Having read the program of Barroso and having listened to the debate today (15/09/09) in the European Parliament, and regardless of the result of the vote of tomorrow where most likely he will be confirmed with the new mandate, I can only say one thing: this man is talking to the wrong audience!
When he speaks about Europe taking the lead,
When he speaks about the need of a strong commission in a strong Europe,
When he says that Europe needs a serious transparent budget giving the EU the capacity to raise its own resources,
When he talks about common immigration policy, coordination of R&D, European recovery package, green economy, regulation of financial markets…
When Barroso talks about all this in the European Parliament he is preaching to the converted. The European Parliament has already expressed several times, and many times even before the European Commission, about the need to bring more Europe in all the abovementioned topics.
If this didn’t happen it was not because the EP didn’t want to, or the European Commission was not aware of it… they didn’t happen because the European Council and the council of ministers, guardians of the national interests, have been extremely reticent in letting go in these fields.
If we don’t have a stronger European Commission –let alone an European Government- is because the European Council insists in treating the commission as a secretariat of the Council and prioritises putting weak politicians to manage it,
If the EU has such a tiny, non-transparent, subject to national bargain budget is because the member states prefer to spend money at national level even when that is economically inefficient and politically wrong,
If we don’t have a common immigration policy, or a true European research strategy, or we don’t have a serious European recovery plan or we don’t have the necessary investment in green economy to get out of the crisis it is not because the EP or the Commission don’t want to, it is because member states continue to think they can do better apart than together!
The EP and the European Commission are the two communitarian institutions “par excellence” and this facilitates the understanding of many issues for they deal with them everyday. The real problem is the European Council where the heads of state and prime ministers meet to bargain about their national interests and where the EU is very seldom the winner. The discussions in the European Council are of very low level and our heads of state and prime ministers, not understanding what their real role is, only try to get as much as they can back home.
I put my hand on the fire that not a single member of the European Council has followed the debate in the European Parliament. Even the Swedish presidency sent the minister for EU affairs Malstrom and not its prime minister.
For all this I reiterate my conclusion with a pledge to Mr Barroso:
Dear Jose Manuel,
Convincing the EP is peanuts, in fact your program is a copy-paste of many of the European Parliament policies and decisions. Now, please go and explain all what you presented in the EP to the European Council, present them your program and see what they say. It is in the European Council where you will find the real problem for the future ambitions of Europe. As you well know, there is where the power and the money are and they are the people that will decide whether you can become the leader you want to be or stay their mere secretary.
Let us know how it goes, the fate of Europe depends on it!