Today was an interesting day. The Eurozone finance ministers agreed, unanimously, to give additional support for Greece. This was an important decision, and I know that Greece and the whole Eurozone have to have success with this new program to achieve the necessary deficit reduction and sustainable growth. Speaking of sustainable growth: I am grateful for the work of the High Level Group on Administrative Burden Reduction led by Edmund Stoiber and including also fellow Portuguese Mr Carvalho Goucha with whom I was on the plane back from Portugal. Their report shows that there is a potential to reduce administrative burden at member state level worth about 40 billion Euros. It is crucial to recognise that not every bureaucratic burden that comes from EU law was introduced by Brussels but that these burdens may be added through member state implementation of rules, too. We should learn from the best examples, and support the growth strategy of the Europe 2020 agenda!
During the day, I have been telephoning with Prime Minister Awn al-Khasawneh and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan to discuss bilateral ties between the EU and their country. Finally, I met with Somali prime minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali with whom we discussed the contribution Europe can make to further stabilise his country. This meeting comes ahead of conference on Somalia in London on 23rd and 24th of February. It is good to see the recent developments but we know that there is still a long way to go. I very much recommend the blog post of the UK ambassador to Somalia for a background reading.
Tomorrow, I will meet with the President of Cyprus. His country will take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union from July and we will have a lot to discuss ahead of this period. This will be another interesting day, I suppose.