José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso at the press conference following the European Council of the 28-29 June 2012
Joint press conference/Brussels
Let me begin with a word of thanks for Helle Thorning-Schmidt and her excellent team. They have put an enormous amount of work into their Presidency which has been shown by the results they have achieved. I want to thank Helle for the extremely good cooperation personally, and between our teams.
I know that many people were sceptical about the prospects for this summit. And I hope that they were pleasantly surprised when they heard the news this morning. Because this European Council and Euro area summit have delivered what our citizens, our international partners and investors have been asking for. It has delivered a robust set of answers which should significantly strengthen confidence in Europe's financial stability.
We have agreed short term measures to support countries under market pressure. Following the presentation of the EMU report, we have now a clear commitment to a single banking supervisory mechanism for the euro area. We have a clear commitment that when this supervisory mechanism for the Euro area is established, it will allow for the direct recapitalisation of banks by the ESM under very strict conditions. And we have an agreement to waive the seniority of future loans for Spain's financial sector recapitalisation under the ESM. So once again, we have taken decisions that were unthinkable just some months ago. The Commission has worked intensively on these solutions and will work intensively on implementing them over the coming weeks and months.
We have now also the endorsement by the European Council of the Country-Specific Recommendations.
We have agreement on a compact for growth and jobs that turns words into concrete action and into financing commitments, and it sets out the levers for mobilising funds. I was making the case for many of these ideas when it was still unfashionable to do so - boosting the lending capacity of the European Investment Bank; launching the first phase of project bonds; and redirecting some structural funds. We now have full agreement on this.
We have also recognition among Heads of State and Government that we cannot separate the debate on growth from the debate on the EU budget. The progress achieved under the Danish Presidency was recognised as the basis and the orientation for further work. A lot of negotiations are still ahead of us, but we are making progress.
We have agreed a convincing vision for a strengthened economic and monetary union, and this is a point I would like to highlight particularly, following the report presented to the European Council on the genuine EMU. In fact, just after this report was presented, we have already now a clear commitment to a banking union that the Commission has been calling for. This banking union will be designed in a way that fully respects the integrity of the single market. At the same time, we recognise that there are member states that will not want to participate in some areas that are predominantly linked to membership of the euro, now or in the future. Everyone here has agreed that a stable euro is in the interest of the whole European Union. Over the summer, the Commission will put together the legislative proposals to make this a reality. And we need to go further, building a fiscal union and taking steps towards a political union. This is the logical consequence of the need for deeper integration to match our growing interdependence and need for financial stability.
I would like particularly to highlight the agreement of the European Council as a whole supporting the statement of the Euro area summit. If I may, I can read the conclusions on EMU, because they are extremely important. Following the report presented by the President of the European Council in close cooperation with the Presidents of the Commission, the Eurogroup and the ECB a specific and time-bound roadmap will be developed for the achievement of a genuine Economic and Monetary Union which will include: "concrete proposals on preserving the unity and integrity of the Single Market in financial services and which will take account of the Euro Area statement and, inter alia, of the intention of the Commission to bring forward proposals under Article 127. They will examine what can be done within the current Treaties and which measures would require Treaty change. In order to ensure their ownership, Member States will be closely associated to the reflections and regularly consulted. There will also be consultations with the European Parliament".
So, it is extremely important to understand what we have just agreed, because it was possible to agree on a single financial supervisory mechanism for the Euro area. That will be a proposal of the Commission - we are proposing the ECB to take that responsibility. At the same time there will be a consideration for the whole European Union, the current 27 member states, the full respect of the integrity of the Single Market and in the conclusions of the European Council: "The European Council welcomed the statement of the Euro Area Summit of 29 June 2012".
So, very good progress. It is not yet the end of road, but very important steps were taken today and yesterday.
I thank you for your attention.