José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Speech: Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr Enda Kenny, Taoiseach of Ireland, Mr Eamon Gilmore, Tánaiste of Ireland and Mr Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament
Joint press conference/Dublin
28 February 2013
Tá sé ar fheabhas a bheith ar ais in Eireann.
Thank you to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste for inviting me to Dublin for the second time since the start of the Irish presidency.
There are several reasons for my visit. I spoke at an IBEC conference this morning on the theme of competitiveness. This is crucial for growth and job creation in the EU. I set out an agenda that is very resonant with Ireland's own approach and I called for the support of the business community at EU level for this agenda.
I think we can say that the Irish economy is now turning the corner. The latest positive figures on employment confirm that when there is determination, the programmes can work and indeed Ireland is already on positive territory when it comes to growth.
We also had a meeting, the Taoiseach, the President of the European Parliament and myself on how to achieve a consensual conclusion to work on our next seven-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework. Now that we have the unanimous political agreement of Heads of State and Government, negotiations will start between the European Parliament and the Council, led by the Irish Presidency. The Commission will do everything it can to facilitate a final deal.
I have made no secret of the fact that the deal agreed by Heads of State and Government earlier this month is below the level of ambition that the Commission considers desirable given the challenges we face in the coming years.
But we need to recognise that positive steps were taken, not least in support of the EU's growth and jobs agenda and as it was just now mentioned by the Tánaiste, including some specific measures for employment, namely for youth employment.
So, I welcome the readiness of the Irish Presidency to engage in a serious negotiation process with the European Parliament on behalf of the Council. I believe that the Parliament has some good ideas for making our budget work better in the future and for using every euro effectively. I hope we can reach an agreement under the Irish Presidency.
I would like also to take the opportunity to welcome the adoption today by member states of the Commission's proposal on youth guarantees, which is an important signal to the almost 6 million young people that are unemployed in the European Union today – that they should have a job, apprenticeship or be in further education and training within a short time of leaving school or becoming unemployed. My sincere thanks to the Irish Presidency for supporting this deal.
I also want to welcome the important progress made last night on bank capital and bankers pay, our proposal CRD for Capital Requirements Directive IV. We now have the fundamentals for a formal agreement between the Council and the European Parliament on the Commission proposal. This is a cornerstone in the creation of the single rule book for banks across the European Union.
As you know, the European Union taxpayers have been asked to pay a heavy price for past excesses and failings in the banks. These new rules will require banks to have the necessary capital to absorb future shocks themselves without asking the taxpayers for help.
They will also put an end to massive bonuses for risky behaviour - an issue the European Commission was the first to raise with our recommendations already in 2009. I remember that at that time when I proposed more strict bonuses for bankers there was a lot of controversy. Now we have an agreement. I am very happy that Europe is delivering on its commitments to fairness for EU citizens and also sending a strong message to our G20 partners that have to do more in terms of the commitments taken for financial regulation and supervision.
The Commission will also continue to push for an ambitious banking union.
Later today, I will take part in a debate at the Hist society in Trinity College. As you may know, I take a special interest in education and in young people. In a debate I will call on the young people of Ireland to be fully involved in the growing debate about shaping the future of our union. They are benefitting from a choice made 40 years ago by their parents generation – now they need to be involved in setting out their generation's views on what kind of Europe we want for the future.
That was the purpose of my visit to Ireland. Once again, I'm very happy to be here and share these moments with you.