British PM, European Commission chief discuss economic growth

Updated: 2011-02-18 16:59


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British PM, European Commission chief discuss economic growth
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) greets President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso at number 10 Downing Street in London February 17, 2011.  

LONDON -- British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday met with visiting European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at Downing Street No. 10, with both leaders agreeing on the need for the EU to focus on concrete and ambitious actions to reignite growth in the bloc.

The meeting took stock of the necessary steps being taken in Britain and other member states to restore the stability of public finances and deliver essential structural reforms, while continuing to invest in areas such as research, green technologies and innovation which will be the basis for sustainable growth in the future.

Cameron and Barroso reaffirmed the need to complete the single market in energy by 2014, to maintain an ambitious approach on climate change, and to speed up progress toward the EU's energy efficiency goal.

Looking ahead to the program to boost the single market that the European Commission will present later this spring, they discussed the importance of further opening of professional and business services; the digital single market and e-commerce; modernized intellectual property regime including the EU patent; effective public procurement rules; EU standards; and a better business environment, in particular for small business including the possibility of exemptions from regulation.

Noting that since 2004 the European Commission has presented proposals to cut the administrative costs of EU rules by over 30 percent, the prime minister and the president hoped to see the rapid adoption of these reforms and looked forward to the extension of this program taking account of the ongoing work of the High Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens.

They also agreed on the need to step up efforts to reduce overall regulatory burdens, including through the use of the Commission's "fitness checks" for existing EU legislation.

They agreed on the importance of better enforcement of the common EU framework to ensure fair competition and a level playing field, uphold single market freedoms, and maintain the coherence of the single market.

Cameron and Barroso stressed the importance of projecting these values in the EU's external relations and agreed to work closely together to promote a successful conclusion to the Doha Round in 2011, as well as pursue ambitious bilateral Free Trade Agreements with the EU's bilateral partners.

The two leaders also had a useful exchange of views on the forthcoming European Commission proposals on the future EU budget and agreed to continue to work closely on these issues in the coming months.

They also agreed to work closely together to increase transparency in EU budget spending, by member states and by the EU institutions.

In addition, Cameron and Barroso discussed recent developments in North Africa and the Middle East. They agreed on the need to support democratic transition and economic and social development in Tunisia and Egypt and stressed the importance of the European Commission's work to review and further develop the European Neighborhood Policy.

They also expressed their concern at the increasing under- representation of British citizens in the European Union institutions and agreed to continue to work together to encourage more British graduates to pursue a career in the EU, and to examine the options available to address the problem.



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