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EU leaders back Commission growth ideas
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Published on 24-05-12

EU leaders at their informal summit on 23 May backed European Commission proposals to boost growth and jobs by new investment in infrastructure and SMEs. EC President José Manuel Barroso welcomed this and added: "we want Greece to remain in the Euro area, we stand by Greece." 

EU leaders endorsed the Commission's proposal for project bonds to enable the EU to raise low-cost finance for major investment projects. Member States have agreed to launch a pilot phase, where €230m (£185m) from the EU budget will be used to lever in up to €4.6bn (£3.7bn) in total investment.

    EU leaders back Commission growth ideas

    Mr Barroso also welcomed EU leaders' broad support for increasing the capital of the European Investment Bank (EIB). An increase of €10bn (£8bn) would allow the EIB to increase its lending capacity by €15bn (£12.1bn) a year for the next four years to around €65bn (£52.3bn) per annum. The Commission chief described this as: "a very cost-effective way of increasing investment in SMEs and in infrastructure."

    He announced that the EC's joint action teams with the eight countries with the highest levels of youth unemployment had redirected €7 billion of funds to support youth employment, helping 470,000 young people – over half of them in Greece - to find work and get training.

    The EC President said economic policy for emerging from crisis was not a question of choosing between stability and growth: "To achieve growth we need fiscal consolidation, we need structural reforms for competitiveness and we need targeted investment."

    Mr Barroso also told the media: "Today the European Council sent a clear message to Greece – we want Greece to remain in the Euro area, we stand by Greece. We expect that Greece also stands by its commitments and that the authorities of Greece will respect those commitments. We stand ready to continue our support through the structural funds and other European instruments."

    For more details and the full speech, please see President Barroso's website:

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