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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Launch of the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union
Inauguration of the Polish Presidency
Warsaw, 1 July 2011
Prime Minister Tusk,
President van Rompuy,
Prime Minister Orban,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I will not hide my delight at the programme organised for this launch of this first Polish Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the European Union. Opera is one of the greatest creations of Europe and also one of my greatest passions, and so I am very pleased to be here with you this evening in this most impressive Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa – the Polish National Opera House.
I greatly look forward to discovering a Polish opera by Karol Szymanowski.
Today is a historic day for Poland as it takes its rightful place in the driving seat of the European Union for the first time building on a very successful Hungarian Presidency of the Council. I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Tusk and Prime Minister Orban. Today, Prime Minister Tusk and I have discussed the priorities and agenda for the months ahead. I very much welcome the Polish Presidency's focus on building a more strong, open and secure Europe. I fully support its commitment to drive forward the deepening of the Single Market, as a vital source of economic growth.
Poland is a European success story. It has made the most of its membership in the European Union over recent years, both through the benefits brought by cohesion policy, also thanks to the political stability in its neighbourhood. Poland has not only escaped recent recession but has become one of our Union's drivers of economic growth. But apart from economic growth I would like to highlight the political growth – the political energy and commitment to our European project and the enthusiasm that Poland brings to our Union.
This puts Poland in a strong position to push forward some very challenging projects. Let me mention just one. The European Commission has set out its vision this week for the EU budget for the period 2014-2020 and it is firmly focused on enhancing prosperity and creating employment in a spirit of solidarity to achieve social, economic and territorial cohesion for all our 27 Member States.
We want to ensure that every euro spent at European level can achieve more than a euro invested at national level to make our Union stronger for the future. This is done by improving connections between our Member States in terms of infrastructure, energy and information, also strengthening the Single Market and bringing concrete meaning to cohesion – territorial and economic cohesion. It is done by investing more in education, training, research and innovation. It is done by modernising our agricultural and cohesion policies. In other words, we have a vision of a prosperous, modern and secure Europe, making full use of European integration as a source of sustainable, inclusive growth and job creation.
Poland has prepared its Presidency with meticulous attention to detail and with great political authority. This same authority, combined with real leadership, will be required over the coming months. The Presidency role brings great responsibility, especially when such significant proposals are on the table that can shape the direction of the European Union for several years to come.
Now I count on Poland to share its bold vision of restoring growth and confidence in Europe. I count on you to share your optimism in the European project with your fellow Europeans.
In the same vein, from here in Warsaw, I would like to congratulate Wroclaw on being selected as a European Capital of Culture in 2016. The Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2011, the Euro 2012 football championships next year and Capital of Culture in 2016. Poland is really putting itself on the map and leading by example.
You can count on the Commission's full support in making this Presidency a historic one because we share Poland's European vision. Only unity will make us stronger in challenging times.
Życzę Polsce i Polakom udanej prezydencji. Niech będzie ona sukcesem dla Polski i dla Europy.