José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement following the meeting with David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Joint press point
Brussels, 17 June 2010
Good morning ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to welcome David Cameron to the Commission. I have received him here before but this is the first time as a Prime Minister. I wish him all the best and for Britain as well. I look forward to working with him in the coming years. I greatly value this relationship. I firmly believe that the United Kingdom has a crucial role to play in Europe with a positive agenda for reform.
We fully agree that our joint priorities must be on restoring sound public finances, increasing competitiveness, investing in areas that generate future growth and building also trustworthy financial markets. That is what we want from the European Council today.
Our task is to regain the confidence of consumers and investors. This can only be done if all governments show they are serious about putting order into their public finances by accelerating the pace of budget consolidation and structural reforms. We must avoid a decade of debt and must build a generation of growth. I want to pay tribute to the efforts that the UK Government coalition is taking. We believe they are exactly taking the right medicine for the situation.
At the same time, budget cuts must not mean that growth is stifled. Growth is the key. Growth is our main concern and growth should be the main priority. And without confidence we will not have growth. That is why public finances are also fundamental. Growth must also come from addressing the roots of our lack of competitiveness and making better use of the internal market. At European level we believe it will also come from public spending in a sound budgetary framework on all areas that are strategic for future growth, which is exactly what the Commission's Europe 2020 strategy is about.
I firmly believe that if we address the bottlenecks in the internal market and promote competition, if we agree on better regulation, if we generate new growth areas like renewable energy and digital agenda and if we open up new markets with free trade agreements, then we have a real chance to generate sustainable growth.
We have also discussed the need for reform of the financial markets. We want strong financial centres in Europe, including, of course, in London. We want open financial markets and competition, but it must be responsible, transparent, fact-based. That is why we need effective supervision and sensible regulation. I hope that today's Summit will give a real push to agreement on our timetable of reform.
Our citizens want us to concentrate on substance not on more discussions about institutions or processes. I am not interested in a Brussels power-grab. I want to see the European Union give value added. I think it makes sense in the age of global interdependence that we act together in a more coherent manner and I look forward to working with the Prime Minister to do exactly that.