Other available languages: none
José Manuel Dur ã o Barroso
P resident of the European Commission
" Plenary debate on the October European Council"
Strasbourg , 21 October 2009
This European Council should have been able to give the finishing touches to the Treaty of Lisbon, the final decisions to see it pass into force. We have learnt to be patient with the Treaty. But patience also has limits.
For many years, we have known that ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon is not an easy business. We have had many setbacks, some disappointments. But every time, the overriding case for the Treaty has won through, the compelling case for a more democratic and effective Europe.
I am confident that this will continue to be the case in jumping this final hurdle to seeing the Treaty enter into force. After the strong support by the Irish people and the completion of the ratification process in Poland, the only hurdle remains the finalisation of the procedure in the Czech Republic. The constitutional procedures under way in the Czech Republic must be respected.
So too must be the need to respond to the democratic will to see the Treaty in force, to have no artificial obstacles and no artificial delay.
I have already set out to this Parliament the importance of minimising delays in the nomination of the European Commission. However, we must do all we can to have a Lisbon Treaty Commission. These are critical times for Europe: we need to be able to push ahead with the agenda this Parliament supported when you elected me as President-designate for a new term. To achieve this, we need a strong and coherent Union.
So I again make clear that the European Council must take its responsibilities. There must be a recognition of urgency, a realisation that there will be a real cost to Europe for as long as the EU Institutions cannot function properly.
Treaty implementation – EEAS
At the same time, it is right now to push ahead with the work on implementation and to be ready for entry into force of the Treaty. I know that this Parliament is fully committed to this work, and I am pleased to be working with you to ensure that the benefits of the Treaty will come into play as quickly as possible.
There are many areas in which this Parliament has already begun to work and made a major contribution, crystallising ideas in areas like the European Citizens Initiative.
I know that this afternoon, you will be debating Elmar Brok's report on the European External Action Service. The report starts from exactly the right basis: how to ensure that the Service, like the rest of the Treaty's innovations, makes our Community system even stronger and better performing.
I know there have been concerns from the first that the EEAS will be some kind of inter-governmental body floating outside the EU system. But the Service will be firmly anchored in the EU system. It should inevitably work very closely with all the institutions, the Commission first and foremost. The decisions it prepares will be taken by Commission or Council (on CFSP).
In fact, I am convinced that its success will depend on this, to ensure that the EU's external action is more than the sum of its institutional parts. If it can work with the democratic underpinning of this Parliament, the Council's connection with national administrations, and the Commission's expertise and European vision, it can truly become a powerful tool for the EU to achieve its goals on the global stage. A "communautaire" EEAS will be a strong EEAS.
At the same time, this European Council must take forward an active policy agenda. We must maintain the momentum of our work to address the economic crisis, mainly its impact on unemployment. We must carry forward the work we agreed at the G20. We need rapid agreement on the Commission's proposals on financial supervision. We must drive on our programme to address energy security. I would like to pay tribute to the Swedish Presidency for its determination not to be distracted from these essential steps towards addressing the concerns of our citizens.
I would like in particular to say a few words about the progress towards the Copenhagen summit in December.
A successful outcome at Copenhagen remains a primary concern for Europeans, and a major test for the global community.
There are less than 50 days to go to Copenhagen. Progress in the negotiations remains slow. It falls again to the EU to show leadership, and to keep up the momentum.
The targets we have put on the table have provided an inspiration for others to step up their actions. But we all know that to galvanise real global action, we need to take a further step. We need to help developing countries with concrete ideas on finance, as the Commission proposed last month.
We estimated that by 2020, developing countries will need roughly an additional €100 billion a year. Domestic finance and the carbon market should cover a large part of this. But large-scale international public finance should also be forthcoming, with the EU paying its fair share. Copenhagen is not just about climate change, it's also a development agenda.
This will be a major commitment, especially in times when public budgets are already under pressure. But we all know that the longer we wait, the higher the costs.
The task for the European Council is again to find creative solutions to show that the EU is united behind the need to flight climate change. First that Copenhagen must show that the drive to cut emissions is on its way: second that we are prepared to help those ready to take that step.
This is the best way to make the case for the kind of active Europe that the Treaty of Lisbon will bring: driving ahead with an agenda that shows how the EU brings concrete benefits for European citizens. But to achieve this, we need the right Institutions. And that brings me back to my first point: the Lisbon Treaty. This Treaty is the first Treaty of the enlarged EU. It provides the right framework for the 21 st Century. We need functioning institutions to find lasting solutions. But institutions are not enough: we also need the political will to act. Copenhagen will be a test case.