José Manuel Dur ã o Barroso
P resident of the European Commission
S tatement of President Barroso at the European Council
Brussels, 10 December 2009
Thank you very much . I think that Prime Minister Reinfeldt has presented a very good summary. Prime Minister Reinfeldt has the privilege to be the last President of the European Council under the rotating system, and at the same time he has been today the first President of the European Council after the Lisbon Treaty was approved.
It was a very useful, very constructive meeting. I am looking for ambitious conclusions tomorrow. As Prime Minister Reinfeldt said there were many issues. On the economic issues there was a very open discussion, already in this format, the 27 Heads of States and Governments plus the President of the Commission on the main challenges for our economy. As you know the European Union has recently launched a consultation paper on the future European Strategy, the EU 2020 Strategy to feed this debate, and today we had the first exchange. Today, Herman Van Rompuy announced during dinner that he will call a European Council informal meeting at the beginning of February to discuss economic strategy, and we have agreed on important points; we need to have a global strategy, we need to link our exit strategy from the crisis now, with the need also to create new sources of growth, new sources of competitiveness for the European economy.
It was an excellent discussion about the priorities for the midterm evolution of the European economy.
During the working dinner there were in depth discussions for Copenhagen, and I am very happy with the conclusions. The conclusions are in line with the leadership position that the European Union has been taking on this issue. We will need first to understand that it is much better to protect the planet than to repair it afterward. It is less expensive to protect the planet now than to repair it later. That's why I think it is a very good progress, the one we have seen this evening on fast start financing.
Just yesterday I spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Zenawi from Ethiopia who is coordinating the African position. In fact we have discussed this also during dinner how important it is for the developing world to have some concrete help from the developed world in terms of adaptation. And this is indeed crucial because when you speak about Copenhagen most people speak about the United States, China and Europe. Some people tend to forget the poorest, the most vulnerable African countries, small island states. And without our support to those world partners there will not be an agreement in Copenhagen.
That is why if tomorrow the European Union and certain heads of government come with an important commitment in terms of fast start financing I think that it can be great contribution for the success of Copenhagen. We just explained that this offer is conditional, real efforts on mitigation and adaptation have to be made . The European Union, I am happy to say, is providing a leadership to these talks, we were the first to adopt binding targets for ourselves and we are ready to go to the upper proposal to 30% if the others make comparable efforts. This was confirmed and reconfirmed today. So we want Copenhagen to be a success, we are making everything we can to make it a success.
I think if we react on all these fronts – on concrete targets of reduction of greenhouse gases but also on timing the right finance, both fast track financing but also medium term financing, I think we are giving the decisive contribution for the success of Copenhagen. What I really expect to see in the conclusion of the European Council and next week in Copenhagen.