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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso at the press conference following the informal dinner of the members of the European Council
Brussels, 9 December 2011
I think President Van Rompuy presented already the most important conclusions. So we have now an agreement to go forward for a new “fiscal compact” and strengthened economic policy coordination and also there were conclusions in terms of development of stabilisation tools to face short-term charges. These points were presented by the President of the European Council; I will not come back to them.
It is a decision of the Heads of State or Government of the euro area member states and those that decided already to join, so I think now it is very important to implement this swiftly. And, of course, we have also discussed what we can do further to improve the overall confidence in our actions.
We have said it before this Summit, and I keep my opinion, that at the core of these issues are problems of confidence. And I think it is important that the euro area member states have today decided to have a new fiscal rule that is much more ambitious than the one we have so far. There are clear commitments that you can afterwards follow through the conclusions, regarding these additional commitments that of course the Commission takes very seriously. There are also immediate measures in terms of stabilization tools.
So as I have been saying several times before now key is implementation and I hope that these measures will be implemented swiftly. I was also pleased to see that there is from the Heads of State or Government a commitment to examine swiftly the new rules proposed by the Commission on 23 November, namely those regarding the monitoring and assessment of draft budgetary plans, of the correction of excessive deficit in the euro area member states and also the strengthening of economic and budgetary surveillance of member states experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties in respect to their financial stability in the euro area. This is of course important because we should not forget what we have already been doing. In fact the EU and the euro area have done much over the past 18 months to improve its economic governance and adopt new measures in response to the sovereign debt crisis. Recent measures adopted include the so called “Six pack”. Only now they are going to enter into force. The Commission has already stated that we are going to implement them in a very determined way that will bring very important qualitative leap in terms of our governance, in terms also of enforcement, but more measures will come soon. The fact that now all these member states have committed to this strengthened fiscal rule is certainly a very important step.
I think that another point that was discussed and that had agreement was the important efforts made by our member states, namely we spoke about the recent measures announced by the Italian government. We welcomed those measures as very important and also the overall positive development in terms of programmes of the countries under a programme – Ireland and Portugal, and also perspectives for a new programme for Greece.