We have won the battle for stability, the outgoing president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso told the members of the European Parliament, warning that growth is still timid and threats remain for the eurozone.
Barroso who assumed the leadership of the Commission in 2004 delivered a speech in the Plenary on Tuesday, on the work done by the Commission during his second term.
“If we think where we were ten years ago and where we are now we can say that today we have more ways to tackle crisis in the eurozone. I think now we are better prepared, than we were before, to face a crisis like the one that we have seen, in the future” he said.
He noted that when the crisis started the EU had almost no instruments to respond to it and no mechanisms to support the countries that were facing the immediate threat of default.
“Collectively, Commission and member states, always with the strong support of the Parliament, we have created a new system of governance, with unprecedented powers for the community institutions” he said, adding that the European Central Bank is today possible to directly supervise the banks in Europe something that was “almost unimaginable before the crisis”.
“The banking union was not in the Treaties but we needed it if we wanted to fulfill the objectives of the Treaties, namely the objective of stability for growth” he said.
“There are still many difficulties, but don’t forget where we were. We were more close to the default of our member states” he added.
“In terms of stability we are much better now than before” he pointed out, warning however that “growth is still timid” and “threats remain, but we have won the battle of stability. Euro has shown that it is a very strong, credible and stable currency”.
Barroso also underlined that “sustainable growth is possible if we continue the courageous path of reforms and stronger governance for the EU”.
Speaking on the crisis in Ukraine, Barroso said that the EU “took a principle position” and offered Ukraine an association agreement and a free trade agreement.
“This crisis is not yet solved but we must be proud that we have kept a position of principle, that we have condemned the actions of Russia” he said, adding that “we believe a political negotiated solution is possible, that respects the principles of the international law, the sovereignty and the independence of that country and its right to decide on its own future”.