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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso at the final press conference following the European Council

Final joint press conference with Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council

Brussels, 17 December 2010

We end 2010 with a European Council that has delivered the right results.

This morning we have confirmed the important agreements reached yesterday during the open discussions about the current economic situation. We have taken in the euro area several important concrete commitments:

  • The support to Greece and Ireland. We recognise they are delivering the necessary reforms. They are making important progress.

  • The need for all member states to tighten their budgets to respect all the measures that have been announced.

  • Also the need to go on with our growth enhancing reforms. This is the best way to boost growth

  • We are also amending the rulebook to bring debt and imbalances back under control.

  • The need also to give the adequate financial support for the instruments we have for the euro and our commitment to do so.

  • And also the need to clean up the banking sector and to introduce stricter rules, and better oversight and transparency.

Those were I believe important conclusions.

All of this is what we mean when we say we will do whatever is required to support the euro area financial stability and that was a solemn declaration, but not just a solemn declaration, but also declaration with a concrete commitment.

Those commitments come on top of the agreement reached yesterday on the permanent mechanism and also the limited treaty change that enables the introduction of the permanent mechanism for financial stability.

Today we also had a good discussion on strategic partnerships. In 2010 we held Summits with all our strategic partners. Our leverage and focus has improved. I can say that the Summits were successful and we reached a turning point with the quality of some of those relationships.

There are still lessons to be learned. Both the EU and Member States need to act in a more coordinated way to increase our weight in strategic negotiations. We also need to improve synergies between our policies, including the external dimension of our internal policies. It is important to define the main objectives and secure the best trade-offs for the whole European Union. I think we also had today a good discussion on those points following the report made by Cathy Ashton.

I would also like to mention the agreement reached today to give candidate status to Montenegro following the Commission's recommendation. This is a strong signal of our commitment to the future of the Balkans.

I also want to signal the fact that the European Council welcomed the successful outcome of COP16 in Cancun as an important step forward in global efforts to reach the agreed objective of staying below 2°C increase in global temperatures.

Finally, I would like to thank the Belgian Government and particularly Prime Minister Leterme for their effective Presidency and the truly Community spirit they have shown. I think it was a very important contribution for our common project.

And very final words, Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!

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