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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

President Barroso’s press conference at the G8 Summit

G8 summit in Toyako,
Hokkaido, Japan, 8 July 2008

I am very happy with the important achievements agreed at this summit. On key issues for the global community, the Toyako G8 Summit is showing leadership and determination by the world’s major economies to drive forward ambitious global solutions.

We have moved towards real action on climate change here in Toyako. The EU's benchmark for success at this Summit has been achieved. We remain on track to reach a global climate deal in Copenhagen in 2009. We have agreed a long-term goal of at least 50% reduction of emissions by 2050. We have also agreed that we should set up mid-term targets, as the EU is already establishing for 2020. We remain on track to reach a global climate deal in Copenhagen in 2009.

I have been pleased to see a new, shared vision by the G8 members on the climate challenge and I am also pleased to see the G8 willingness to share this vision with other countries within the UN framework. The first occasion will be when we meet in outreach formation tomorrow. As I have said before, the science is clear and the economic case for action is stronger than ever. A global challenge needs a global response. Now we need to move fast and work hard to secure an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen that will enable the world's nations to rise to this challenge together.

We need these ambitious targets. Why? Because targets provide transparency, a basis for political accountability and certainty for business.

The EU will deliver on the ambitious targets we have set, in particular in the climate action and energy package proposed by Commission.

How can I be so confident about this? For three reasons:

- because there is so much more awareness of the costs of non-action, and the awareness of the benefits of first mover advantages. The political commitments made so far have generated strong business confidence in the carbon market. It is possible to have both more growth and to take action against climate change.

- because, also from an economic point of view, the fuel price has made it so clear that we have to move. At $140 a barrel, the annual savings from our package are estimated to be as high as 80 billion euros.

- And also because my colleagues in the Council are very determined to deliver under the French Presidency.

Most of the themes we have discussed at the summit are linked, one way or another to climate change. The EU has designed a comprehensive policy package to address the European and the international dimension of rising food and fuel prices.

Our climate action and energy package will further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through diversification of energy sources while promoting energy efficiency. This matters greatly to our citizens: their energy bills will become more manageable as cars and houses become more energy efficient. We very much support the G8 conclusions on energy efficiency and in particular the idea of the G8 Energy Forum.

Climate change also affects directly the work on MDGs. It has in many ways made the MDGs harder to deliver - by diverting resources to adaptation, for instance. But we have to respond by making climate change a priority in our work with Africa, as the European Union is doing in the EU-Africa Partnership, and in the Global Climate Change Alliance.

The reality is that we can and must deliver on the MDGs. Since 1999, there are 29 million more African children in school. But we have to work to achieve this. If you want just one concrete example of our discussions this week, it can be summarized as working out how we get the rest of Africa’s children into school by 2015, and what this means in terms of action by 2010.

Finally, it means an inevitable focus on resources. Again, the EU is ready to deliver: half the increases in the EU’s collective ODA will be allocated to Africa, which means that the EU is on track to provide more than 90% of the G8’s $25 billion pledge, a pledge I am glad we have restated this week in the G8.

We have discussed challenges facing world economy, including both trade and investment. We have agreed to stress the urgency of the conclusion of the Doha Development Round. The world economy needs a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced agreement. In 2 weeks, Ministers meet in Geneva. This may well be the last opportunity we will have to secure a deal. We should not miss it. I’m happy to say that there was a real concern about this.

The gains for the global economy – developed and developing economies - are unquestionable. But more than that: we are laying the foundations of tomorrow’s global economy.

The alternative is an uncertain world, probably with more trade disputes, with the prospects of an agreement running into the sands for two years at least and perhaps permanently. The failure of Doha would be a political failure of our capacity to conduct the international system which will make it harder to tackle other global challenges like climate change.

But in order to reach a balanced and comprehensive agreement, there was a strong consensus that we would need the emerging countries to make a real contribution on NAMA and services. The Doha Round is not just about agriculture.

So the basic underlying theme of the summit was how we respond to global challenges – notably climate change. And we have had results which are better than could have been expected.

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