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SPEECH/ 09/335

José Manuel Dur ã o Barroso

P resident of the European Commission

Remarks by Commission President José Manuel Barroso at the beginning of the G8 summit

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Press conference

L'Aquila, 8 July 2009

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

I am pleased to represent the European Union at a G8 summit – this time alongside PM Reinfeldt as President in office of the European Council.

Here in L'Aquila Europe wishes to offer leadership and inspiration in tackling challenges ranging from financial markets supervision to sustainable climate policies to world trade.

This summit is the moment for further engagement and commitment. We must quickly implement the reform of the global financial system. We must take decisive action to counter climate change. And we must reaffirm and make good on our commitments to the poorest of the world – in a spirit of global responsibility and solidarity.

This year's G 8 summit takes place in particularly difficult times.

My benchmarks for success are the following:

We must make decisive progress on climate change.

We are only some 150 days away from Copenhagen. We should not forget that we have to make progress now to enable us to seal the deal there in Copenhagen.

We will insist on the need to respect the 2° C target. We will reiterate the need for a global goal of achieving at least a 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050. This in turn means that developed countries must reduce emissions by at least 80% in the same period and underpin these efforts through robust and comparable mid-term reductions.

A key part of the solution will be financing of the fight against climate change: the EU will come forward with proposals in good time on financing, and we are ready to play our full part.

As the largest contributors to past emissions, developed countries have a special responsibility to take the lead. But this is not going to be enough. The emerging economies, for example, where growth in emissions is surging, must also join in the effort. We must all do our part, in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

The road of the European Union is the road to Copenhagen. We want our global partners to join us on this road to a new era of stronger energy security and green sustainable growth.

We must also deliver progress on food security:

The crisis strikes hardest those countries which are the most fragile.

The 150 million people lifted out of poverty since the start of the millennium risk to slip back into poverty.

More than 1 billion people have not enough to eat.

We should not, cannot and will not let recession be an excuse for breaking promises on development aid.

The EU is committed to keep its promises on aid: The EU is by far the biggest aid donor in the world already. This position is maintained despite the crisis, with the EU delivering €49 billion in 2008, almost 60% of global development assistance.

We have agreed in Toyako last year to take all possible measures, and leaders committed to mobilise $10 billion for food aid and support to agricultural production.

The EU alone has disbursed more than $ 4 billion and committed more than $6 billion for food assistance and agricultural production between January 2008 and July 2009. In addition, upon my initiative, we have agreed and are implementing 1 billion EUR of food facility for agriculture in developing countries.

But we can move further in L'Aquila – I expect us to agree on a Joint Statement on Global Food Security, setting out an agenda for the coming years at the global level. I am happy to see world leaders joining the approach I advocated one year ago: Moving from food aid to food security.

From the EU side we remain committed to food security and this will translate to around additional 1 billion EUR per year up until 2011 at least.

We must deliver progress on financial regulation: The G8 must reaffirm the commitments made by the G20 in Washington and London, review the progress in terms of implementing them and advance the preparations of the G20 in Pittsburgh in September. Again, the EU has shown considerable progress in establishing a complete reparation and overhaul of our financial system.

We must also deliver progress on trade: I hope we can make progress towards a balanced and comprehensive conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda. A clearly defined time-table for this would be essential. For me, this means 2010. It is a realistic target to achieve the Doha Development Agenda.

And we must also deliver progress on employment and poverty: Unemployment and poverty are rising everywhere. It is almost sure that the social impact of this crisis is going to last longer than the financial and economic crisis itself.

I therefore call on world leaders to "put people first" and take action.

We must devise social and employment policies that help protecting people and jobs with a view to promoting economic recovery and the establishment of a new, equitable, open global framework.

The global crisis makes it obvious to all that the world is one. It has never been more necessary for world leaders to team up to find global solutions. I am confident that we will make important progress in L'Aquila.

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