Barroso: economic reforms must be put on fast track
Short-term measures to resolve Europe’s economic crisis must be put on a fast track for approval, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament on Tuesday (15 November). “Regaining confidence requires swift and decisive action,” he told MEPs.
Outlining the Commission’s work programme for 2012, which had been approved by the college of commissioners that day, Barroso said that the proposals for economic reform put out late this year and early next year need to be approved quickly by the Parliament and the Council in a single reading. These measures should be passed into national law by the end of 2012, Barroso said.
Among them are the 12 measures contained in what the Commission terms the Single Market Act, which include promoting venture capital funds, a European patent, EU-wide standards for the services sector and improving energy, transport and communications infrastructure.
A fast track should also be given to recently proposed measures focused on financial sector reform, he said. These include already proposed legislation on derivatives, credit-rating agencies, capital requirements, more transparent securities markets and tackling market abuse. The Commission will propose the remaining pieces of legislation to protect investors early in 2012, including a revision of the rules governing collective investment schemes and an initiative on pre-contractual disclosures on complex investment products. The reform should be completed next year.
Barroso said long-term strategies to ensure EU growth must also be a part of the work programme next year. The Commission is in particular focusing on the area of revenue, with planned initiatives on energy taxation, a financial transaction tax and increased powers to tackle tax havens.
The work programme also contains plans for proposals on railway liberalisation, consumer rights and cross-border pension reform. Employment proposals will target youth unemployment, promote green jobs, greater flexibility in working hours and reform of the European Employment Service. A strategy on water conservation will be put forward and the Commission will complete the programme to reduce administrative burdens, to find cost savings and cut red tape.
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Two legislative proposals will be put forward seeking to facilitate cross-border recognition of civil status documents and to simplify legalisation requirements. Work to create a common EU policy on immigration and asylum will continue, with reforms to Schengen area border-checks put in place. New emission controls for cars and vans will be proposed.
The EU will also push forward on several bilateral trade negotiations, with a possible free-trade agreement with Japan and an investment agreement with China. It will also continue to monitor the situation in the southern Mediterranean, aiming for a peaceful and prosperous development of the new regimes.