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José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with the Federal President of Germany, Mr Joachim Gauck

Press point

Brussels, 17 April 2012

Herr Bundespräsident, seien Sie sehr herzlich willkommen. Es freut mich sehr, Sie hier in der Europäischen Kommission empfangen zu dürfen. Lassen Sie mich Ihnen zunächst noch einmal sehr herzlich zu Ihrer Wahl und zu Ihrem großartigen Ergebnis in der Bundesversammlung gratulieren. Ich freue mich, Herr Bundespräsident, dass Sie so bald nach ihrem Amtsbeginn nach Brüssel kommen. Damit geben Sie eine wichtige und positive Botschaft über Ihr Engagement für Europa. Wir hatten in der Tat gerade ein sehr gutes und interessantes Gespräch über Europa. Ich bin sicher, dass Deutschland mit Ihnen sich weiter voll und ganz für Europa einsetzen wird. Ich wünsche Ihnen persönlich eine erfolgreiche Amtszeit.

Indeed, we just had a very good meeting with the new Federal President of Germany, Joachim Gauck.

I am very pleased to have, so soon, this opportunity to renew my warmest congratulations on his election to President Gauck.

In our discussion, we touched upon a broad range of issues, notably on the state of European democracy and values and European integration, but also on the overall economic situation and the very important economic and political role of Germany.

Ich habe mit großer Freude gehört, dass der neue Bundespräsident, die traditionell pro-europäische Position seines Landes fortführen möchte.

Ich habe Präsident Gauck meine tiefe persönliche Wertschätzung mitgeteilt für seinen lebenslangen Kampf für Freiheit – und für seinen mutigen Aufruf, mehr Europa zu wagen.

I shared with President Gauck my deep personal appreciation for his life-long commitment for freedom, for his courage to call on citizens to "dare more Europe." I have seen his statements and I know about his personal commitment.

Europe indeed needs leaders and citizens to stand up for Europe. To explain its achievements and promote its benefits. To work for a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe.

Only then, Europe will be able to master the economic and social challenges of the 21st century. No one should believe that the European project and its achievements are irreversible or can be taken for granted. We need ownership of the European project at all levels: by European institutions, certainly, but also by our Member States, by the democratic authorities at all levels in our countries.

I am happy to see that we agree that Europe’s position in a changing world stands and falls with our ability to preserve our values - namely the sacred value of liberty, freedom - but also to stand for the achievements and to act together.

I believe that President Gauck, with his personal background and his strong convictions for European values and integration, is very well placed to lead by example.

On the economic situation in Europe, we both recognise that sustained efforts are needed to stabilise our economies and create the conditions for growth and jobs. I think that we must deploy all means at all levels to tackle the unacceptable high level of unemployment and give people a perspective. Employment is at the heart of our Europe 2020 strategy. We have launched the Youth opportunities initiative last year and deployed action teams on the ground. Tomorrow the Commission will adopt an employment package, which will provide important orientations and measures for our common action to create new jobs.

Only determined action at national and European levels can help us to restore confidence. We are looking forward to receive still this month the national reform programmes and the stability and convergence programmes from Member States in which they can demonstrate that they are serious about their determination.

The economic situation in Europe remains challenging, but tackling those difficulties should not come at the expense of fiscal rectitude.

I finally expressed to President Gauck my full trust in Germany's ability to take the decisions that are needed to reinforce the credibility of our comprehensive crisis response.

To conclude, I am very pleased about the readiness of President Gauck to engage with Europe. It was an honour and a pleasure to receive him here in the European Commission and let us, the European Commission and Germany, work together for a strong, united and democratic Europe, based on the principles of freedom, responsibility and solidarity.

Thank you!

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