The economic crisis has prompted intense and sustained action by the EU's national governments, the European Central Bank and the Commission. All have been working closely together to support growth and employment, ensure financial stability, and put in place a better governance system for the future.
The Council approved the EU's general budget for 2012, as agreed with the European Parliament
within the Conciliation Committee on 18 and 19 November.
Today, only 4 months after Commission's proposal (IP/11/942), the European Parliament agreed to supplementary EU co-financing to countries facing particular difficulties in managing public debt/deficit and ensuring financial stability. The Commission proposal was part of the package adopted on 1 August to increase the EU co financing in cohesion, fisheries and rural development policies for countries that have received financial assistance under the balance of payments support mechanism (Romania, Latvia and Hungary) or under the European Financial Stability Facility (Greece, Ireland and Portugal). The agreement by the Council, which will complete the adoption process, is expected to take place soon.
Mr Barroso said: "there are moments in time when history accelerates, when we reach crossroads, when uncertainties are high, when we have to embrace change, overcome the status quo and take critical decisions that will reshape our environment.
Overcoming this crisis is our first priority. This is essential for our economies, for our citizens, for our social model but also for our foreign policy. As you know well the attractiveness of our model, the strength of our currency, and the size of our internal market are Europe's best assets when facing today's world.
Our challenge is to allow the European Union to maintain its place and its political and economic influence in a world where geopolitical, geo-economic and geostrategic realities are undergoing profound changes."
Mr. Rehn discussed the preparations for next week's European Council with this House on behalf of President Barroso.
The Eurogroup meeting will start on Tuesday 29 November at 17.00. The European Commission will be represented by Vice President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro Olli Rehn. A press conference is expected to take place after the meeting.
The European Commission today adopted a measure to reinforce investment in businesses in all Member States through financial engineering instruments. The aim is to use structural funds as a guarantee for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to gain access to credit. The new measure allows investing in enterprises at any stage of their normal business activity and not only at the time when they are established or are expanding, as was the case until now. This measure is of particular importance in times of lack of liquidity for enterprises and public budgetary constraints.
The European Union and the United States have just concluded a very useful, substantive and rewarding meeting. The European Union and the US are longstanding partners and staunch allies. The transatlantic relationship is indispensable to tackle the common challenges that we face. We have just reaffirmed our determination to work closely together for the stability of the global economy and for the benefit of our peoples.
"I welcome the agreement presented today by Mr Elio Di Rupo today on the measures to underpin the Belgian federal budget with the aim of bringing the general government deficit to 2.8% of GDP in 2012, as recommended by the EU Council, and of paving the way for further consolidation in 2013 and 2014.
Mr Di Rupo's announcement that the budget law should be worked out very soon is equally important, as it should provide for a swift and full assessment by the European Commission under the excessive deficit procedure''.
The Green Paper published by the European Commission today structures the political debate in the EU on the rationale, pre-conditions and possible options of financing public debt through Stability Bonds. Such common issuance of bonds by the euro-area Member States would imply a significant deepening of Economic and Monetary Union. It would create new means through which governments finance their debt, by offering safe and liquid investment opportunities for savers and financial institutions and by setting up a euro-area wide integrated bond market that matches its US Dollar counterpart in terms of size and liquidity.
The Annual Growth Survey spells out our view of the policy priorities in the coming 12 months to restore macro-financial stability and rekindle growth. Two proposals for new regulations will strengthen fiscal surveillance in the euro area. The feasibility study on stability bonds examines the potential benefits for financial stability of jointly issues bonds and the precondition for their issuance.
In the coordination of fiscal policies, a new element is recognised this year in the AGS: Tax policy is fundamental for economic recovery. Moreover, the quality of taxation will determine whether we sink or swim.
Europe is going through a very difficult period. We must provide a convincing response to the crisis. Yet the need for fiscal consolidation is limiting Member States' room for manoeuvre to introduce new stimulus programmes.
The package the Commission has adopted just today is about stability and further strengthening economic governance. It is about the short and the long term prospects for our Union and the euro, our currency. We believe that we will only succeed in re-establishing confidence if we recognise that the current crisis demands not only emergency measures but also lasting solutions to the structural challenges that this crisis has been exposing.
As employers, you need to know concretely where Europe is heading. You need a predictable planning horizon in order to be able to contribute to growth and jobs. This is also our interest in the European Commission, and I will present to you our plan. But before doing so, let me say a few words about the current situation in Europe's economy.
The Commission today unveiled two additional pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening the surveillance mechanisms and promoting further economic integration and convergence in the euro area. The two proposed Regulations build on what was already agreed in the ‘Six Pack’ set of legislative measures which will enter into force in mid-December.
The Green Paper published by the European Commission today structures the political debate in the EU on the rationale, pre-conditions and possible options of financing public debt through Stability Bonds
The President stressed his confidence that Italy was taking the right steps to tackle the challenges that face it, and that he knew Mario Monti to be "a competent, experienced politician, a very committed Italian and European."