While fighting the crisis has been the European Council’s top priority for over two years now, “we must not lose sight of the path ahead but must keep setting orientations for the future,” President Van Rompuy stressed in his remarks following the meeting that took place on 28 to 29 June 2012.
The European Council decided on a “Compact for Growth and Jobs“. It will mobilise 120 billion euro for immediate investment, which will boost the financing of the economy and help create jobs.
“We’re not leaving the crisis behind us with this Compact”, declared Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark’s Prime Minister, “but nevertheless, this decision provides us with hope, direction and tangible results in order to move Europe forward and create new growth and new jobs.”
The aim of the compact is to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy to unlock domestic potential for growth, including through opening up competition in network industries, promoting the digital economy, exploiting the potential of a green economy, removing unjustified restrictions on service providers and making it easier to start a business. The compact indicates areas of action: tackling unemployment, especially among young people, modernising public administration and developing e-government services.
A key area will be the deepening of the Single Market, in particular in creating digital and network industries and realising the Digital Single Market by 2015. The internal energy market should be completed by 2014 and all member states connected to the gas and electricity networks by 2015.
Leaders also discussed foreign affairs. They condemned the brutal violence in Syria and called for strong actions to press the regime to end the bloodshed and to support a political solution to the crisis.
As regards Iran, heads of state or government stressed their “serious concerns about the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme”, urged Teheran to cooperate constructively and welcomed the entry into force of the EU oil embargo on 1 July 2012.
Finally, there was good news for Montenegro as the European Council endorsed the decision to open accession negotiations with that country.
Source: European Council, 29/06/2012 (http://www.european-council.europa.eu/home-page/highlights/main-results-of-the-june-european-council-meeting?lang=en)