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European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso Virginia Mayo/AP/Press Association Images
A FRIEND IN EU

Barroso: 'The European Commission is one of Ireland's best friends'

In a speech to be delivered tomorrow night in Cork, the European Commission President praises the “sacrifices” Irish families have made.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT José Manuel Barroso believes that the Commission could be considered ‘one of Ireland’s best friends”, noting that it has always been on the country’s side.

In a speech to be delivered tomorrow night at University College Cork, Barroso praises the “courage and resilience of the Irish people” in having successfully exited the bailout.

“Families have made big sacrifices,” he says, “but Ireland has shown it can be done – if there is a determined effort across all parts of society and politics.

You had precious solidarity and financial support from the European Union and its Member States.

However, while highlighting the benefits of European Union membership for Ireland, the Commission President stresses that they are areas in which Europe “does not need to meddle”, urging voters use the European Elections in May to “decide your own destiny”.

Unemployment

He outlines tackling unemployment as a ‘matter of urgency’ for the future of Europe, and highlights efforts to ensure that all under-25s are offered some form of employment or internship once they leave education, praising Ireland’s Youth Guarantee scheme.

Speaking on the topic of the crisis in Ukraine, Barroso calls it an example of the “powerful attraction of the European model”.

“While we are very self-critical, and we need to be,” he says, “millions outside our borders want what we take for granted, in terms of standards of living, freedom of speech, freedom to protest, the rule of law, free and fair elections.”

Barroso previously said that the Euro was not to blame for Ireland’s problems, but that the currency had been a ‘victim’ of Irish banks.

Read: ‘Ireland wasn’t a victim of the Euro, the Euro was a victim of Ireland’s banks’ >

More: Barroso to receive honorary doctorate from UCC >

Membership: It could be “impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the EU >

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