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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso at the signature ceremony of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union

European Council

Brussels, 2 March 2012

Dear colleagues,

Allow me to congratulate the Heads of State or Government who are signing the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union. The preparatory work was complex yet efficient. The close collaboration with the President of the European Council, European Parliament and naturally the Commission ensured that the terms of the agreement are in line with European Union law.

The fact that the contracting Member States agreed to respect the Commission's central role in delivering the agreement's objectives guarantees coherence with the Lisbon Treaty and the Community method. The Commission warmly welcomes the fact that the agreement remains open to all, as well as the treaty commitment to incorporate its substance into EU primary law within five years at the latest.

Each of the contracting Member States will now ratify the Treaty in line with their constitutional requirements.

The Commission will prioritise the preparation of secondary legislation on those elements of the Treaty for which this is appropriate. This is in line with our major advances in terms of economic governance over recent months, namely the six-pack of legislative measures The Treaty is an important part in our global strategy to restore stability in European public finances. As we have said before, stability is a prerequisite of confidence, and confidence is indispensable to sustainable growth.

In the eyes of the world, what is at stake is the very credibility of the euro area and of Europe as a whole: its ability to deliver sustainable fiscal consolidation, growth and employment. The signature of the Treaty, not only by euro area Member States, but by 25 out of the current 27 Member States is also a very relevant political statement on the euro as the currency of our Union. The euro is not just a currency of some countries, the euro is the currency of the European Union. Through their formal commitment at the Treaty level to increase discipline and convergence, the Member States are showing that from monetary union we are now progressing towards a true economic union.

And so, contrary to all the negative prophesies about the future of the euro, and even of the European Union, this agreement with its binding rules in terms of reinforced governance signals the irreversibility of the euro and a very important step forward in European integration.

We also know that almost as important as the Treaty or the legal provisions is the culture or the spirit of our policies and their implementation. This Treaty represents the very culture of financial stability that is a prerequisite for true a economic union. Together with other instruments like the already mentioned six-pack and the Treaty on the ESM, the European Stability Mechanism, it contributes to the overall objectives of our Union.

Naturally this agreement could not - and perhaps it should not, because it is not replacing the treaties, and it is indeed subordinated to them –   cover all the elements of an economic union. And the most relevant objectives like the internal market or economic, social and territorial cohesion, these objectives are more properly addressed through the European treaties and EU secondary legislation.

I am convinced that the Member States and the EU institutions are now in a much better position to complement these indispensable efforts on fiscal responsibility with further reforms for competitiveness and increased solidarity.

Together with other treaty or legal instruments from the six-pack to the ESM, from the Europe 2020 Strategy for growth and jobs to the structural funds, we will succeed in combining stability and growth. And in doing so we will build a stronger union and better respond to the aspirations of European citizens.

Thank you for your attention.

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