Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-06-22-Speech-3-081-000"

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". Mr President, today’s lively and animated debate is clear proof that the agenda of the European Council is highly relevant and critically important for the future of Europe. We also need a common European Asylum System that is more efficient and more protective. We will do our utmost to ensure that the system is up and running by 2012. This is the Commission’s approach and I hope that it will be supported by the European Parliament and by the Member States. Please allow me a few short words on economic governance and the ‘six pack’. You have already heard the position of the Commission President and you will have a chance to discuss this issue in greater detail with my fellow Commissioner, Olli Rehn. I would underline only one element and that is the importance of having an agreement sooner rather than later, because time is pressing and we need our new tools in order to govern European economies in better and more reliable ways in the future. A concluding remark on Croatia. I think that it is time and it is appropriate to congratulate Croatia, because it is approaching a historical moment and I believe that this should give a very positive signal, not only for all Croatians, but for all the peoples of the western Balkans. I would also like to congratulate the European Parliament and its rapporteur, Mr Swoboda, and also the Hungarian Presidency, which did an excellent job of pushing this so far forward, enabling us to have these very good results at this time. The last word of thanks goes to Ms Enikő Győri. She said many times that she wanted to lead a parliament-friendly Presidency. I think she has proved it with her frequent presence in this House. I would also like to thank her for her excellent cooperation with the Commission. Greece was very much present in most of our interventions. We know that the situation in Greece is very difficult and that there are no easy solutions. I agree with all of you who said that it is very important to demonstrate to the Greek people that it is not only about cuts and austerity, but that there is also light at the end of the tunnel and that we can actually help Greece to get back onto the path of growth. Austerity must therefore be accompanied by pro-growth policies and measures. I am absolutely sure that the European Union and the Commission can do that. We can help Greece to increase administrative capacity. We can help Greece to absorb structural funds better and put them in strategic pro-growth sectors, and we can help the Greek authorities to improve the quality of their tax collection. We know how to help countries improve their educational systems. I think we can all do it now, and the Commission is ready to proceed in that way. We are prepared to put together technical assistance programmes which will accompany the difficult austerity measures the Greek authorities have to go through. By this, we would like to show clearly that Europe cares; Europe is solidarity and Europe can help if the country is in such distress. However, the same message needs to come from the Greek political establishment. We can do our best, but what we need from the Greek authorities is a clear show of unity, and a clear show of resolve to tackle the difficult issues in that country. This would be my appeal and the appeal of the Commission to the Greek political representatives: cooperate, show us unity, show us a united approach to the very difficult issues. The time is right and this would be a highly responsible gesture. Not many of you touched upon the very important element of the conclusion of the European semester. However, I will mention it here because we need the help of the members of the European Parliament to go back to their constituencies and explain that the European semester is over and national semesters are starting. I think we know what to do; we have country-specific recommendations which are very fair, very honest and very detailed for each Member State, but now we need the cooperation of the national authorities and of the national governments to actually deliver and to carry out the reforms in the Member States. Only by this will we change the quality and competitiveness of the European economy for the better and put the European economy on new wheels. I would like to confirm once again that a financial transaction tax will be proposed by the European Commission. We needed to carry out a very thorough impact assessment and that is about to be concluded. This will be one of our proposals, and one of our inputs into the global debate on these very important issues. Again, Europe will provide leadership on this issue and we hope that our global partners will follow. Several of you referred to the Schengen area and to the importance of having high quality immigration policies in place. I would like to assure you that we are absolutely aware of the fact that freedom and the rights of persons to free movement within Europe is one of the most important achievements, and we should treasure it. The Commission will act as the guardian of the treaties and would be ready to act if the basic foundations of these projects are called into question. After recent developments, we also have to acknowledge that we need a complex solution for all aspects of migration and that we need to consolidate trust in the system. Therefore, the Commission is convinced that only a coordinated and Community-based process is adequate as opposed to unilateral initiatives by Member States to re-introduce internal border controls."@en1

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