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European Commission

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Ms Alenka Bratušek, Prime Minister of Slovenia

Press point/Brussels

9 April 2013

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

Prime Minister,

It was indeed a pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Bratušek to the European Commission today.

This is the Prime Minister's first official visit abroad since taking office in March. I congratulated her for these very important responsibilities she is taking now in Slovenia and I see the presence of the Prime Minister here in Brussels as a clear sign of the priority her government attaches to the European reform agenda of Slovenia.

We had very open, constructive discussions about the situation of Slovenia. But first of all let me tell you that I congratulated Prime Minister Bratušek for the very impressive vote in the Slovenian parliament regarding the support to the accession of Croatia to the European Union. We see this as a very important gesture of neighbourhood and friendship between two European countries now that we are expecting another member of our Union.

Regarding the situation in Slovenia, I made it clear that Slovenia is facing a very demanding task: not only setting up and launching the necessary reforms but also building the indispensable national consensus regarding the need for these reforms.

What is true for Slovenia is also true for the whole EU: the deepest ever economic crisis requires the deepest ever reforms which will deliver growth, jobs and prosperity.

At the same time, even the most successful reforms will not turn the economy around overnight. We need patience and determination. We need our citizens' confidence that the actions undertaken today will lead to more prosperity and certainty and will guarantee a better future.

In Slovenia, like in any other Member State, it is crucial to make a distinction between the crisis management, on one hand and the steady process of building the new financial architecture and laying the sound foundations of our economy on the other. We need both. We need immediate, urgent measures to prevent a future crisis; we also need a rapid consolidation of public finances that will not create difficulties for sustainable economic growth.

I really want to say that I admire the Prime Minister's determination to strengthen the economy of Slovenia. As I told you I had a very open conversation with the Prime Minister and she told me about her determination to face head on the difficulties that the country is facing. I think this is very important also when you see the need to build the necessary political support for the action. I come out from our meeting with a feeling of confidence that Slovenia will rise to the challenge.

Please rest assured that the European Commission will continue to support your efforts and do its utmost to assist Slovenia and to work with Slovenia in the spirit of open and constructive partnership.

Slovenia needs tailor-made measures to put the economy on a sustainable path. There is no universal template to deal with the issues of all the members of the Euro area because each of them has its own specificities.

Today, we have discussed with the Prime Minister in broad terms the Slovenia's government's plans for growth and stability-enhancing structural reforms.

I shared with the Prime Minister the view that credibility can be only established through a concrete and hands-on reform strategy that addresses not only the specific situation in the banking sector, but the main macro-financial bottlenecks to growth.

I therefore welcome the Government's intention to present a comprehensive plan for tackling the pressing issues in the Stability Programme and in the National Reform Programme that well be presented relatively soon, because we know that it is certainly in the interest of Slovenia and its new government to demonstrate commitment to reforms within the very near future.

Prime Minister, once again, thank you for your visit and for our very useful discussion.

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