On the eve of a two-day meeting in Brussels, Barroso said it would be a "fundamental error" to have leaders focus on financial regulation and skip "social consequences of the economic crisis," the EU Observer reported Thursday.
"It would be unacceptable that EU leaders meet at the highest level and that they discuss the problems of the banks and not social problems," he said. "That would be really unacceptable."
Barroso said leaders should focus on the outcome of their decisions, most critically on employment.
The average jobless rate among member states reached 7.6 percent in January. In Spain, unemployment has reached 15 percent in Spain. In France, it is more than 8 percent.
Barroso said member states should takes steps outlined in December in the European Economic Recovery Plan.
"What we need now is not words but action. We need implementation of the recovery plan," he said tot he Observer, urging stimulus programs that would create jobs.
"If member states are in a position to do more, they should do more."