Headlines June 2012
GAC prepares the way for June European Council to discuss next stage of European economic integration
At the last General Affairs Council (GAC) of the Danish EU Presidency on Tuesday, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič took part in the debate on the preparation for this week's June European Summit, which will adopt the Commission's country-specific recommendations on actions to create economic growth and discuss ambitious proposals for closer economic union.
The Commission's proposed multi-annual financial framework (MFF) – the next long-term EU budget – was also discussed by ministers ahead of the meeting of heads of state and government on Thursday and Friday in Brussels, and VP Šefčovič once again defended the Commission's position, particularly on key areas such as financing for the European Social Fund and climate action.
Slovakia's commitment to meeting the targets set out in the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth and the European Commission's recent country-specific recommendations can serve as an example to the rest of the EU, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said on Monday.
Speaking a conference on Europe 2020 in his home country, alongside Prime Minister Robert Fico, V-P Šefčovič warned that Member States must not make the same mistake as they did with the Lisbon Strategy, the previous jobs and growth programme, which failed to meet its targets because of a lack of real implementation at national level.
"Let's not fall into that trap once again – I am sure we won't, as the crisis has helped to sharpen the focus on the need to push through the reforms," he said, underlining the recent calls from Member States for more growth-friendly measures to sit alongside the austerity.
A busy day in Berlin on Thursday gave European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič the opportunity to discuss the ongoing euro crisis with MPs and other senior government figures ahead of this month's European summit.
V-P Šefčovič's first meeting was with Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief European policy advisor, Nickolaus Mayer-Landraut, with whom he discussed preparations for the Summit, agreeing in particular on the need to focus the debate on boosting growth and jobs.
This was followed by equally fruitful discussions with MPs Peer Steinbrück and Michael Meister on the euro crisis. Steinbrück is a former German finance minister and senior SPD party member, while Meister is the finance spokesman for the CDU, and both MPs shared VP Šefčovič's determination to find a lasting solution to the crisis, and that Germany, as the eurozone's biggest economy, will have a key part to play in that process.
A new transparency portal launched by Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on Thursday will make finding information about decision-making in the European Commission even easier. The new site is easy to navigate and for the first time groups together the various access points for different varieties of information and documentation.