EU strives to tackle external challenges, stressing economic governance

08:49, September 17, 2010      

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European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso attend a press conference after the EU leaders summit in Brussels, capital of Belgium, on Sept. 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Wu Wei)

European Union (EU) leaders strived at an informal meeting on Thursday for resolution for various challenges from outside world while stressing economic governance inside of the bloc.

Heads of member states and governments met in Brussels on Thursday on the occasion of the European Council to discuss relations with strategic partners and economic governance.

According to the meeting's conclusions, the Europe is facing many challenges in a rapidly changing world, such as climate change, energy security, proliferation, terrorism and piracy, which all require a concerted international response.

The council well discussed how to give new momentum to the bloc 's external relations, taking full advantage of the opportunities provided by the Lisbon Treaty. It agreed on the need for Europe to promote its interests and values more assertively and in a spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso both stressed the need for EU member states to work closely together.

"We can only be strong if we are united,"Van Rompuy reminded at a news conference held here on Thursday.

He underlined the importance of Thursday's meeting as it is the first of a series dedicated to foreign affairs.

Barroso reiterated the need to identify the European interest that is not in contradiction with national interests, but that reinforces precisely the sum of those interests.

Economic governance was also an important point addressed by the meeting. Concerning the Task Force, "a large consensus" has been reached on some of the most important issues, including the economic surveillance framework, the strengthening of national fiscal framework and progress on sanctions.

Barroso declared that the EU should "keep the momentum in terms of reforms of the system and economic governance."

The meeting also touched aids for Pakistan, Middle East peace process, EU-Africa relations after an expectation for the Asia- Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels, G20 summit in Seoul and Cancun conference on climate change in October.

In the aftermath of the terrible floods that struck Pakistan, the council reiterated on Thursday its intention to strengthen cooperation on political issues and to deliver additional assistance to help the victims recover from the floods.

The council also adopted on Thursday a declaration concerning the Middle East peace process, giving a welcome to the launch of negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

On occasion of the one-day meeting, European Council " unanimously "approved the Free Trade Agreement with Republic of Korean on Thursday.

Source: Xinhua


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