Think Tank Dialogue on EU Federalism: debate with the participation of José Manuel Barroso
Brussels - International Press Centre
On 22 April 2013, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, took part in a panel debate on "The State of the EU in 2013 - Heading towards Federalism or Fragmentation?" in the framework of the Brussels Think Tank Dialogue.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Statement by Matina Stevis, Journalist at The Wall Street Journal and Moderator of the panel debate, (in ENGLISH):The feeling in my hometown, Athens, and in your hometown, Lisbon, is not just that these are provinces of the European Union. It is that they are the backwater of the European Union. The role of the institutions, the role of the Commission, within the context of this crisis can surely not just be to provide intellectual leadership or aspiration. Surely it must be to be relevant to the citizens in Athens and Lisbon or in Nicosia and to be strong. I've heard you and others describe the Commission as the guardian of the Treaty. It means nothing to an Athenian that you are the guardian of the Treaty. The Treaty means nothing. You are to be the guardian of that citizen, of your compatriot in Lisbon. So, it is the moment for the European institutions to decide whether they will be strong and relevant or weak and irrelevant. That is an existential moment for you, Sir, as well as for the Union itself.
||José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, (in ENGLISH) reacting to Matina Stevis' statement: First, I have to react to a statement you have made when you said that the Treaty means nothing (even if you are a moderator, it was not a moderate statement), I say to you, it means a lot, because one of the reasons we have a rise of unemployment in Greece is because the Treaty was not respected by the Greek authorities and by other countries. We have a Stability and Growth Pact, we have rules and those European rules were not respected by the Greek authorities, so these unemployed people in Greece should be told that the authorities of their country did not respect the Treaties that they have signed. Not only that country. So a Treaty means immense for Europe, not all, but the difference between the European order of today and the order of the First and the Second World War is precisely in that now we are a community based on law and common principles. Before we were a Europe based on balance of power, confrontation and even the worst. So to say that the Treaty means nothing, I simply cannot accept it. A community of law is fundamentally different from "l'état de jungle", from arbitrary powers.
||Debate on "The State of the EU in 2013. Heading towards Federalism or Fragmentation?" with the participation of José Manuel Barroso, Giles Merritt, Secretary General of Friends of Europe, Elisa Ferreira, Member of the European Parliament, Andreas Maurer, Head of the Brussels Office of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Thierry de Montbrial, Founder and Director-General of the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri)