Government Communication Unit, 24 May 2012 10:13
Brussels, 23-24 May 2012 –
At the unofficial European Council meeting in Brussels, the European Union’s leaders discussed ways of stimulating economic growth and employment. Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the goal of the meeting was to exchange thoughts in a candid manner in an unofficial atmosphere and to prepare for the scheduled summit in late June. No binding agreements or decisions came out of the meeting.
The issues at the heart of the discussions were member states’ economic policy and reforms, development of the internal market, financing the economy and job creation, among other topics.
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said in remarks delivered at the meeting that although the keyword of the meeting was stimulating economic growth, questions of growth and increasing the employment rate have been discussed since the very beginning of the crisis.
“The preconditions for economic growth are already contained in the existing agreements,” said Ansip. “Growth is ensured by the carrying out of structural reforms, a functioning internal market and following rules that ensure budgetary discipline, not by changing these.”
Ansip said he completely shared the position of the European Commission: that economic growth based on debt is not sustainable.
Ansip expressed strong support for the proposals regarding further development of the internal market, which the Commission laid out in its declaration made on Europe Day, 9 May.
“Our inability to implement the internal market principles with sufficient resoluteness has clearly been a brake on economic growth,” said Ansip. “It is estimated that implementation of the services directive would result in 1.8 percentage points of growth per year. Creating a digital single market would provide even more impetus for economic growth.”
Ansip said fast-acting measures such as increasing the loan capacity of the European Investment Bank and the project bond idea had more value if we were able to establish a fully functional single market in the European Union.
“Yet we must not forget that the EU’s new budget is an investment budget and thus has great potential to stimulate economic growth,” said Ansip. “We have the chance to shape it into a budget that supports quality growth, so let us seize that opportunity.”