Wednesday

22nd Nov 2017

Barroso envisages 'federation of nation states'

  • Barroso (l), Schulz (c) and commissioner Vivianne Reding (r) - all have been mooted as potential candidates for next commission President (Photo: europarl.euroopa.eu)

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso used his third annual state of the union speech on Wednesday (12 September) to call for a "federation of nation states."

During a 45-minute address to MEPs in the Strasbourg Parliament, Barroso said the EU should move toward genuine economic and monetary union, alongside political union and a more harmonised foreign and defence policy.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Ashton (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

As expected, the speech was dominated by the unveiling of new legal proposals to put the European Central Bank at the heart of a banking union for the eurozone.

But the commission chief also gave a prominent place to ideas on reforming rules for pan-EU political parties, some 18 months ahead of the 2014 European elections.

He said the parties should each propose a candidate for the next commission president.

Centre-right politicians have begun talking openly on whether Barroso himself, or perhaps Polish leader Donald Tusk, should run, while Socialists are expected to back the current EU parliament chief, Martin Schulz for the post.

Meanwhile, according to Barroso, the commission will present an embryonic plan for a new EU treaty before the 2014 vote, in a bid to use the election campaign to debate the future of the 27-country bloc.

In this, he has joined with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has also demanded for a re-write of the EU treaties.

Facing down criticism that steps towards closer co-ordination of national budgets and banking union risk undermining democratic legitimacy and accountability, he insisted that treaty change would make EU decision-making "more open and democratic."

Any proposals would include "elements for reinforced democracy and accountability," he said.

He also accused governments of creating a "vicious spiral" by signing up to decisions at EU summits only to undermine them the following day.

"It is not acceptable to present these European meetings as if they were boxing events, claiming a knockout victory over a rival," Barroso said.

EU leaders had regarded the 10-year process needed to ratify the Lisbon Treaty after the collapse in 2005 of the European Constitution as the last major treaty reform for a generation. But the eurozone debt crisis has led to a string of measures to tighten the bloc's rules on debts and budget deficits.

In addition to economic governance laws, including penal fines for non-compliance with debt reduction targets, most EU countries have signed up to the fiscal compact treaty which enshrines the rules in national constitutions.

The former Portuguese prime minister's speech met with a mixed reception on Wednesday.

Liberal group leader Guy Verhofstadt, rejected the idea of a federation of states as "more of the same," calling instead for "a federal union of European citizens."

Hannes Swoboda, the Austrian leader of the Socialist group, welcomed Barroso's repeated commitment to the EU's "social market economy," calling for a policy shift away from what he termed "the current neo-liberal direction of Europe driving countries deeper into recession and people into poverty."

Meanwhile, Martin Callanan, who heads the British Conservative-dominated ECR group, described the demands for treaty change as "the knee-jerk reflex of the European elite to every crisis."

ECB to become bank union supremo

The ECB will supervise Europe’s biggest banks from mid-2013, according to controversial banking union proposals to be announced Wednesday.

Merkel wants EU treaty convention by end of year

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pressing for a new EU treaty convention by December, despite opposition from many countries, Der Spiegel reports. She is also revisiting the idea of the EU's top court being granted jurisdiction over national budgets.

Mali blames West for chaos in Libya

Mali's foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop told the EU in Brussels that the lack of vision and planning following the Nato-led bombing campaign in Libya helped trigger the current migration and security crisis.

Mali blames West for chaos in Libya

Mali's foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop told the EU in Brussels that the lack of vision and planning following the Nato-led bombing campaign in Libya helped trigger the current migration and security crisis.

News in Brief

  1. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  2. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  3. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers
  4. French banks close Le Pen accounts
  5. Commission relaxes rules on labelling free range eggs
  6. Commission issues €34m fine over car equipment cartel
  7. Estonian presidency 'delighted' with emissions trading vote
  8. Mladic found guilty of genocide and war crimes

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  2. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  3. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  4. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  6. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  7. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  8. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  9. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  10. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  11. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  12. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure

Latest News

  1. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  2. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  3. Commission warns Italy over high debt level
  4. Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes
  5. Uber may face fines in EU for keeping data breach secret
  6. EU counter-propaganda 'harms' relations, Russia says
  7. The EU's half-hearted Ostpolitik
  8. Glyphosate: 1.3 million EU citizens call for ban