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President of the European Council

Volume 504: debated on Friday 29 January 2010

To ask the Prime Minister what matters were (a) discussed and (b) agreed upon in his meeting on 19 January with the President of the Council of the European Union. (313544)

I refer the hon. Member to the press notice issued by my office on 19 January 2010. A copy is available on the Number 10 website:

Tuesday 19 January 2010

President of the European Council and PM discuss strategy for growth

The Prime Minister has said that members of the EU must raise the level of ambition for Europe’s future growth and employment.

The UK Government has published a compact designed to “reinvigorate” EU economies and build “strong, sustainable and balanced” growth.

Gordon Brown welcomed the new President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, to Downing Street this morning to discuss the priorities for Europe including action on the economy, climate change and security.

They also discussed the situation in Haiti following last week’s devastating earthquake. Mr van Rompuy said the EU has responded swiftly to the situation, with EU members already pledging €400 million, including €30 million from the UK. The EU is committed to helping Haiti with longer term reconstruction, Mr van Rompuy said.

On the economy, Mr Brown said EU countries must agree co-ordinated measures that will build a strong recovery.

President van Rompuy and I are agreed that at this critical point in Europe’s history, we must now more than ever, raise our level of ambition for Europe’s future growth and employment.

The European Union, despite the challenge of Asia and the rest of the world, remains the world’s largest trading block.

We are the biggest export market in the world, we are the largest internal market in the world and we have to forge a new economic strategy for our future following the economic crisis.

Gordon Brown said measures to improve growth and job prospects include investment in the low-carbon economy, open markets, the completion of the single market, and more flexible labour markets.

Mr van Rompuy said he has called an informal meeting of the European Council in February to look at formulating a new economic strategy for the region.