José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement at the final press conference of the European Council
Brussels, 26 March 2010
This Summit has done what every European Council should do: respond to the needs of the moment and work on Europe's long-term future. I want to underline the point hat President Van Rompuy just made: it was a very successful Summit. Not only because of the historical agreement reached yesterday on Greece and for the financial stability of the Euro area – the agreement reached in the Euro zone, but also because of the longer global challenges that we have addressed today: G-20, climate change and also our new strategy for sustainable growth and jobs, the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Regarding Greece, I just want to underline the point that I now hope that financial markets act on fact not on fiction. I think it was a very important decision the one reached yesterday by the Euro Zone.
On Europe 2020, I am delighted that we have an agreement based on the Commission proposals. We have now set the agenda for a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe.
We will deliver on it through by focussing on five concrete targets. One target focused on employment, another on R&D, a target related to energy and climate action, a target related to education and the other one related to poverty and the fight against social exclusion.
We agreed to do further work between now and June, especially on the education and the poverty targets. Our goal is, by June, to have not only the overall European targets but also national targets that should be consistent with the European targets. I think it is very important also to come to a concrete agreement on these two targets, education and the fight against social exclusion, because they also give to our common strategy the social dimension that it is required.
On climate change, I am also pleased at the strong consensus to keep climate change at the top of our agenda, in Europe, and globally. It was a very fruitfully discussion about the way to proceed forward. In fact, we are now in touch with many of our most important partners, there are consultations, and I think we can build on these consultations for Europe to keep the lead in this very important issue.
On G20, President Van Rompuy asked me to present the state of the preparations for this G-20.
The European Union can take a large share of the credit for giving the impetus to the G20 and feeding its ideas. In fact, it was a process that started, at summit level, by initiative of the European Union. I believe it is critically important the unity of all of us in the G20. We have to represent the 27 member states as well.
For the agenda of the G-20, I will keep making the case for openness and cooperation within a level playing field. To sustain the exit means supporting global recovery and putting the financial markets on the sound footing they need. This is in the best interest of Europe and the global Community.
That is why before Toronto we should have agreement on some of the key financial services regulation files (hedge funds, bank capital, CRD). And of course it is essential to agree on the supervision package so the authorities can be up and running from 2011.
I think it is very important that Europe concludes its own work, so that we can go to Toronto and show to our partners what we really have already done in terms of regulation and supervision, so that we are in the position to have a real level playing field globally. At the same time, it is very important hat leaders in G-20 do not water down their ambitious.
There are some worrying signals: we see that since the crisis it is not so acute as it was some time before, there is not probably the same commitment from all the parties to keep the emphasis on financial reform supervision and establishing this level playing field also fighting protectionism.
It is important to have some new ideas. We are working on them, namely I think we should push the G-20 forward addressing the burden of bank repair, including through levies on banks to feed resolution funds and derivatives.
These are both areas where the EU is well placed to put fresh ideas on the table.
From the European Commission's point of view these were the most important points of this European Council and I want very sincerely congratulate Herman Van Rompuy because of the way he has led this European Council was of course very important for the great success we have achieved today and yesterday.