Prime Minister Katainen: EU Member States need to focus on growth
At their meeting in Brussels on 1 and 2 March, the EU Heads of State or Government discussed ways to boost economic growth, employment and competitiveness in Europe. The discussion drew on the Commission's Annual Growth Survey which served as the basis for guidance that the European Council now issued for Member States. In future, the Commission is to bring into discussion firmer country-specific recommendations and its assessment of areas where the Member States are lagging behind.
- Member States need to show stronger commitment to the implementation of the given recommendations. So far, they have not been backed by sufficient political will. I have, together with a number of colleagues, discussed the 'naming and shaming' strategy. In addition to highlighting our strengths, we must be able to talk about our weaknesses, too. The management of the crisis has come to a point where we need peer pressure to increase competitiveness and boost growth, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said.
The EU Member States reaffirmed their commitment to completing the Digital Single Market by 2015.
- I am pleased that today the shortcomings of the internal market are taken much more seriously than before. As regards development in Europe, we now have a unique opportunity for enhancing the internal market and unlocking the growth potential of the Digital Single Market, Prime Minister Katainen said.
Finland emphasised the importance of commercialising innovations.
- In Europe, we must deliver world class skills to strengthen our competitiveness. In the meeting, Finland pointed out the need for a more rapid and more efficient commercialisation of new innovations. We must adopt a demand-based approach to innovation, said Katainen.
The European Council agreed to grant Serbia the status of candidate country. With regard to enlarging the Schengen area to Bulgaria and Romania, the European Council will ask the Council to revert to this issue in order to adopt its decision at the meeting of the JHA Council in September 2012.
The European Council discussed preparations for the G20 and Rio+20 Summits and the Union's foreign policy, focusing on the appalling situation in Syria.
The European Council re-elected Mr Herman Van Rompuy President of the European Council for the period from 1 June 2012 until 30 November 2014 and appointment him as chairman of the Euro Summits. The Treaty on stability, coordination and governance (TSCG) in the economic and monetary union was signed in the margins of the European Council meeting.
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