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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Heinz Fischer, President of Austria
Joint press point
Brussels, 15 September 2010
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to welcome President Fischer here in Brussels. I really want to thank him for the honour he gives us. In fact, President Fischer has chosen Brussels for his first visit after his re-election for a second mandate as President of Austria and I think I can see in this gesture a very strong signal of his deep commitment to our European values and our European Union.
We had very substantial talks today, covering a wide range of issues. I was with several colleagues of the Commission and in fact we had a very informal presentation of some of the most important points that are in today's European agenda
We did of course speak about the economic situation in Europe. The outlook today is – fortunately - better than one year ago. And that is partly because of the decisive action we took together on European level. The European Union has clearly proven its added value. The crisis has shown that people can trust the European Union to do what it takes to secure a better future.
But let's be clear: Our work is not finished. There is no room for complacency. We have learned hard lessons. We must accelerate our structural reform agenda, which we also spoke about today. We spoke about the need to keep our efforts.
We have also discussed the situation in Austria. Austria is a country in Europe that has better figures in terms of unemployment so we also believe that all efforts have to be kept in all our Member states in terms of fiscal consolidation, in terms of structural reforms.
We have also discussed the economic governance. As you know the European Commission has tabled a number of ideas over the last months which are the basis for our discussion. We are making good progress on economic governance and will make key legislative proposals on 29 September to reinforce our common rules, with better surveillance and clearer incentives for compliance.
We also need stricter regulation of financial markets: Just today, the Commission adopted a key package regulating derivatives trading, tackling credit default swaps and banning abusive naked short-selling.
We all share an interest in creating a more robust framework in which our aims of stability, growth and jobs can be properly pursued.
It is therefore important that we agree and implement these new rules rapidly!
Three quarters of our citizens want stronger economic coordination on EU-level. The people of Europe know that their Union is a protective force in difficult times. This is particularly true for an economically successful country as Austria, which has benefitted so much from being a member of the enlarged EU.
We also discussed a number of energy issues today. We have discussed also the enlargement of the European Union. We spoke also about the agenda of tomorrow's European Council.
One point on which we can say that we agree is that Europe must show leadership and political will. We have discussed the Lisbon Treaty and the treaty is extremely important, but the treaty to be really translated into reality, it needs the political will of the institutions and the Member states. I see a great degree of convergence between the views of Austria and the Commission. I really want to thank President Fischer for his commitment.
We had a very open discussion about precisely this – the need of a political commitment at all levels for Europe, not only the European institutions, but also the member states, and I once again want to thank him for the visit and honour he gave to us by coming so soon in the second mandate to the European Commission. I look forward to continue working closely with President Fischer and with the Austrian government.