EU leaders met in Brussels, where they signed Association Agreements with Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine and designated Jean-Claude Juncker as next Commission President.
"Let me begin by expressing on my own behalf and on behalf of the European Commission my congratulations to Jean-Claude Juncker on his nomination by the European Council as President-designate. I have known Jean-Claude Juncker for more than 20 years. We have been working in very many capacities together and I really believe that he is a committed European and a political leader with exceptional experience. Myself and the Commission will do everything possible in the coming months to assure a smooth transition between this Commission and the next one."
The President continued by saying that the European Council had "also given a clear direction for the policy agenda for the years ahead, so fulfilling the norm inscribed in the article 15 of the Treaty. I believe the strategic priorities adopted are the right ones. They are important because it is critically important that the three institutions, the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission have a common understanding of the challenges ahead.
We have discussed particularly today what is related to growth and jobs. We believe that is the best way to respond to the concerns express by our citizens, to have concrete results for growth and for jobs. I'm therefore pleased that the European Council concluded successfully the so-called European semester. Our European economic governance, a partnership between European institutions and national governments that precisely are a new expression of joint commitment to adopt together the economic issues.
The European Council has generally endorsed the country specific recommendations put forward by the European Commission. Now, full national ownership is essential if we want to be successful. I welcome the discussion and the confirmation of the commitment of all the leaders of the European Council to our fiscal rules, stability and growth pact. This is the cornerstone of economic governance in Europe. Those rules are precisely designed for boosting growth and jobs, both today and tomorrow, and where necessary they will have the flexibility to take into account the economic situation of the country concerned. "