EXME 13 / 11.09
11 / 09 / 13
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'.
Exactly five years after the fall of Lehman Brothers, the President's speech recalled what has been achieved since then. 'If we look back and think about what we have done together to unite Europe throughout the crisis, we would never have thought all of this possible 5 years ago,' he concluded, 'What matters now is what we make of this progress. Do we talk it up, or talk it down? Do we draw confidence from it to pursue what we've started, or do we belittle the results of our efforts?'
The President pointed out a number of recent figures and evolutions that give Europe good reason to be confident. 'For Europe,' he said, recovery is within sight. Of course, we need to be vigilant. But it does prove we are on the right track. This should push us to keep up our efforts. We owe it to those for whom the recovery is not yet within reach, to those who do not yet profit from positive developments. We owe it to our 26 million unemployed.'
President Barroso delivered an appeal for more European integration in the face of global developments: 'In our world of geo-economic and geopolitical tectonic changes, I believe that only together, as the European Union, we can give our citizens what they aspire: that in the age of globalisation our values, our interests, our prosperity continue to be protected and promoted.'
In times of change and crisis, he noted, hard questions are asked of political institutions across the world, 'Europe is not alone in having to adapt to that. Indeed, when we see the masses of demonstrators in emerging countries, we see that they are now facing a number of problems we have solved in the past. This is the challenge of our times. This is the challenge also for Europe - a challenge we can only meet if we strengthen the consensus on our fundamental objectives'.
The bottom-line question in the debate going on all over Europe, President Barroso argued, is: 'Do we want to improve Europe, or give it up?'
'My answer is clear', he continued: 'Engage! If you don't like Europe as it is: improve it! As any human endeavour, the EU is not perfect. Controversies about the division of labour between the national and European levels will never be conclusively ended. Not everything needs a solution at European level. Europe must focus on where it can add most value. It does not have to meddle where this is not the case. The EU needs to be big on big things and smaller on smaller things.'
At the same time he made it very clear that the work on deepening the economic and monetary union remains as valid as ever: 'There are areas of major importance where Europe must have more integration, more unity. Where only a strong Europe can deliver results. A political union needs to be our political horizon. This is not just the demand of a passionate European. This is the indispensable way forward to consolidate our progress and ensure the future.'
In recent years financial markets have become increasingly global, giving rise to new trading platforms and technologies. This has also led to new possibilities to manipulate these markets. The European Parliament voted today to formally endorse the political agreement on a Regulation on insider dealing and market manipulation to tackle market abuse more effectively.
Commissioner M. Barnier said : "With the agreement, the rules will be extended to capture abuse on the electronic trading platforms that have proliferated in recent years. Abusive strategies through high frequency trading will be clearly prohibited. Those who manipulate benchmarks such as LIBOR will be guilty of market abuse and face tough fines. Market abuse occurring across both commodity and related derivative markets will be prohibited, and cooperation between financial and commodity regulators will be reinforced".
Animal Health: Commission provides financial support to 4 Member States to combat African Swine Fever
A EU co-financed programme amounting to almost 2.5m EUR for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to prevent African Swine Fever (ASF) was yesterday endorsed by Member State experts meeting in the Standing Committee for Animal Health and Welfare. The programme focuses on key preventive measures which include cleansing and disinfection of vehicles, surveillance and laboratory testing, awareness campaigns and even the use of wild boar repellents and preventive early slaughter of pigs in risk backyard farms, in the spirit that "prevention is better than cure". Recent outbreaks of this disease in Russia and Belarus constitute a threat to the EU pig holdings. ASF could enter the EU through illegal introduction of pig products, such as pork, via contaminated livestock vehicles or the migration of infected wild boar. This infectious disease is usually fatal and no vaccine exists to combat this virus. Its spread into the EU would cause important losses to the pig sector and disrupt the internal market and exports for live pigs and porcine products. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/asf_en.htm
Animal Health: Commission continues co-financing voluntary surveillance studies on honeybee losses
The Commission has earmarked a co-financing of around €1.84 million to extend for another year, the surveillance studies carried out in 2012-2013 to support Member States who are voluntarily undertaking these surveys. This co-financing was yesterday endorsed by Member State experts meeting in the Standing Committee on Animal Health. Their aim is to gain a better understanding of the extent and reasons for honeybee colonies losses. It is important to collect comparable data in the years to come in order to build a better picture of the complex reasons for these losses. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/bees/index_en.htm