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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso at the press conference following the meeting of the Heads of State or Government of the euro area
Brussels, 23rd October 2011
Work is in progress and it is progressing well. As you know we have made clear that we need this comprehensive solution. This morning we discussed growth and now in the euro area summit we have discussed the other four most important issues.
On Greece. We have agreement to disburse the European contribution to the next tranche of financial assistance, worth €8 billion. A decisive commitment is now needed from the Greek authorities to see through the fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. We are working on a second programme for Greece that will ensure the long-term sustainability of its economy through a credible mix of public and private sector involvement.
Second, we have discussed options for increasing the firepower of the EFSF. I am sure that progress can be confirmed by Wednesday. An ambitious reform of the EFSF is needed. It is an essential element in fighting contagion. As you know the Commission has argued since January this year that the EFSF needs to be a more flexible and effective instrument for crisis management. I welcome that this position is now widely shared.
Third, we also need to strengthen confidence in our banks so that they can maintain lending to the real economy. We have made good progress to design coordinated measures to ease bank funding and to ensure banks have significantly higher levels of capital. We now need to complete work on the necessary backstops before this can be finalised. We have build on the good discussions held by our finance ministers.
Finally, we had also a very good and interesting discussion on governance. On this I would like to give you my very personal assessment that it was a very important discussion. One lesson that we can say that the Heads of State or Government of our member states are now drawing from the recent crisis is that we really need to complete our monetary union with an economic union to have more integration, more discipline and also more convergence. That was from a qualitative point of view a very good discussion today, in fact, preparing decisions that I hope will be taken in 72 hours. We expect these final decisions to be taken in 72 hours and I am confident these decisions are going to be taken.