EU Heads of State or Government agreed on President of the Commission, financial supervision and guarantees for Ireland
At its meeting in Brussels on 18 and 19 June, the European Council unanimously elected José Manual Barroso as the candidate for the post of President of the European Commission.
As for Finland’s support to the re-election of Barroso, Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said that President Barroso had been very successful in this role during his first term of office. His actions have promoted equity for the Member States, and he has also listened to the small Member States, Prime Minister Vanhanen said. According to the Prime Minister, it was important for the effective functioning and continuity of the Commission that the European Council reached agreement on the candidate for the post of President directly after the European Parliament elections.
The final decision concerning the President lies with the European Parliament which can either approve of reject the candidate. The European Council expects the Parliament to decide on the matter at its first plenary session in July. Other members to the new Commission will be elected in the autumn.
The EU Heads of State or Government decided on the precise formulations of the guarantees for Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty. The guarantees will answer to the concerns relating to issues such as Ireland’s traditional non-alignment policy and the Union’s competences in relation to taxation. This declaration will not change the Treaty of Lisbon which is to reform the EU's decision-making system and on which Ireland is expected to vote again in the autumn.
Based on a proposal by the Commission, the meeting agreed on new structures and practises for the EU's financial supervision. Financial supervision will be intensified through the establishment of a European level supervision system consisting of a cooperation network of national supervision authorities and three separate supervision agencies in the banking, securities and insurance sectors. A separate agency responsible for monitoring and supervising the stability of financial markets will be established in connection with the European System of Central Banks.
Prime Minister Vanhanen considered this decision to be very good and in line with Finland’s interests. He pointed out that Finland had, for a long time, emphasised that it was necessary to set up comprehensive financial supervision at the EU level. According to him, stricter supervision and cross-border management of financial market disturbances in the Member States provide tools for preventing any future financial crises.
In addition, the Heads of State or Government outlined, on the basis of Finland’s initiative, that the EU should strengthen its coordination of economic policy in order to prevent the spiral of indebtedness in public finances. In the light of current economic prospects, further finance policy stimulus measures are no longer justified; instead, attention should be paid to the stabilisation of public finances.
Further information: Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, Government Secretariat for EU Affairs, tel. +358 9 1602 2180 and Anna-Mari Vimpari, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, EU Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office, tel. +358 9 1602 2242 or +358 40 722 7028