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European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

Vice-President Siim KALLAS

Speaking points at ECOFIN press conference

ECOFIN press conference

Brussels, 8 July 2014

Thank you, Pier Carlo. Let me begin by wishing you “In bocca al lupo!” for a successful Italian Presidency.

Of course, the major challenge for the coming months will be to strengthen the economic recovery in Europe. Our long-term growth strategy, Europe 2020, which we discussed today, contains the right reform priorities – but we must ensure that we deliver on the commitments made.

The key to unlocking growth in Europe is to wholeheartedly embrace structural reforms, while maintaining fiscal discipline to reduce the high levels of debt. There is no way around these twin imperatives.

We had a very good discussion today on these subjects. There was a strong consensus that the economic governance framework we have put in place is appropriate, and provides a solid basis for sound public finances and the advancement of structural reforms.

There was a very clear and welcome emphasis on structural reforms. There was very strong support for the position the Commission has consistently held, that reforms must go hand in hand with fiscal consolidation and that there is no contradiction between these two.

These were the main points, and I think that, considering the Commission is in a transitional period, the strategic discussions about economic policies will be more for the next Commission, but from the Commission side, we will do our utmost to contribute to a successful Italian Presidency - and I believe this will be a serious Presidency.

Thank you.

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