The European Council on the 24th and 25th October hosts a debate on the digital economy in Europe. Internet and e-services create five jobs for every two lost even in times of high unemployment. It is self-evident that the single market and the digital economy reinforce each other. Buying goods and services is much easier online – but it is also easier to spot where the single market is not working and to see the cost of fragmentation. The European Commission has prepared a paper proposing measures to address failings of the Digital Single Market.
Europe's digital challenge [2 MB]
In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Barroso made a rallying call to 'all those that care about Europe, whatever their political or ideological position, wherever they come from, to speak up for Europe'.
In his speech at the press conference President Barroso underlined that today's recommendations are part of our comprehensive strategy to move Europe beyond the crisis.
Ahead of the European Council, President Barroso addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He stressed energy and the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion as the two main topics of the Council meeting.
Ahead of the European Council President Barroso sent a letter to the members of the European Council stating: "We are not yet out of the crisis, as the unacceptably high levels of unemployment show, but we can see that the reform efforts of Member States are starting to bear fruit, correcting very important imbalances in the European economy."
At the Europe 2020 summit President Barroso set out the EU's approach to facing up to our economic challenges: confidence and competitiveness are the keys to long term sustainable and inclusive growth.
President Barroso stated that a fair assessment of the agreement between the Heads of State or Government should recognise that this deal is not perfect but it offers a basis for negotiations with the European Parliament.
EU's response to the crisis is advancing and it is time to turn commitments into reality. With the implementation of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, the negative link between bank debt and sovereign debt must be definitely broken; at the same time, Europe needs a long-term vision for the sustainability of the economic and monetary union, based on deeper integration, the integrity of the Single Market and a credible fiscal capacity.
President Barroso calls for a federation of nation states and announces blueprint for deeper economic and monetary union. In his annual speech on the State of the Union, European Commission President made a strong case for new direction and a new thinking for Europe.
"On September 12, the Commission will present its proposals for a Single Banking Supervisory Mechanism."
"The Commission’s upcoming proposals are part of a broader package leading to economic, fiscal, and political union that will redefine the boundaries of European integration."
At the June 2012 European Council, Heads of States and Governments and the European Commission discussed the EU’s strategy for growth, combining both immediate measures to kick-start the economy and a long-term vision for a stronger European Union. In a speech held before the European Parliament, EC President José Manuel Barroso summarises the main elements of the EU’s response to the crisis and for future growth.
President Barroso outlines the analysis and proposals on the pressing priority of restoring growth in Europe, stressing that the future EU budget must be a growth budget. A copy of his presentation to the European Council can be found here
In a statement following the discussions on the global economy and the European debt crisis, President Barroso welcomed the G20 leaders' recognition of the EU's efforts to deal with the crisis and pointed at the G20 support for further European integration.
"We have made a health check of the budgetary and economic situation in each of our 27 member states. And we have proposed a treatment – specific recommendations for the reforms that need to be made to deliver stability, growth and jobs."
We will not have sustainable growth as long as we have unsustainable debt. We are starting to see a rebalancing of the European economy. Deficits are falling across Europe and this is the best way to build confidence and cut borrowing costs. We must remember that every euro we save on servicing debt is a euro available for jobs and investments.
The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso presented tonight to the Heads of State and Government the initial results of the joint action teams to tackle high levels of youth unemployment. The review demonstrates how European Union money is being used to get people in work and training.
On 9 May the College of Commissioners discussed a paper entitled “Time to decide: action for growth, action for jobs”. After the debate, the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso said: "We have a twin track approach of stability and growth that has been always at the heart of our response. Now, firstly there must be no let-up in our focus on stability. Reducing debt and deficits is essential to build confidence and cut borrowing costs. Every euro spent on interest payments is a euro less for jobs and investment (…) Secondly, there must be acceleration in structural reforms. Member States should reduce taxes on labour to stimulate job creation (…) Thirdly, we need to step up investment. And if we are serious about investment for growth, we need to agree an EU budget for the next seven years that shifts the focus of spending to growth enhancing measures."
President Barroso presented in the European Parliament the outcome of the spring European Council, namely on Greece and on measures taken to encourage financial stability and job-creating growth through the Europe 2020 agenda.
President Barroso expressed his belief that "Together with other treaty or legal instruments from the six-pack to the ESM, from the Europe 2020 Strategy for growth and jobs to the structural funds, we will succeed in combining stability and growth."
In his keynote speech President Barroso talked about the serious structural challenges Europe is facing. These can only be addressed by moving ahead with profound reforms, building on national efforts, while being "truly European" and building on Europe's assets
Youth employment, the completion of the single market and support for small businesses - President Barroso informed the Heads of State and Government on the main actions proposed by the European Commission to support growth: fast-tracking the Single Market Act, streamlining European Social Fund spending aimed at creating jobs for young people and targeting funding towards SMEs.
Statement of President Barroso: "This Agreement can be an important tool in building a solid stability and growth agenda based on the Europe 2020 strategy and also on the Roadmap presented by the Commission."
In the European Parliament President Barroso described the international agreement as an essential element of a larger package of actions to respond to the sovereign debt crisis, including a strengthened and anticipated European Stability Mechanism, which is urgently needed for the stability and cohesion of the Euro area.
Speaking in the European Parliament plenary debate on the start of the Danish EU Presidency, President Barroso expressed his conviction that Denmark would make a decisive contribution to the common European project. The President recalled the Commission's view of a comprehensive crisis response, going beyond fiscal consolidation and underlined the key importance of implementing the measures in the Europe 2020 strategy.
Fostering competitiveness and employment, financial stability and sustainability of public finances is crucial in order to reach the Europe 2020 goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. President Barroso presented progress on implementing the Euro Plus Pact and emphasised its importance in getting the European Union out of the crisis
In his speech in the European Parliament on economic governance, President Barroso confirmed that the Commission would bring forward the adoption of the 2012 Annual Growth Survey, setting out the EU's policy priorities for growth and jobs for the next 12 to 18 months.
Europe's GDP has grown by more than 30% in the last 15 years, with 23 million new jobs – and there is room for more. Stronger emphasis is needed on R&D, cutting red tape and facilitating access to credit for businesses. Manufacturing can still play a major role in driving the EU economy, especially in green technologies, where Europe is a world leader. Better education and a higher level of employment are also key factors, and structural funds are able to make a major difference, stressed President Barroso.
A year after the Commission presented a package of six legislative proposals to strengthen the economic governance of the European Union and of the euro area in particular, an agreement has been finalised. In his statement President Barroso outlined the benefits arising from the agreement.
The European Union is faced with an unprecedented economic and financial crisis. Greater cohesion and coordination are needed to deliver new and more sustainable growth with a minimal social impact. Attending the European Council, President Barroso presented the conclusions of the first European Semester, an annual cycle of economic policy coordination aimed at reaching the overarching objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.
President Barroso stressed that with the publication of 27 country-specific recommendations, the Commission has taken another decisive step to support each Member State in delivering growth and jobs – putting the EU economy back on track.
After the end of the Spring European Council President Barroso expressed his satisfaction that the monetary union is now reinforced by a closer economic union.
President Barroso reiterated that Europe 2020 is about creating a Europe that benchmarks itself on the best in the world. He stressed that the Pact for the Euro makes a clear reference to Europe 2020 and elevates to the highest political level a set of concrete measures from the strategy in order to ensure their immediate implementation.
Cheaper, greener, more plentiful energy and world-leading innovation are two of the EU's major challenges. Energy expenditure accounts for 2.5% of EU's GDP and 80% of its greenhouse gas emissions. President Barroso emphasised that coordinated policies are needed to increase energy efficiency, create a European energy market and decrease the EU's dependence on outside supplies. Investing 3% of Europe's GDP in research and innovation would ensure that the EU maintains its edge in smart growth.
Background information on innovation [430 KB]
President Barroso presented the Annual Growth Survey which marks the start of the first "European Semester" and gives a clear direction in which Europe should be heading in the next year.
President Barroso defined the proposals as the biggest step forward on economic governance since the Stability and Growth Pact measures and expressed his belief that they will mark a sea change in the way economic governance is dealt. The Commission's role is to make sure citizens are not paying taxes today for little or no return tomorrow.
President Barroso expressed his content with the Council agreeing unanimously not only on the broad lines, but also on the concrete targets for this Europe 2020 strategy for growth and employment in Europe.
President Barroso presented solutions, included in the Europe 2020 strategy, on how to get Europe out of the crisis. He stressed that action will be taken at the European level, but that the fact that reforms will have to be made in each of our 27 Member States was equally important.
President Barroso emphasised the importance of all European institutions, Member States, social partners, regions and all other stakeholders working together in the best possible way so as to build a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy with high levels of employment.
President Barroso stressed the importance of reaching an agreement among EU leaders on clear targets for the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Growth based on knowledge and innovation, an inclusive high-employment society, a competitive and sustainable economy: these are the priorities of Europe 2020, the Union's strategy for sustainable growth and jobs, which President Barroso presented to the informal European Council.