Europe at a crossroads
Barroso urges in State of Europe speech for comprehensive reforms
Event contributions, Berlin, Nov. 9, 2011
Ed.: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V.
José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, urged in Berlin for comprehensive reforms within Europe. He expressed explicitly his appreciation for Germany’s contribution during the crisis, and the given granted financial guarantees by the Germans. In German he said: „Ich möchte Ihnen für Ihren großen Einsatz für unser Europa von Herzen danken.“ Meaning: I would like to thank you from my heart for your strong commitment to our Europe.
In front of almost 900 invited guests at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Barroso spoke out his favour for more democracy, nationally, but also on a European level. To continue Europe’s prosperity, Barroso would like to see a “greater degree of economic discipline and convergence”, and to match Europe’s monetary union with an economic union. A stronger economic governance within the euro zone should form the central pillar of the union in the future. In addition to a stricter controlling and monitoring of the Maastricht criteria, the union needs new supranational bodies. These will ensure that the agreed principles and rules will be adhered to. Due to the inherent characteristics such as objectivity and independence these supranational institutions will bring, they can ensure that all Member states are treated equally, therefore also ensuring that financial stability cannot be held “hostage to politics.”
Highlights speech Barroso
“Europe is at a crossroads”, urged Barroso. If Europe would fall apart, the consequences will be fatal, both economically as politically. That is something which should be clear, now more than ever, to Europe’s citizens. Barroso used numbers from a study done by a, what he called, “very important institution here in Germany” that shows that it is estimated if the Euro area were to shrink to a few core member countries, Germany's GDP would contract by 3% and it would lose one million jobs. Only in a united Europe, prosperity, shared values and common lifestyles can remain. “Make the case for strength through unity”, as Barroso said.
Bundestag president Norbert Lammert, used the opportunity in his greeting speech, to promote a stronger role for the parliaments in Europe. The consent of the people’s representatives is in his eyes essential when it comes to issues that deal with national sovereignty, such as for example `Haushaltrecht´ in Germany, which is a parliament’s law that controls its government’s spending. Lammert firmly rejected the accusation that the European Parliament blocked rapid decision-making and reform processes. “This is contradictory, given the demand for a democratic Europe.” As well as Barroso later did in his speech, Lammert warned for a failure in the upcoming reforms. He said, if it would fail, “Europe would than leave its future behind, so as every single Member State.”
Dieter Berg, chairman of the Robert Bosch Foundation, as well as Hans-Gert Pöttering, chairman of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, called in both of their speeches to accept today’s crisis and take the challenges it has given. It is now a chance for Europe to prove it can also stand together in stormy times. Addressed to the many young visitors in the audience, Pöttering said: “The Future of Europe is in your hands. Be a responsible European citizen. Be an engaged European citizen. And be a confident European citizen.” Berg also thanked the European Commissions’ president Barroso for an “inspiring speech” that has given “a face” to Europe.
Die Europa-Rede, the “State of Europe” is an event organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Robert Bosch Stiftung and Stiftung Zukunft Berlin. Each year on the 9 of November, one of Europe’s highest representatives, will deliver a speech to present their views on Europe’s past and future. In 2010 opened Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council the “State of Europe” series.
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Live-recording of the speech of José Manuel Barroso