The Slovenia Times

Van Rompuy Highlights Importance of Economic Growth, Reforms


Van Rompuy noted that European leaders had been focused on tackling the public financial crisis over the past two years and a half.

"Renewing the trust in the future of the eurozone is a key factor for encouraging growth and employment," he said, adding that the latter were the final goal of the austerity measures.

The EU council president touched on the signing of the fiscal compact and the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism, praising Slovenia for being one of the few to have already ratified them both.

While the EU has measures for encouraging growth and creating new jobs in mind, these reforms will not work overnight. "Reforms will bring change and new jobs in time," Van Rompuy said, stressing that they must be just, as some of them could be very painful.

Slovenia has always had ambitious goals - it was the first country from the former Yugoslavia to join the bloc and was the first among the countries that joined the EU in 2004 to enter the eurozone and hold the EU presidency, he stressed.

Van Rompuy also expressed hope that all countries would ratify Croatia's accession agreement in time and that the country would join the EU on 1 July 2013.

"I hope and expect that bilateral questions will be resolved in the spirit of neighbourly cooperation," the EU president said, pointing to open issues between Croatia and Slovenia.

Touching on the Western Balkans, he expressed belief that all countries in the region should continue with the political and economic reforms to advance on the European path.

The EU will offer support, but the final decision is up to the countries and their people, Van Rompuy said, adding that he hoped "new leaders in Serbia will stick to the European path".


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