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European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
choose growth

Speaking in Dublin, EC President urges Europe to ‘choose growth’

José Manuel Barroso also said that combating youth unemployment was a priority for the European Commission.

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION President, José Manuel Barroso, told an IBEC conference in Dublin this morning that Europe “must choose growth”.

Addressing 400 of the continent’s top business people, he outlined ways that we could boost employment and cut budget deficits.

Mr Barroso said the economic crisis has changed the way in which both business and politics are done “and we must urgently and actively adapt our policies and attitudes” to deliver growth but he admits it remains “a formidable challenge”.

He said new competitors have emerged, which have brought new challenges for Europe, other issues affecting the EU include an ageing population, increasing energy costs, the impact of climate change, and now also systemic unemployment, particularly among younger people:

Here in Ireland, and all around Europe, too many young people are asking if they will ever find a job or have the same quality of life as their parents.

Young people need better prospects, he said and that is why in the recent budget negotiations the Commission fought to secure a large increase in funding for youth for the likes of greater Erasmus programmes and a new Youth Employment Initiative, which will provide €6 billion euro for regions with youth unemployment rates above 25 per cent.

Speaking about foreign trade, Barroso said they were negotiating with partners such as South Korea and Singapore and that they should soon finalise a deal with Canada. “We are about to start negotiating with Japan and are looking at a deeper relationship with China,” he added.

And under the Irish Presidency we hope to be able to start negotiating a deep and comprehensive new trade agreement with the US which could bring us an increase of 1 per cent of EU GDP.

He also said that in recent months, markets had been more stable and that “there are signs that confidence is starting to return to Ireland and Europe”.

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, also spoke at the IBEC conference earlier today about the impact of the Croke Park deal and how Ireland was determined to exit its bailout programme before year-end.

Read: IBEC appeals for ‘no more taxes’ to try and ease austerity

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