerge from them stronger and more united."

The President continued: "We are showing the way out of the crisis while building a sustainable, inclusive, fair and competitive social market economy for the 21st century Europe. The Commission has front-loaded all the issues that have dominated the European agenda over the last two years - from better economic governance and regulation of financial markets to supervision of fiscal policies; from the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs to our proposals for a 2014-2020."

He concluded by naming concrete key sources which can kick-start growth in Europe – completion of Single Market, making the most of global trade (instead of giving in to the temptation to close the doors) and targeted investment, such as through the Commission's proposed Connecting Europe Facility or project bonds initiatives. He called on member states and all key European partners to speed up the implementation gap in order to release the full potential of the initiatives that have been put forward.

Read the full speech from the State of the Union conference

Watch footage from the doorstep with President Barroso in Florence

Watch the video from WDR Europaforum

Watch the video from State of the Union conference in Florence