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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr Petr Nečas, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
Joint press point/Prague
3 April 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here in Prague and to meet Prime Minister Nečas. We met last time only three weeks ago at the March European Council in Brussels but much has happened since then. Clearly, the political and economic developments in Europe come at the light velocity.
That requires continued work between all of us – between the European institutions, but also between the countries in the European Union, those who are in the Euro area and those who are not in the Euro area.
Prime Minister Nečas just told me that he believes the stability of the Euro area is in the strategic interest of the Czech Republic. I really welcome the constructive discussion we have just had, because I think it is in the interest of all of us to provide for this stability for the Euro area, but also to keep in mind the indispensable need of the integrity of the Single market and the integrity of our Union.This is the basic challenge we are facing today – how can we deepen the Economic and Monetary Union. Because certainly we need it for the financial stability, and at the same time we need to keep the integrity of the Single Market and the European Union.
I would like to praise the Czech Republic and the government of the Czech Republic in particular for the commitment to this ambitious agenda for the internal market where we have been working hand in hand trying to push with ambition the agenda for the Single market, because this is indeed one of the most important drivers for growth.
The reality is that despite of all the constraints, we are progressing. Despite all the challenges we have still to face, the European Union has come through the worst of the crisis.
I had an open discussion with the Prime Minister also on the recent developments regarding Cyprus, because I believe that the solution of this issue is in the interest of all our Member States.
The current events strengthen our determination to reform the governance of banks in a meaningful way. The political agreement on the creation of the Single Supervisory Mechanism for the Eurozone is a first step to be followed by setting up a Single Resolution Mechanism. If the Banking Union were already in place and functioning today, the management of the difficulties we are facing in Cyprus would be considerably easier. And I believe it was possible to get the unanimous agreement of the Member States of the European Union for the Single Supervisory Mechanism, the countries of the Euro area and the non-Euro area countries. I think this should also be possible in the future, so that we can get more stability in Europe. Because more financial stability means also more confidence and confidence is key for investment and growth.
In view of our next European Council in June, we are now in the Commission working on the further steps to advance the reform of Economic and Monetary Union. These aspects concern the ex-ante coordination of major national reforms and the contractual arrangements between the Member States and the European Union institutions.
I think this is the basis on which we can build and move forward in our ambition to create a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union.
I welcomed the active and constructive involvement of the Czech government in all these discussions. We have seen in the past it was possible to have solutions that address the concerns of Euro area and non-Euro area countries. The Commission is very sensitive to these issues, because we believe it is our duty to keep the integrity of the European Union. So some of the concerns that were expressed by the Prime Minister, and he mentioned some of them just now in the press conference, we are very much at the heart of the way of our concerns and the way we look at practical solutions, so that all countries in the European Union can see their interests respected.
We also discussed the need about going on with credible fiscal policies and also national reforms and the need for investment.
I congratulated the Prime Minister for the significant progress in fiscal consolidation that the Czech Republic has made over last two years. Further structural measures are required to improve the long-term sustainability of public finances.
I also welcomed the efforts of the Czech authorities to address the country specific recommendations and the very constructive way in which we are dealing with these issues, so that we can promote reforms for our countries to become more competitive.
The European Commission proposes and the Member States agree together on the common foundations of this new economic architecture we are building but let's not forget that it is of responsibility of each Member State to implement the appropriate structural reforms considering of course the national specific circumstances.
We also agreed on the need to improve the use in the Czech Republic of the European structural funds. This is important for the further benefits of the Czech citizens, Czech regions and Czech businesses and also for the economic recovery. The European Structural and Investment Funds are for growth in Czech Republic and I want to congratulate the Prime Minister for the very good results the Czech Republic got in the negotiations at European Council level for the next Multiannual Financial Framework. Now we are looking forward to the possibility of reaching an agreement between the Council and the European Parliament so that we can have this new financial framework up and running, because these investments are badly needed in many parts of Europe.
Finally, I also thank that Prime Minister and the Czech authorities for hosting the European Galileo Satellite Aviation Agency in Prague. I visited this agency today and it is indeed a very important agency with a great strategic role and we are very grateful with the way in which the Czech authorities have received this agency and I am very much confident that this agency and Galileo and EGNOS will play a very important strategic role not only in space technology, but also for market opportunities that will come with the development of this very important project.
I think it is important that in times of economic difficulties in Europe we don't lose sight of the need also to keep a leading role in technology and also what we can do for the future, that we don't look just at the present, but we have a clear vision for the future.
Dear Prime Minister,
Thank you very much for your hospitality and for the very good and constructive way in which we addressed so many important issues for the Czech Republic and of course for our Union.