Make the case for Europe
In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Barroso made a rallying call to 'all those that care about Europe, whatever their political or ideological position, wherever they come from, to speak up for Europe'.
Exactly five years after the fall of Lehman Brothers, the President's speech recalled what has been achieved since then. 'If we look back and think about what we have done together to unite Europe throughout the crisis, we would never have thought all of this possible 5 years ago,' he concluded, 'What matters now is what we make of this progress. Do we talk it up, or talk it down? Do we draw confidence from it to pursue what we've started, or do we belittle the results of our efforts?'
The President pointed out a number of recent figures and evolutions that give Europe good reason to be confident. 'For Europe,' he said, recovery is within sight. Of course, we need to be vigilant. But it does prove we are on the right track. This should push us to keep up our efforts. We owe it to those for whom the recovery is not yet within reach, to those who do not yet profit from positive developments. We owe it to our 26 million unemployed.'
President Barroso delivered an appeal for more European integration in the face of global developments: 'In our world of geo-economic and geopolitical tectonic changes, I believe that only together, as the European Union, we can give our citizens what they aspire: that in the age of globalisation our values, our interests, our prosperity continue to be protected and promoted.'
The bottom-line question in the debate going on all over Europe, President Barroso argued, is: 'Do we want to improve Europe, or give it up?'
'My answer is clear', he continued: 'Engage! If you don't like Europe as it is: improve it! As any human endeavour, the EU is not perfect. Controversies about the division of labour between the national and European levels will never be conclusively ended. Not everything needs a solution at European level. Europe must focus on where it can add most value. It does not have to meddle where this is not the case. The EU needs to be big on big things and smaller on smaller things.'
At the same time he made it very clear that the work on deepening the economic and monetary union remains as valid as ever: 'There are areas of major importance where Europe must have more integration, more unity. Where only a strong Europe can deliver results. A political union needs to be our political horizon. This is not just the demand of a passionate European. This is the indispensable way forward to consolidate our progress and ensure the future.'
State of the Union Address 2013 by President Barroso