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SPEECH/ 09/548

José Manuel Dur ã o Barroso

P resident of the European Commission

Statement of President Barroso at the press conference following the European Council extraordinary Summit

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

European Council extraordinary Summit

Brussels, 19 November 2009

First of all, thank you very much. First of all my congratulations go to Fredrik Reinfeldt, because as know, some days ago there was a lot of speculation on how difficult it would be, and in fact it was a decision by consensus and that was possible also because of the great leadership provided to the Council by Fredrik Reinfeldt. And I want to give you a gift as a souvenir. Some days ago in a press conference here in Brussels I receive d from a group of innovators this Rubik cube, and I said that to find the solution for this Rubik cube, with all the countries of Europe, and it was Mr Rubik himself, the man who invented the cube was one of my advisers for the European Year for Creativity and innovation, and I said it would be as difficult as solving this. But you have found it, and now I give you the Rubik cube with the three key posts, the President of the Commission, the President of the European Council, the High Representative / Vice President of the Commission, as a souvenir of your great work, Fredrik, in achieving this result.

I also wanted to tell you how happy I am with this selection of leaders in our Union for the Future. The first President of the Council, the first High Representative / Vice President of the Commission with the new Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty. I warmly congratulate Herman Van Rompuy and Cathy Ashton. I think it would be impossible to have a better choice of personalities for the European Union leadership. I also think it is fair to say that it is also a tribute, a tribute to Belgium. We are here in Brussels, the host country is Belgium, a founding member of the European community and when selecting the current Belgium Prime Minister, a man of great qualities as Herman Van Rompuy, I think the European Union also expressed its gratitude to the work of Belgium, the constant support that this country, the heart of Europe, been giving to our common project.

I think it's also very significant that the first High Representative / Vice President of the Commission is Baroness Ashton, I usually call her Cathy. It's the only Baroness I can call Cathy. And that she comes from Britain, because we believe that it is so important that Britain remains at the heart of our project. And Cathy Ashton brings the global vision that Britain has but also this community spirit. I have seen it in the Commission where Cathy is my colleague and I can tell how whole heartedly I support this decision of the European Council nominating her as the first High Representative with so important responsibilities linking competences of the Commission in external affairs with the competences of the Council, she'll be also the President of the Council of foreign affairs.

So to both of them, my warmest congratulations.

I also extend my congratulations to Pierre de Boissieu, a very important "Haut fonctionnaire", in the great spirit of the French administration, but with a community spirit that has been serving the European Union for so many years.

I also want to say a word of recognition and pay tribute to Javier Solana that has been replaced now in those important functions and that has been giving so much of his life and his experience to our common European project. We all express him our great recognition.

And let me tell you now, institutionally, as President of the European Commission, that I will work in full loyalty with the President of the Council. The European Council becomes a full institution with the Lisbon Treaty. And I believe it is so important we have strong institutions in the European Union, each one of them performing its role. At the same time in interdependence with all the others but in full respect of the competence of each one. And I am sure that Belgium Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompuy, also because he has that great experience of consensus that is indispensable in the Belgium politics, will give that contribution with an intelligent wise leadership to the European Council that needs consistency all the time.

So I'm very happy. I wish you all the best my dear Herman, my dear Cathy.

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