Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all thank you for inviting me for this very important occasion here today inj Brussels but on Polish territory, in the new representation of Poland.
I am very pleased to be here as a guest at the opening of these new premises, which will shortly become the Brussels headquarters of the Polish Presidency.
I have congratulated the Prime Minister, the Permanent Representative and all those who have contributed to this new, modern and beautiful building.
In fact, during the working lunch I have enjoyed the beautiful view of the Berlaymont - because usually I don't see it from the outside. This view is in fact a good indication that now Poland is indeed our neighbour, geographically and physically. We are located in the same area in Brussels, so I can say that we are closer than ever.
But of course this is not just about this proximity here in Brussels, it is about the proximity of the views, the real convergence of the views about the European future between Poland and the European Commission.
Prime Minister Tusk and I, Poland and the European Commission, we both believe in a stronger Europe, a Europe of solidarity, a Europe that remains committed to its basic values, a Europe that is stronger by acting together, a Europe that respects difference but believes that difference can be an asset if there is a sense of a common purpose. This is why I believe we will have a very successful Polish Presidency.
This feeling has been confirmed, once again, during the meeting I just had with Prime Minister Donald Tusk. We had a very useful discussion about the challenges and opportunities for the Polish Presidency and about our current agenda. In the second half of the year, these two agendas, the European agenda and the Polish Presidency agenda, will blend together, to the benefit of both Poland and the European Union. I strongly believe that!
The objectives set out by the Prime Minister and our discussion today confirm that Poland has every intention of delivering a strong and ambitious Presidency, to enact a similarly strong and ambitious European agenda. I am happy to see that the Polish Presidency's priorities - namely the internal market, essential to boost growth and create new jobs, energy issues, education and the reinforcement of our Neighbourhood Policy, including the Eastern Partnership, - also reflect the proposals and ideas put forward by the Commission.
Just an example, I want to announce to you that tomorrow I hope the Commission will adopt the new document for the future of the Neighbourhood policy. That is something very important as we know for the Polish Presidency, including of course the summit of the Eastern Partnership that will take place at the end of September in Warsaw.
We also spoke about the EU budget and the upcoming discussions on the EU’s multiannual financial framework. The Commission will make its proposal in June, based on the Treaty objectives.
I agree with the Prime Minister that from 2014, the EU has to be equipped with a modern budget able to face today's challenges and to invest in the future. It is important also in these times of difficulties to show our citizens that we are investing in their future. This budget also needs to target areas where the EU makes a difference and brings added value. This means real priorities like a knowledge-based jobs agenda; green technology; energy security, research and innovation; and pushing Europe’s interests on the global stage. But it also means an improved cohesion policy. Let me be clear: the choice of a modern and forward-looking Union does not threaten the EU's cohesion policy. On the contrary, it will continue to be a strategically important area of activity for the EU in the future.
I have said it and I can repeat in once again, without cohesion, there is no solidarity, without solidarity, we cannot have a real Union. What we need now in the European Union is action and the political will of our Member States. We still have a lot of work to do in the coming months and this must be done in a determined and coordinated manner. I am sure that the Polish Presidency will be up to the task. I very much count on Prime Minister Tusk with the prestige he has among all the European leaders to push forward always in the good cooperation we have with Poland, and Poland with the European institutions, and in particular the European Commission. I count very much on you, my dear friend, to push this ambitious agenda during the next six months.
I once again thank you for inviting me on this occasion. Congratulations for this important step that you took today to much realize the objectives of an even stronger Presidency in Brussels.