Barroso wants new treaty to allow more power for Brussels
EUROPEAN COMMISSION chief José Manuel Barroso wants to transform the EU into a “federation of nation states” with a new treaty in which countries would hand over increased powers to the authorities in Brussels.
The appetite for such a move is doubtful, given the political problems it would present, but any such development could lead to another Irish referendum.
Mr Barroso did not set out the new powers to be established by any treaty change but said a true economic and monetary union could not be completed within the EU treaties as they stood. A new EU “political union” should have a coherent foreign and defence policy and should be able to deploy military missions in crisis areas.
“While deeper integration is indispensable for the euro area and its members, this project should remain open to all member sates,” Mr Barroso said.
“I said . . . on purpose a federation of nation states because in these turbulent times, these times of anxiety, we should not leave the defence of the nation just to the nationalists and populists.”
He also laid out plans to give more recognition to pan-European political groups and said they should be entitled to field candidates for the presidency of the European Commission in the 2014 election to the European Parliament.
Although government leaders traditionally appoint the commission chief, Mr Barroso said treaty change was not required to change the procedure.
In his third annual “state of the union” speech to MEPs in Strasbourg, Mr Barroso said a new federation was on the horizon and he argued the pooled sovereignty meant more power in an age of globalisation, not less.
“Today I call for a federation of nation states, not a superstate,” he said. “A deep and genuine economic and monetary union can be started under the current treaties, but can only be completed with changes in the treaties. So let’s start it now but let’s have the horizon for the future present in our decisions of today.”
Mr Barroso said a political union meant doing more in the global arena.
“The world needs an EU that keeps its leadership at the forefront of development and humanitarian assistance, that stands by open economies and fights protectionism, that leads the fight against climate change.
“The world needs a Europe that is capable of deploying military missions to help stabilise the situation in crisis areas. We need to launch a comprehensive review of European capabilities and begin truly collective defence planning.”