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SPEECH/11/871

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

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

Press conference

Brussels, 9 December 2011

I will start by paying tribute to the Polish Presidency of the Council. Indeed an impressive set of results. I would like to thank Prime Minister Tusk and his whole team for their commitment, for the spirit they brought and also for the way they worked.

In fact today's signature of Croatia's accession treaty was, to a large extent, also possible in this timing thanks to the commitment of the Polish Presidency. And there are other important issues that were also present during today and yesterday's Summit – for instance everything done to reinforce the Stability and Growth Pact. We should not forget that it was during the Polish Presidency of the Council that we got the agreement between that Parliament and the Council regarding the famous Six Pack – a very comprehensive set of proposals to reinforce our Stability and Growth Pact.

Regarding the issues that we started to discuss today, I was also extremely pleased that we have strong conclusions welcoming the Commission's 2012 Annual Growth Survey. This is now our reference for the work in terms of economic policy coordination – the European Semester and all the instruments we now have to coordinate the economic policies in the European Union institutions. Proper implementation is crucial to get us back on the growth path. Member States, I believe, need to do more to fully implement the country-specific recommendations.

We also have agreed to fast-track a programme of measures to boost growth and jobs. This was an important practical decision. I had the occasion, even if it was briefly, to distribute the analysis we are making in terms of our Member States' efforts for growth through employment and competitiveness.

And this discussion was an important complement to last night's agreement on the fiscal compact. The objective to add to the strict discipline and reinforced convergence we are already introducing through secondary legislation was achieved. And I want to underline the agreement on substance, the very wide agreement on substance when it comes to reinforced discipline and also reinforced convergence in the euro area and indeed beyond. Work will now begin to rapidly flesh out the details of this new treaty. The Commission will be active to ensure swift preparation of a treaty that is fully compatible with EU law and also that preserves the role of the European institutions. I am particularly happy to have ensured that the European Parliament will be associated to this process.

Two other points very briefly:

As you know, this morning we signed the accession treaty with Croatia. This is a very important moment which shows the positive pull of the European Union, the transformational power also of the European Union and our continued and reinforced commitment to the enlargement process. We have also set out the next stages for Montenegro and Serbia on their path towards the Union, building on the considerable progress they have made over the last year.

We also have important conclusions on energy, notably on the need for swift completion of our internal energy market and the development of common infrastructure. These are key growth-enhancing reforms that Member States are working on and we hope that they can deliver also decisively.

So very good set of conclusions and now let's work to implement those conclusions.

Thank you for your attention.


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