In his annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso today made a strong case for new direction and a new thinking for Europe.
He sketched out the way towards more European unity to overcome the crisis and maintain sovereignty in a globalized world. Noting that the questions of the future cannot be answered with the tools of the past, he stressed that “in an interconnected world, Europe’s Member States on their own are no longer able to effectively steer the course of events.”
President Barroso called for a decisive deal for Europe “to project our values, our freedom and our prosperity into the future of a globalized world.” This would be an expression of Europe’s determination to reform together, to maintain the integrity of the Union, and show the irreversibility of the euro. A deal that “requires the completion of a deep and genuine economic union, based on a political union.” He pointed out that ultimately, a deep and genuine economic and monetary union, a political union, with a coherent foreign and defense policy, means that the EU must evolve and he called for a federation of nation states. “Not a superstate. A democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems, through the sharing of sovereignty…In the age of globalization pooled sovereignty means more power, not less.”
Further political integration, he highlighted, also means doing more to fulfill Europe’s global role. “More than ever our citizens and the new world order need an active and influential Europe. This is not just for us, for the rest of the world it is important that we succeed. A Europe that stands by its values. And a Europe that stands up for its belief that human rights are not a luxury for the developed world, they should be seen as universal values.”
In this context:
Barroso vs public opinion: much closer than you might think
This is something that MEPs have long argued for and in a recent Eurobarometer survey published by Parliament, 54% of those asked said they would be more interested in voting in the European elections if political groups presented candidates for the position of Commission president. Full analysis here.