Barroso: 'Moment of Truth' for EU Is NowBulgaria in EU | September 7, 2010, Tuesday // 11:42| views
President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso addressing the European Parliament in an unprecedented "State of the Union"-style speech Tuesday. Photo by EPA/BGNES.
President of the European Commission Manuel Barroso calling for the EU to act out as a unified entity during his first ever "State of the Union"-style address in front of the European Parliament Tuesday, reports the Bulgarian National Radio.
During his speech, the Commission President promised a quicker recovery and stronger growth within the EU than expected, but warned of continually high unemployment and varying degrees of success in combating the economic crisis among the Union's member states.
He stated that it is time "to modernize Europe's social market economy" and look deeply into the future.
Barroso pointed out to the common internal market as the greatest asset of the European Union, but remarked that more advantage is to be taken from it.
He called for a more favorable regulatory climate for businesses and a strong support for innovations to make the EU even more competitive and creative.
The Commission President also reflected on the time since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty December 1, 2009.
"The moment of truth has come for Europe when it will have to show that it is more than 27 nations that make decisions on their own," stated Barroso.
He further spoke in support of gathering financial resources at the EU level, stating that this would be more efficient and will relieve some burden from the member states.
Barroso said he was astounded that some EU members are opposing those proposals without giving them due consideration.
The Commission President proposed the issuing of EU bonds to finance infrastructure projects.
Ideas for the introduction of a EU-level tax, in particular a levy on bank and financial transactions, have been seriously discussed for quite some time and have the support of budgeting financial affairs commissioner Janusz Lewandowski.
EU finance ministers are set to meet later Tuesday to discuss these and other matters.
EUobserver.com reports that around 600 MEPs attended Barroso's speech despite the controversy and eventual scrapping of earlier plans to fine deputies who skipped it.
The Bulgarian National Radio reported that much of the reactions by MEPs revolved around the controversy around the actions of the French government with respect to Roma residing in France.
PES political group leader Martin Schulz dissented with Barroso's speach, characterizing it as "a little liberal, a little conservative, and a little green," and saying it did not go forward to proposing any specific measures against unemployment.
Leader of the liberal ALDE political group Guy Verhofstadt joined socialist Schulz in slamming Barroso for failing to denounce the campaign of deporting Roma currently carried out by the French government under president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Debates on the French Roma campaign are scheduled in the European Parliament for later Tuesday.
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