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Barroso: EU politics could hurt recovery

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 01:45

Sept 11 - European Commission's chief warns Europe not to derail fragile recovery and says greatest downside risk is political. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has called on the EU to cement its fragile economic recovery even as an emergence from crisis reduces pressure to act, saying political upheaval was still the biggest risk. Giving his annual "State of the Union" speech to the European Parliament since the euro zone's debt crisis has dramatically calmed, Barroso said investors still lack confidence in the euro zone. Barroso warned against complacency when unemployment is at a record level and urged "constancy". The euro zone returned to growth in spring of this year after its longest ever recession brought on by the debt and banking crisis that nearly broke the currency bloc apart. The commission chief said that economical recovery was within sight. Pressure for action has receded across European capitals since European Central Bank President Mario Draghi promised to do whatever it takes to save the euro zone last year. European plans for a banking union and closer fiscal ties to withstand future crises risk being watered down too. Barroso, whose term ends next year, tried to counter some of that reticence, warning that financial markets were still not fully convinced that Europe had put its problems behind it. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, SAYING (SOUNDBITE STARTS WITH SHOT OF BELGIAN MEP GUY VERHOFSTADT AND FRENCH MEP JOSEPH DAUL LISTENING ON) "At this point in time, with a fragile recovery, the biggest downside risk I see is, you know what, is political --this is the biggest downside risk we have. In this phase of the crisis, governments' job is to provide the certainty and predictability that markets still lack." (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, SAYING: "There is no way back to business as usual. Some people believe that after this, everything will come back as it was before. They are wrong, this crisis is different, this is not a cyclical crisis but a structural crisis. We will not go back to the "old" normal, we have to shape a "new" normal." (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, SAYING: "Today we will formally adopt a proposal that gives a push towards a single market for telecoms. Citizens know that Europe has dramatically dropped down their costs for roaming. Our proposal will strengthen these guarantees and lower prices for consumers and present new opportunities for companies. We know that in the future trade will be more and more digital. Isn't it a paradox that we have an internal market for goods but when it comes to digital market we have 28 national markets?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, SAYING: "Today, countries like Ukraine are more than ever seeking closer ties to the European Union, attracted by our economic and social model. We cannot turn our back on them. We cannot accept any attempt to limit these countries' own sovereign choices."

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Barroso: EU politics could hurt recovery

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 01:45