This morning, Jose Barroso, president of the European Commission, spoke following a meeting with the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama.
His statement is detailed below.
Barroso started off by saying that the verdict on Europe's performance will be given by European voters at the next European Elections.
- returned to the trigger of the financial crisis - Lehman - and stated that the crisis still "holds back our households and companies".
- said Europe has and is fighting back and, despite senior economists fearing the break-up of the eurozone, that hasn't happened.
- said the question facing the EU is "do we talk it up, or talk it down?" as citizens are only beginning to be persuaded that things are looking up.
Barroso pointed out that recovery is in sight and, although we shouldn't over-estimate progress, there has been progress nonetheless.
European countries need to implement banking reform. This begins with the European Commission's proposed single supervisory mechanism which would, he says, means the taxpayer is safeguarded from bailing out failed banks.
- A jobless recovery must be avoided by Europe
- Avoiding the argument that persistent eurozone austerity has caused the unemployment crisis, he focused on the unsustainability of current unemployment, deeming it "socially unacceptable".
- keen to move forward with closer trade links between the EU and growing overseas markets.
- stated that consumers would gain from a single market for telecoms.
- The EU must lead the way on climate change, even if it cannot fight it alone.
THE CRISIS, AGAIN
Barroso bills Europe as part of the solution, not the problem, with more Europe being the way to fix things, not less.
Towards the end of the speech, Barroso calls the eurozone crisis a "stress test" for the EU. He asks: "Does anyone believe that we would have any credibility left in the international community if the eurozone has collapsed?"
But, Barroso said, with the centenary of WW1 next year, we should remember that it is because of Europe that former enemies sit around the same table - we should be proud
With 1.5m EUR given in aid, he stressed that the use of chemical weapons is an act that warrants condemnation and a strong reaction.
Brussels maintains the view that only political resolution can end the crisis.
- Stressed that Europe won't turn its back on Kiev.
- Called for close political union in Europe.
- Said that those who blame Europe for the financial crisis are wrong - mismanagement is to blame.
- Stressed links between one country's debt and another's banks
- We need to get a final agreement on the next budget and;
- Implement banking union in the eurozone