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EU takes a series of key decisions on jobs, SMEs, budget, banks, farms and more
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Published on 28-06-13

EU leaders at the 27-28 June European Council summit in Brussels gave their backing to measures proposed by the European Commission to help tackle youth unemployment and increase lending to SMEs. The Commission's country specific recommendations on economic policy, issued at the end of May, were endorsed.

    EU takes a series of key decisions  on jobs, SMEs, budget, banks, farms and more

    The summit backed the agreement on the framework for the EU budget for the period 2014-2020, announced after discussions on the morning of 27 June between Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

    The summit also confirmed Latvia's entry into the euro on 1 January 2014 and agreed – just three days before Croatia's entry into the European Union - to start negotiations with Serbia by January 2014 with a view to it joining the EU.

    These decisions followed hard on the heels of Finance Ministers' agreement on the eve of the summit on a common approach to failing banks, without relying on taxpayer funded bail-outs. EU leaders called for that approach to be finalised by the end of the year in agreement with the European Parliament. 

    President Barroso said that the Commission would within two weeks present its proposal for the next step in developing a full banking union, a Single Resolution Mechanism. "This is about making sure that it is the banks who pay for their own mistakes and not citizens", he said.

    Also on the eve of the summit, the European Parliament and Member States had reached final agreement, in discussions brokered by the European Commission, on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. Agriculture Commissioner Ciolos described the agreement as "the beginning of a paradigm shift" towards a greener and fairer CAP.

    23.5% of Europeans under the age of 25 (approximately 7.5 million) across the EU are currently out of work, making action essential and urgent. Leaders agreed that the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) would be fully operational by January 2014, allowing the first investments in EU regions experiencing youth unemployment rates above 25% to be made. EUR 6bn (£5.2bn) are to be allocated to the initiative in 2014-15 and in subsequent years any budget surpluses can also be allocated to tackle youth joblessness.

    The YEI will complement and help deliver the Youth Guarantee, whereby Member States have agreed to ensure that all unemployed young people should get a genuine offer of a job or training within four months of becoming unemployed.

    The new help for SMEs will take the form of additional support from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the scale and impact of which will be maximised by guarantees offered to investors in securitised portfolios of existing and new loans made by banks to SMEs. The guarantees will be part funded from EU Structural Funds – as well as from EIB funds - and will be conditional upon the banks providing substantial new loan facilities. The effect should be to generate at least EUR 55bn (£47bn) and up to EUR 100bn (£86bn) in new loans.

    On Latvia's forthcoming entry into the euro area, President Barroso said: "Not long ago, many people were talking about the euro area breaking up. What we are seeing is exactly the opposite."

    This summit also marked the end of the Irish Presidency. President Barroso congratulated the Taoiseach on his "dedicated and highly competent team" and the "really impressive" results it had achieved.

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    Last update: 28/06/2013  |Top