Luxemburg, 16 October 2012 Press release

Lopatka: EU pact for growth and employment to fight high unemployment rates

State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka at the General Affairs Council in Luxemburg

Luxemburg, 16 October 2012 – Today's session of the General Affairs Council included negotiations with the European Parliament on the multi-annual financial framework 2014 – 2020. Another item on the agenda was the coming European Council to be held on 18 and 19 October, which will be dedicated to crisis fighting measures.

"I have made our position clear vis-à-vis the European Parliament on behalf of Austria: "better spending" means optimising the expense-side of the EU budget before employing additional funds. There are areas that could handle EU funds more efficiently, especially with regard to cohesion policy, where major budget volume is blocked and cannot be used. The Commission will have to provide clear proposals for solutions here", the Austrian State Secretary demanded.

The main issue at today's Council was preparation for the European Council session on 18 and 19 October. "At the upcoming summit, measures will be debated that are suitable for boosting growth and employment. For Austria it is important that the countries continue their consolidation measures", Lopatka continued. "I stressed, in particular, the important role of small and medium-sized companies that are the backbone of the European economy. They account for 21 million companies – more than 98 percent of all companies in Europe – and they employ over 87 million people. These companies have been severely affected by the crisis and must be the focus of our attention, because we can look to them for the creation of jobs.  The importance of the Austrian demand for easier access to financing has now been recognised at the European level."

The ministers also held a video conference with the President of the European Council Van Rompuy on his report on deepening the economic and currency union. State Secretary Lopatka welcomed the proposals on banking supervision.


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