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Speech: Remarks by President Barroso during the press conference with President Martin Schulz, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Mr Mario Monti on the high-level group on own resources

European Commission - SPEECH/14/160   25/02/2014

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European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Remarks by President Barroso during the press conference with President Martin Schulz, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Mr Mario Monti on the high-level group on own resources

Press conference

Strasbourg, 25 February 2014

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

I very much welcome the creation of this high-level group on own resources, as this is a subject to which I attach great importance.

As you know, in the course of negotiations on the new Multiannual Financial Framework, the Commission was a strong advocate for reform in order to bring the own resources system closer into line with the provisions of the Treaty.

And the joint declaration of the three institutions shows that there is much scope for further exploration and analysis.

This group will now study new ways to finance the European Union budget and - because this is our joint aim with this group – they will study the ways to make revenue collection more simple, fair, transparent and democratically accountable.

I am also delighted that Mario Monti has accepted to be appointed chairman of this group. I have had the pleasure of working closely with Mario Monti in the past and can think of no better person to steer the work of the group with professionalism, integrity and intellectual rigour.

By setting up this group we are making good on the agreement reached by our three institutions – Commission, Parliament and Council – during negotiations on the EU's seven-year budget for 2014-2020.

The Commission's proposals for the 2014-2020 budget already included new and simpler ways of financing the EU's important work, including a financial transaction tax and a more modern VAT-based resource. We also suggested how to simplify the complicated rebate mechanisms for a number of Member States.

I believe there is scope to further explore these ideas, and others, within the group's mandate. We know the issue is sensitive politically. We know that. But we believe, precisely because it is a sensitive issue from a political point of view, it would be wise, before taking a political decision, to have an independent group with very different input and background from its members, to prepare the decision and give us some elements for an informed process.

The Commission will, of course, actively participate in the group's work, with political input, technical expertise and secretarial support. I have already appointed Vice-President Šefčovič, Commissioner Lewandowski and Commissioner Šemeta to the group, who bring with them a wealth of knowledge on inter-institutional, budgetary and fiscal matters.

A first assessment from the group should be available by the end of this year, which will be a key element in the debate about how the EU budget will be financed after 2020.

I'm confident that the group, under Mario Monti's expert stewardship, will make an invaluable contribution to this debate.

Thank you for your attention.


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