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Leaders from the 27 member states of the European Union kicked off here on Thursday a two-day summit to deal with economic issues such as unemployment and financial supervision as well as institutional matters like Lisbon Treaty and candidacy of the European Commission chief.
Facing swelling joblessness across the EU, the leaders are supposed to approve a proposal — A Shared Commitment for Employment — by the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, to boost employment.
Key measures include safeguarding jobs, upgrading training and providing support for business and industry via a European micro credit program.
They will discuss and endorse a pan-European system of financial supervision to avoid reoccurrence of similar crisis in the future, including the creation of three pan-European watchdogs and a European Systemic Risk Board that would monitor risks to economic stability.
On institutional issue, the 53-year-old Barroso, current president of the EU’s executive commission, is expected to drum up support for a second term in the next five years.
As Barroso is the sole candidate for the post, he is mostly likely to get the support he wants as the Portuguese incumbent conservative has already received conditional support from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
His reappointment could be in mid-July when the new European parliament meets for the first time after elections, in which the center right European People’s Party won as the biggest grouping.
On the troubled Lisbon Treaty, leaders are expected to agree on a number of legal-binding guarantees to persuade Irish voters to back the treaty.
Ireland, which rejected the treaty in a referendum last year, is preparing to hold another referendum on the treaty later this year.
Preparation for “a successful and ambitious” Copenhagen deal on climate change is another topic the summit will cover. Specifically, progress on organizing its financial contribution to help developing countries in the fight of global warming is urged at the meeting.
On illegal migration, Barroso has called for a debate at the European Council on how the EU could take immediate action to help relive the pressure on some member states in the Mediterranean region.
He urged that the European Council conclusions should recognize that these are EU problems requiring solidarity and cooperation from all member states.