José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement following the meeting with Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Ansip
Joint press point
Brussels, 24 March 2010
It is a pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Ansip back to Brussels. We have been working very closely in many important issues, not only for Estonia but also for the European Union and I want once again publicly to congratulate him for his commitment to the European Union and for the very close way in which we have developed this cooperation. I think it has been beneficial for Estonia and also its inputs have been very important in many discussions that we have had in the European Council in the past. I am sure that this role is very appreciated in the present and in the future.
Economic issues have been the main topic of our discussion. We have discussed the preparation of the European Council and the importance of reaching agreement on the headline targets for the Europe 2020 strategy at the Summit. I want to thank Prime Minister Ansip for his support to the European strategy that the European Commission has put forward.
We have also discussed the euro. In all the debate on stability of the eurozone, the Prime Minister's visit is a perfect reminder that there is support for the Euro. The willingness of Estonia to join the Euro is a real and concrete demonstration of the importance that the Euro has for all us in the European Union.
I share the Prime Minister's desire that Estonia will join the eurozone next year in 2011.
I want to acknowledge Estonia's commitment to prudent economic policies, especially the strong efforts that have been made in recent turbulent times. These efforts are bringing the country close to meeting the Maastricht convergence criteria. I urge Estonia to make a final push to obtain euro entry.
On 17 March 2010, the Commission adopted a recommendation on Estonia's convergence programme. The economy is currently emerging from a severe recession. While decisive fiscal consolidation implemented in 2009 helped to adjust public finances to projected lower medium-term growth, work needs to continue to achieve the target of budgetary surpluses in the medium term.
The forthcoming regular convergence Report to be adopted on 12 May 2010 will be a key milestone. I want to make clear that Estonia will be judged on the basis of its own performance. Recent developments in other eurozone member states will not influence the Commission's assessment on Estonia.
So I believe Estonia is on track and moving in the right direction. I want to congratulate the Prime Minister and Estonia once again for his excellent cooperation and the commitment to our common European agenda.