EU Heads of State or Government agreed on the European Stability Mechanism (EMS) and Treaty on stability, coordination and governance in the Economic and Monetary Union
The EU leaders convened for a European Council meeting in Brussels on 30 January. In their meeting, the EU Heads of State or Government focused on measures to enhance economic growth and competitiveness including steps to improve the position of small and medium-sized enterprises, stimulate youth employment and develop the single market. The meeting also finalised the Treaty on stability, coordination and governance in the Economic and Monetary Union and the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
The EU leaders discussed measures with which to enhance growth and employment and the European Council is to address the issue in greater detail in March.
The President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy had invited the Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen to give Finland's views on the measures to promote growth and employment. One of Finland's key priorities is to strengthen the single market, and the digital single market in particular. The EU leaders concluded that the Commission Action Plan on e-commerce should be implemented rapidly. To deploy the full potential of the digital economy, Europe's copyright regime should be modernised and best practices and models promoted.
The meeting also focused on measures necessary to stimulate youth employment and improve the position of small and medium-sized enterprises. As part of discussion on youth unemployment, Prime Minister Katainen presented the Finnish model of social guarantee for young people which aims to ensure all young people a study placement, job or training no later than three months into the period of unemployment. Each Member State must draw up a National Reform Programme with concrete measures to tackle unemployment and associated problems; implementation will be subject to enhanced monitoring in the framework of the European semester.
Union-level measures are to be carried out to improve the environment in which SMEs operate, in particular as regards the reduction of administrative and regulatory burdens, and to facilitate companies' funding opportunities.
The EU Heads of State or Government also agreed on the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the Treaty on stability, coordination and governance in the Economic and Monetary Union both are to be signed in the next European Council meeting in early March.
Prime Minister of Greece, Lukas Papademos, reported on the situation as regards the Greek central government finances and negotiations with the private sector. The EU leaders welcomed the positive developments to reduce the public deficit in Ireland, Portugal and Italy. They also called on Spain to pursue its efforts for fiscal consolidation and structural reforms.
Inquiries: Juho Romakkaniemi, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 9 1602 2055 or +358 400 505 269 and Kare Halonen, State Secretary, EU Affairs, tel. +358 9 1602 2180, Prime Ministers Office