José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Introductory remarks at a joint press point with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Meeting of President José-Manuel Barroso and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Berlin, 11 June 2010
It is a pleasure to be here once again in Berlin and to have the opportunity to discuss with Chancellor Merkel the most important issues on the European agenda.
The Chancellor and I see eye to eye on what needs to be done.
Our priority is putting order into our public finances. We need fiscal consolidation and a new financial stability culture in Europe.
We need structural reform to increase European competitiveness. Only with fiscal consolidation and with structural reform can Europe achieve its goals of a social market economy and to keep this social market economy for the benefit of our citizens.
There is new awareness in Europe that rules have not been respected and must now be respected. Circumventing the rules is not a "Kavaliersdelikt" (trivial offence). It is putting at risk our collective economic future. We need to move in the opposite direction. We need to strengthen our rules and the way the EU runs its economy.
The Commission has put proposals on the table on reinforced budgetary surveillance. I believe consensus is building around these proposals in the EU and we will take it one step further. This will further underpin the strong fundamentals of the European economy and the euro.
Let me wholeheartedly thank Germany and Chancellor Merkel for their strong support to ensure the stability of the euro, showing both responsibility and solidarity.
Budget cuts and structural reforms are not an end in themselves. They are a means to prosperous growth. We need to regain the confidence of citizens and markets. Without that confidence, we will not have growth and employment.
On macro-economic surveillance, I am confident that we will make progress towards the concrete measures that will allow us to track developments in the economies of each Member State that could endanger their competitiveness, and to give us the tools to address them when needed. This is important, because we need to avoid imbalances to build up.
Another point on which I believe the Chancellor and I strongly agree is the need for increased competitiveness. We need structural reforms and macro-economic surveillance, but we also need to invest in new sources of growth. This is precisely one of the main goals of the Europe 2020 strategy that I believe will be supported in the next European Council.. It provides the right recipe. In a spirit of partnership, Member States and the European institutions should reform our economies to focus them more on new sources of growth, on innovation, research and education; we must tap the full potential of renewable energy, and re-launch our Single Market. In doing so, social cohesion and inclusion will be key.
At the same time we should pursue our roadmap for financial regulation and supervision. That is going to be one of main topics in the G20, where I am sure the European Union and the European Member States will be there together to express with a strong voice our European commitment for a fundamental reform of the financial sector globally.
I am confident that Europe will succeed. We are working hard to solve the problems we are facing. Germany as the most important economy is giving a very important contribution to this. I believe together the European institutions and the Member States can and will succeed. I am confident about this.
Thank you !