José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement at the European Council press conference
Brussels, 17 June 2010
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,
I am extremely pleased with the decisions we have agreed today in the European Council. This European Council was about coming together to get the basics of the European economy right for growth.
In Europe and globally, the key is growth. In Europe, sustainable and inclusive growth must be built on sound finances. Fiscal consolidation and structural reform are essential for growth. Consolidation is necessary for confidence and without confidence there will be no growth. And we must focus on the key drivers for future growth – eco-innovation, digital agenda, new skills. This is exactly what we have put forward in our Europe 2020 strategy and I am extremely happy that the European Council has agreed unanimously not only on the broad lines, but also on the concrete targets for this Europe 2020 strategy for growth and employment in Europe.
We have also discussed of course other issues, namely the points on economic governance. You remember that the European Commission has put some ideas on the table on economic governance on 12 May. There has been very fruitful work in the Task Force chaired by President Van Rompuy. In fact today we have already had an agreement on some of the most important orientations in terms of economic governance in Europe and I have announced that the Commission is ready to further fast-track its work with more detailed proposals on 30 June and other proposals by September. We believe it is important to conclude this work as soon as possible so that we can have a new system ready for the beginning of the next year.
We are also playing our role to the full on the stress testing of banks. I have made a strong plea to make the results public on a bank by bank basis. I welcome the European Council agreement to do so. This should reassure investors by either lifting unfounded suspicion or by dealing with the remaining problems that may exist. If state intervention is needed, this will be examined in a timely manner under the community rules.
I have also called on member states and the European Parliament to reach agreement on the Commission's financial supervision package by the summer. All parties need to show flexibility We cannot afford delay in putting an effective supervision system in place. I look forward to progress in the coming days.
I also believe that the mandate agreed today gives us a clear and united European position for the G20. We are sending a clear signal to citizens and to the markets and also to our partners: we will consolidate our budgets and reduce our debt, without strangling our economies and putting people's well-being at risk. On financial reform, several key measures are in force. Today we have agreed that Europe will finish the job by the end of 2011. And we hope to see the same degree of determination from our global partners. We have decided to come together to G20 with a position for bank levies and also with a proposal for the introduction of global financial transaction tax that should be explored and developed further in the overall efforts.
I also want to congratulate Estonia. Estonia has met the criteria for joining the euro. And also to express my satisfaction with the fact that our opinion on the Iceland request for a membership to the European Union was very much welcomed by the European Council.
Today, the European Council has rolled up its sleeves and shown we can act together when there is a joint political will by the Member States and the European Institutions. We are on the case and delivering.
Let me also conclude by thanking Prime Minister Zapatero and the Spanish Government for the very successful contribution they gave to this semester. It was by all means an exceptional situation, the one we are facing. And I think it was very important not only to the substantive matters, but also precisely as President Van Rompuy said, because it is the first time we have this kind of model under the Lisbon Treaty. And I like on a personal and political basis to thank Prime Minister Zapatero and Spain for the great commitment to Europe they have shown.