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European Commission

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Press statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California and Founding Chair of the "R20 Regions of Climate Action"

Press point/Brussels

24 June 2013

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome today for the first time at the European Commission the former Governor of California and founder of the R20 initiative – regions of climate action. We have met recently in Austria but this is the first time that Governor Schwarzenegger comes to the European Commission and we just had a very good conversation about the agenda for climate protection, namely about what can be done by the sub-national level, by regions, by mayors all over the world

I think it is an important sign that you, Governor, come here to Brussels to share your passion and your commitment. You have been a fighter on the screens too long. You are a fighter in the real world, too – a fighter for a sustainable energy and for the climate future of our planet!

You were one of the pioneers of climate and energy action in the United States. You have fought for this cause around the globe, including in your home country when you came to the R20 conference in January, in Austria.

It is good that you show the way, and that together we remind everybody of our collective responsibility for the future of our fragile planet.

Europe is taking its responsibility seriously. Since 2007, my Commission has strongly pushed European climate and energy action, through binding legislation, financial support, and also raising awareness of the general public, including on issues of environment, on issues of public health.

Creating the conditions for a sustainable economy, with new job opportunities, new growth opportunities and higher competitiveness - in which climate change is kept at bay, renewable energy is increased and less energy is used – this is at the heart of European policies. It is also at the heart of our strategy Europe 2020.

In today's meeting we reinforced this common vision to respond to the concerns of citizens. People around the globe expect us to act:

  • Those affected by the floods in many parts of Europe and Asia;

  • Those suffering from drought and forest fires around the world;

  • Those being hit by tornadoes and floods in the United States;

Governor Schwarzenegger and I believe that we must not leave these people alone. And that we can take our fate in our hands. For the sake of our own and our children's future on this planet. And for the sake of a sustainable and growing economy. Our economies greatly benefit from the innovation and competitiveness stemming from climate and energy action.

In the European Union there is a real commitment of its institutions, Member States and citizens.

Just today, Governor Schwarzenegger and I will see this commitment, at the Covenant of Mayors – a European Commission initiative from 2008 that helps the local level to meet and exceed our climate and energy goals. Today it counts almost 5000 signatories in the European Union and across the globe.

Of course, the road to victory remains bumpy. Energy and climate policies need both constant support, and strong new visions. For instance, we have to continue to reform our European Emissions Trading System. I hope that the European Parliament and the Council will soon approve our proposal for back-loading to maintain the credibility of the system. The importance of a well-functioning carbon market was recently underlined by Heads of State and Government, so we need to move fast.

We also need to complete our internal energy market as one of the backbones of our economic recovery.

Last but not least, we will push forward and table ideas for a 2030 energy and climate framework by the end of this year, 2013.

And on the international scene, the European Union will remain a trailblazer for a binding global climate agreement. I am pleased that just a few days ago, when I attended the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, we all reconfirmed our commitment to agree a new global climate deal by 2015.

Governor Schwarzenegger,

Our message today is clear: We need to persevere: Green and growth can go together. Green growth is good for people's health, it is good for our climate, and can also be good for our economy. Once again let me thank you wholeheartedly that you have come to Brussels. I believe that you can help us to win this fight.

I thank you all for your attention!

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