Opinions 2013 11 06
“Lifeless report, nine lifeless years”
In early September, the European Parliament Main Hall in Strasbourg was crammed again. Not only MEP‘s, but also diplomats, journalists and other guests eagerly waited for what the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso will present at his probably the last annual report to the Parliament on „The situation in the Union“. Why the last? Next year EU Member States and MEP‘s will elect a new President of the European Commission.
J. M. Barroso has spent thirty minutes to present a brighter picture of the situation in the union of 28 countries. A year ago, largest banks bosses spoke to him, that they expect Greece secession from the euro zone and the zone disintegration. Today, purportedly, nobody is so pessimistic. The President of the European Commission claimed, that no EU country is in danger to bankrupt, purportedly, the situation in the southern countries is improving. Just like German Chancellor Angela Merkel he repeated the receipt to overcome the crisis: saving and again saving, plus reforms.
J. M. Barroso has expressed some memorable phrases. „Success is nationalised and failure is Europeanised“, - he said, reminding member states attempts to shirk their slips on „Brussels“ (quotation-marks are necessary, because the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament in Brussels – the same national representatives). „The EU needs to be big on big things and smaller on smaller things“, - said J. M. Barroso, in order to please the UK, the Netherlands governments, demanding to reduce the powers of Brussels. The President of the European Commission was forced to admit: „We owe to those for whom the recovery is not yet within reach, to those who do not yet profit from positive developments and to our 26 million unemployed“.
The speech attained quite a lot of criticism. Hannes Swoboda, the leader of Socialists and Democrats fraction stated, that J. M. Barosso spoke too much about the numbers, technical issues and too little about the people. According to the leader of liberal fraction G. Verhofstadt, the reckless saving policy have increased the gap between the rich and the poor EU citizens. Europe has reached the lowest point of the recession, the crisis is so far from being defeated. The EU will be facing a long-term economical stagnation, if there will be no true Eurozone government. Rebecca Harms expressed her concerns that the proposed free trade agreement with the US will destroy tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture. According to the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, joint decisions in the European Union should not be replaced be „the strong right“ (hint to Germany) and the EU dismemberment into various groups. And the German newspaper „Ziu Doiche Caitung“, remembering all nine J. M. Barosso’s years, was drastic: „A lifeless impression – no guts, no ideas.“
Election of the European Parliament in May 2014 for the first time will enable EU citizens to determine what political power representative and who specifically will head the European Commission. Each European party will nominate it‘s candidate. Political force with the biggest electors support will have the right to tender their list leader to this post. According to experts and political scientists, the Social Democrats will name Martin Schultz as their candidate, the Liberals – G. Verhofstadt. Meanwhile the right-wing European People party still can not find a brighter politician, who would fit into this post. So, despite of J. M. Barosso‘s statements about the resignation, he might become the right-wing candidate.
I don‘t think that these predictions would prove out. The speech in Strasbourg demonstrated that the President of the European Commission had not provided neither clear vision, nor decisions to cope the crisis. J. M. Barosso had been too slow and done too little during the sharpest period of crisis. The right-wing policy is unlikely to have a future.
JUSTAS VINCAS PALECKIS
Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament