EC head: Financial recovery 'within sight'
Updated: 2013-09-12 03:46
By Tuo Yannan in Brussels, Belgium (chinadaily.com.cn)
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Wednesday that Europe's recovery from its financial crisis is still fragile but "within sight" and he urged the commission to push ahead with reforms.
"The recovery is within sight. This should push us to keep up our efforts," Barroso said in his annual State of the Union speech to lawmakers in Strasbourg, France, the official seat of the European Parliament. "We owe it to our 26 million unemployed."
Barroso said the European Union (EU), of which the the commission is the executive body, mobilized more than 700 billion euros ($932 billion) to pull crisis-struck countries back from the brink of financial disaster, and he called it the biggest such stabilization effort ever for Europe.
“If we look back and think about what we have done together to unite Europe throughout the crisis, I think it is fair to say that we would never have thought all of this possible five years ago," Barroso said.
Although he said the financial crisis in Europe has not ended, “we see that the countries who are most vulnerable to the crisis and are now doing the most to reform their economies, and are starting to note positive results."
Barroso said the EU needs to avoid a jobless recovery and therefore Europe "must speed up the pace of structural reforms."He urged the 28-member states to increase efforts to overhaul their economies with reforms to put the euro zone and wider EU on sound footing.
Barroso also urged swift progress to create the bloc's planned banking union, which would give oversight of the euro zone's biggest banks to the European Central Bank. He said the project must be completed to "make sure that taxpayers are no longer in the front line to pay" when banks fail.
"What we can and must do, first and foremost is delivering the banking union," the former prime minister of Portugal said. "It is the first and most urgent phase on the way to deepen our economic and monetary union."