José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement of President Barroso following the Tripartite Social Summit for growth and employment
Joint press conference
Brussels, 28 October 2010
Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen,
I greatly welcome this opportunity of the tripartite social summit. It is an opportunity for a true and intense dialogue between the EU institutions and the European social partners.
I agree with what President Van Rompuy said on the situation. We are better now than last year. There is no room for complacency - the recovery is uneven, the unemployment is still very high even it is not growing now. We need to learn the lessons of the crisis and one of the lessons of the crisis is that the positive responses of the European Union were only possible because we have acted together in close partnership between the European institutions, the governments and the European social partners. I think we need to re-inject this confidence. We may sometimes disagree on some of the responses, of course I cannot claim that employers and trade unions have agreed on all matters, but I think we should agree on the need to restore growth and jobs in Europe. Certainly with confidence there is a better chance to achieve that result.
We at the Commission have started to deliver on our growth enhancing agenda. We have taken very important initiatives, for instance yesterday we have adopted a Communication on the re-launch of the Single Market. There is enormous potential of growth of the Single Market and untapped potential there. The Single Market is Europe's cornerstone, this is the element that is common to all the 27 countries and all of us are consumers and if we have an agenda that responds to the concerns not only of the consumers, but of our companies including also small and medium size companies, and also to the concerns of our workers, our trade unions, I think it is a very important driver for growth. By the way it is a taxpayer-friendly growth. We can, without increasing the burden on our taxpayers, have more growth coming from the deepening of this internal market. We need a modern, open and relevant single market so that we can keep and develop our social market economy, making it more competitive because competition is coming from all parts of the world.
Yesterday's Communication is opening a wide public consultation. I look forward to receiving the feedback of the social partners before we adopt the Single Market Act at the beginning of 2011.
Also yesterday and today we are launching an industrial policy initiative. It is important to know that we support very actively the industrial dimension. Sometimes people believe that services is the cornerstone. Industry remains very important in Europe. That is why we want a modern industry in the age of globalisation.
So, we are working on fiscal consolidation including economic governance, but we are also working on growth and jobs creation, namely through the Europe 2020 agenda. One thing is sure, we will succeed only if we act together.
Today we have had a very interesting discussion - for instance on the need to support SMEs. I welcome what the President of the small and medium size enterprises said about the progress made recently, our small business act, the late payments directive to make life easier for small companies.
I also welcome what was said by the trade union side and also Business Europe side in terms of the need for a budget of Europe. We need investment at European level as well because without some kind of coordinated investment at EU level we will not have growth. One thing is sure, we need to work together in partnership and the Commission remains firmly committed to social dialogue. Today it was an important step in that dialogue. We also encouraged the involvement of social partners in national policy making and in developing of the national reform programs that were agreed as part of the Europe 2020 agenda.
Thank you for your attention.