José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,
We just had a very positive meeting ahead of the European Council tomorrow.
I think it is very important that this European Council rules out any doubt about the irreversibility of the euro. It is critically important to show the determination of the European leaders regarding the financial stability and regarding our common currency.
It is very important that in the European Council we take decisions on the short-term and the long-term, because the future of the euro depends on decisions taken for the short-term and for the longer term. We in the European Commission are doing everything we can to make it possible for the European Council to agree on the basic points.
First, endorsement of the country-specific recommendations that we have proposed in the new European semester. Basically the message is that the Member States should pursue, and indeed in some cases intensify, their efforts regarding stabilisation and structural reforms. It is extremely important to have sound public finances and also to pursue deep structural reforms.
Secondly, we want the European Council to approve a compact for growth. The compact for growth, among other items, will include a strong emphasis on targeted investment along the lines that the European Commission has been proposing for some time - the reinforcement of the lending capacity of the European Investment bank, project bonds, the redirection of some structural funds and also to consider the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) as an instrument for investment, investment in growth and jobs. I think the way we look at the European budget is very important, because the European budget is not a budget for Brussels; it is a budget for investment in the European Union, in the cohesion countries, but not only in the cohesion countries - in all the European Union.
Precisely, regarding this compact for growth, we in the European Commission believe that we should have an inter-institutional agreement between the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission. Why such an agreement? Because we are living in exceptional times and exceptional times require exceptional decisions. Some of those decisions require co-decisions – decisions by the Council and by the Parliament. So, we are proposing a commitment of the three institutions to speed up the decisions, to avoid what is usually considered as a delivery gap, to fast-track some proposals (some of them are already there, but we can come with more) and to have a commitment between the three institutions to deliver on those commitments. So, to fast-track the proposals and at the same time to show our common resolve, the common political determination of the institutions to address these challenges. I think this is critically important, that is why we believe an inter-institutional agreement will be appropriate following the decisions of the European Council.
The third point is the roadmap for the future of the European and Monetary Union. As you know the President of the European Council, together with me, the President of the Eurogroup and the President of the European Central Bank, we have presented some elements for this. I would like this to be endorsed. I think it is critically important to have an understanding that to go further we need to work on a banking union, on a fiscal union and step towards a political union. The banking union can be done immediately without revision of the treaties. That is why we are suggesting to focus now on the banking union. So, we have to combine this ambition, the vision, with proper sequencing. That is what I am looking for in the discussions tomorrow.
Concluding this very good meeting I had with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, I want to tell you how happy I am to see the great convergence between the two community institutions - European Parliament, directly elected by the European citizens, and the European Commission, that represents the general European interest. We are united in this purpose and I think this is indeed an essential condition for the legitimacy and the accountability when we speak about further integration in the euro area and in the European Union.
I thank you for your attention.