Austrian foreign minister for EU ‘growth fund’
“Now is the time to lay the foundations for more growth in the EU,” Spindelegger said in a statement, pointing at current work being done on the EU’s 2013-2020 budget and its 2020 strategy aimed at boosting employment.
During talks with Barroso in Vienna, the minister suggested setting up a European growth fund to promote innovative small and medium businesses and boost competitiveness in the 27-member bloc.
“Overcoming the current economic and debt crisis means also seeing it as an opportunity to lead the EU with vision and consequence on the path to growth,” he said.
EU members signed on Friday a new treaty to control budgets, but some leaders such as British Premier David Cameron — who did not sign the treaty — and opposition parties in France and Germany for example — including French presidential favourite Francois Hollande — have called for simultaneous measures to boost growth.
Spindelegger insisted that the bloc needed to pull together and take further steps towards greater union.
“We need a Europe-wide discussion about the next integration chapter, beyond crisis management and financial instruments,” he said.
Spindelegger and Barroso, who was in town for a two-day official visit, also discussed the stability of the euro currency, Serbia’s EU candidacy and relations with Austria’s neighbour Hungary, which have been tense of late.