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José Manuel Barroso

President of the European Commission

Presentation of the Working
programme of the German Presidency

European Parliament
Strasbourg, 17 January 2007

Zunächst möchte ich ganz herzlich Frau Bundeskanzlerin Merkel begrüßen und ihr und ihrer Mannschaft allen Erfolg für die Ratspräsidentschaft wünschen; und dann möchte ich noch einmal Hans Gert Pöttering zu seinem neuen Amt beglückwünschen. Sie beide werden auf die volle Unterstützung der Kommission zählen können. "Europa gelingt gemeinsam".

(Let me first welcome Chancellor Merkel and wish her and her team all success for their Presidency, and also welcome Hans Gert Pöttering to his new seat. You will both enjoy the full support of the Commission).

2007 is a crucial year. Our 50th anniversary is a time to celebrate past achievements, and to build on those achievements to the benefit of a new generation of Europeans. A generation for whom Europe's original rationale is in the past, but for whom Europe can and does offer so much for the future.

It is a happy coincidence that the anniversary falls during the German Presidency. Many of our core policies – the euro, cohesion, the internal market, enlargement – owe much to Germany. As we have just heard from Chancellor Merkel, the commitment of Germany to Europe remains as powerful as ever.

The German Presidency offers an opportunity to demonstrate why the European Union matters so much in the age of globalisation. Let us take the March European Council. The Commission's proposals last week on energy and climate change form a central part of the Lisbon agenda for growth and jobs.

These are issues which touch the lives of every European. Where Europe must continue to show leadership. And where the European dimension is absolutely essential. You cannot tackle global warming; you cannot deliver sustainable, secure and competitive energy, without Europe.

What must be agreed at the European Council in March?

Firstly, the strategic goal of agreement by developed countries to cut their emissions by 30% by 2020, essential to ensure that global temperatures exceed pre-industrial levels by no more than 2°C.

Europe must continue to lead, and to provide an incentive for others to follow. The leadership comes with the EU commitment now to at least a 20% cut in emissions by 2020; the incentive by making clear that we will go further if others join us. It is, after all, global warming not European warming.

Secondly, three pillars to deliver our objectives of sustainable, secure and competitive energy.

A single market in practice as well as on paper, to give real choice to EU energy users and to trigger investment. This will require a clearer separation of energy production from energy distribution, and stronger independent regulatory control with a European dimension.

The Commission also makes proposals on improved interconnections, on transparency, and on a new Customers' Energy Charter.

  • A 20% target for energy efficiency by 2020, with detailed proposals for how to get there.
  • A new drive for clean energy, through a binding commitment to triple renewable energy use by 2020; a 50% annual increase in the energy research budget; and commitments to advance clean hydrocarbon technology. There is a role for the European Institute of Technology in this.

It is essential to hear the Parliament's voice on these issues in the run up to the March European Council. The EU could find no better way to launch its anniversary than by showing its ambitions for the future.

This is the first part of the twin track approach, of policy delivery for Europe's citizens, alongside working towards an constitutional settlement; starting with the Berlin declaration, which the Commission proposed last May, and the European Council agreed in June.

The Berlin Declaration is an opportunity for the Member States to commit themselves to the values and aims of the European Union.

It must look forward and deliver a political statement about the Europe we want for the next fifty years. It must fully involve the Parliament and the Commission.

It provides an opportunity for the twelve member states that joined in 2004 and 2007 to contribute, as full members, to the vision of our common future.

It is appropriate that the Declaration, a declaration for the future of Europe, will be signed in Berlin, the symbol of a reunited Europe.

What should this Declaration say? I think today's leaders should stand on the shoulders of the founding fathers, and look ahead to the next 50 years. To the challenges which could not be imagined in 1957 but which Europe must face in 2007. Put simply, to equip Europeans for globalisation, in a Europe of open economies, open societies, in a Europe which must engage with citizens, not ignore them. A Europe built on citizens' consent has solid foundations. A Europe which does not work for that consent is built on sand.

I have five concrete proposals for the Declaration.

(i) Solidarity. An enlarged and open Europe requires greater cohesion – social cohesion as well as economic.

(ii) Sustainability. The fight against climate change, through energy and other policies, should be a defining mission for Europe's future.

(iii) Accountability. Transparency and access to information should become not only rights for European citizens but also obligations for Europe's institutions.

(iv) Security. Europe must guarantee the security of its citizens whilst preserving fundamental freedoms.

(v) Promote Europe's values in the world, as well as its interests. Sustainability, accountability, solidarity, security cannot, indeed must not stop at Europe's borders.

Chancellor, Honourable members.

Five specific suggestions for the Berlin declaration. A declaration which should create the momentum to settle the institutional question. Chancellor Merkel has set out the Presidency's ambitions. We need, by the end of the Presidency, a common road map towards an institutional settlement, before the next European elections in 2009.

But we need not just the road map. We need the settlement; to clear the clouds of doubt which hang over parts of Europe, to show vitality and confidence to our partners, and to make the European Union more transparent, more effective and more democratic. As I have said before, Nice is not enough.

We cannot build tomorrow's Europe with yesterday's tools. We have a great opportunity to start changing that in the next six months. Let us go to work.

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