José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso at the press conference in advance of the G8 Summit in Deauville
G8 Summit, joint press conference with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy
Deauville, 26 May 2011
Je suis heureux d'être ici à ce sommet du G8 de Deauville, qui se déroule à un moment crucial. Nous allons discuter pour la première fois des événements qui ont secoué l'Afrique du Nord et le Moyen-Orient, ainsi que les conséquences des terribles catastrophes au Japon.
Permettez-moi de féliciter le Président Sarkozy et la présidence française du G8 pour la qualité des préparations. Je salue également le fait que la France a mis, pour la première fois, l'Internet à l'ordre du jour du G8. Nous connaissons tous l'importance jouée par les réseaux sociaux et les médias digitaux comme vecteur de changement et de mobilisation pour la liberté. Nous l'avons vu récemment dans les événements dans la Méditerranée du Sud.
Je partage entièrement la vision du Président Sarkozy et je soutiens sa proposition que dorénavant l'internet doit avoir sa place au G8. A la Commission européenne, nous en avons fait la première initiative phare dans notre stratégie européenne 2020 pour la croissance. Je suis convaincu qu'on va trouver une forte convergence entre notre agenda digitale européenne qui rassemble les 27 Etats-membres et l'agenda du G8.
The European Union, represented by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and myself, comes to this summit not only to exchange views on the global economy whose state has clearly improved, but also to achieve results in four main areas:
1. Firstly, we want strong and concrete support to the democratic transitions in the Middle East and Northern Africa. We must stand with those who seek freedom and democracy. That is why the European Union acted immediately by offering a new partnership for democracy and shared prosperity. During my recent visit to Tunisia, I saw the hope that lies in our support. Catherine Ashton witnessed the same hope in Benghazi: Libyian citizens had tears in their eyes when they saw the EU flag alongside with the Libyan flag during the opening of the EU office in Benghazi.
This week the Commission has developed a revamped policy to our neighbourhood which will be underpinned with 7 billion euros in grants (not loans) up to 2013. 1.24 billion euros of this is fresh new money. To this we should add the 6 billion euros of loans by the European Investment Bank. This is a down-payment for the future of the region, but also the future of Europe. We are putting the largest amount of money on the table. I will set out to the G8 this new approach. It means more support for more reform. We focus on three M's: Money, Markets and Mobility. But it is not only about support in economic terms. What we are seeking is a true engagement with societies. And I want to see with other G8 partners how we can combine our efforts to assist those who are working for change in the region.
2. Secondly, the G8 should work to promote the highest possible safety standards around the world for nuclear energy. This should include comprehensive and ambitious stress tests of nuclear power plants. The EU has moved first after Fukushima to adopt the most stringent safety standards in the world and to propose stress tests of all our nuclear power plants. Yesterday we reached an agreement on the methodology. Now it's time to move ahead and implement the tests from 1 June onwards. When we talk nuclear we talk global. We want nuclear stress tests to go beyond Europe.
I also hope that during this G8 meeting those countries that have not yet made their pledges on Chernobyl will do so. The EU Commission is ready in that case to top up its contribution of 110 million euros with another 20 million to achieve the needed 740 million.
At this Summit, I will push for stronger global safety standards, notably through a revision of the Nuclear Safety Convention, for stress tests by our partners and for enhanced global cooperation on nuclear safety.
3. Thirdly, we seek to deepen the G8's special commitment to Africa. We want to achieve a new quality in our relations with Africa, a true partnership, based on mutual accountability and transparency. The first ever joint G8-Africa declaration and African accountability report is an important step forward. We intend to go further. The European Commission will table legislative proposals in October, which includes the obligation for companies to publish information about their activities. We do this in support of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which helps Africans increase their fiscal resources available to deliver public goods and services for their citizens. Again, I will call on our G8 colleagues to match this commitment.
4. Finally, the EU will push for more effective multilateralism and global policy-making – not only on climate change, but also on world trade issues. I an seriously concerned with the lack of progress so far with the Doha Round and will discuss this within the G8 and with WTO members outside the G8. We shouldn’t spare any efforts to engage in negotiations and achieve meaningful progress before the end of the year. This should include market access for least-developed countries and rule-making that strengthens the multilateral system. We all agree on the objective, but the reality is that countless deadlines have come and gone. Meanwhile the major growth opportunities this could have brought have been foregone. The credibility of the multilateral trade system is at stake and the Commission will be working with WTO Director General Pascal Lamy to focus minds on the real choices that need to be made.
I am confident, that Deauville will be the proof that the G8 fully maintains its role as a driver for global and multilateral political solutions, while remaining open to others through its outreach sessions and acting in a complementary way to the G20 leaders' process.