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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Prime Minister of Czech Republic Petr Nečas
Brussels, 24 May 2012
Good morning ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome Prime Minister Nečas to the European Commission.
We just had a very good meeting after yesterday's informal European Council, where the June European Council was prepared.
I welcome in particular the Prime Minister's backing for the Commission twin-track strategy of sound public finances and growth. We need both. And I think I can repeat that yesterday's conclusions were precisely about that direction: that we need both stability and growth, that we should not oppose fiscal consolidation to investment or to the indispensable structural reforms that Europe has to conclude for its competitiveness.
As you know on 30 May the Commission will adopt its country specific recommendations in the framework of the European Semester, in which we will assess progress made by the Member States in implementing key structural reforms and we are going also to recommend action to address the growth bottlenecks.
The Czech Republic has made good progress in fiscal consolidation over the last two years. Prime Minister Nečas has reiterated again today its strong commitment to fiscal discipline and to ensuring timely correction of the excessive deficit in line with the Council recommendations. He also ensured me of his commitment to a sustainable and growth-friendly fiscal adjustment and to focus on structural reforms.
I also agree with the Prime Minister on the urgent need to reach an agreement on the EU 2013 budget which must be focused on growth, on jobs and of course must address at the same time the social challenges.
Regarding the post-2013 multiannual financial framework, we agreed with the Prime Minister that, in the current context of financial and fiscal constraints, it is essential to improve the quality of spending at European level. Better spending – we very clearly agreed on this and we had a very open discussion about it.
More than ever we need a EU budget which is focused on support for those activities that demonstrate EU added value. The budget is an essential part of the EU's toolbox to deliver the Europe 2020 strategy, the Union's common growth strategy.
In this context, we also discussed the implementation of the structural funds in the Czech Republic. This is important, since the Czech Republic is the biggest recipient of Cohesion Policy in the EU for 2007-2013 in terms of the Structural Funds contribution per capita.
More than ever it is vital to use EU funds efficiently, in a way that maximises their effects on growth and job creation and the benefits of course for Czech citizens.
The Czech authorities have taken corrective measures to address a number of problems which have recently been detected in the use of EU funds. We are working together with the Czech authorities to solve the outstanding issues.
Timely and efficient implementation of corrective measures outlined in the Action Plan is required to resume the payment flow within the planned timeframe.
This was indeed a productive meeting. I really want to thank Prime Minister for his openness and the very good conversation we just had following also the important informal European Council we had yesterday - until today in fact, it was already beginning of the morning when we concluded our work.
Thank you very much Prime Minister for coming.