The question is: we know what it needs to be done. Will our leaders oblige and follow through? Britain is on the brink of a referendum on their EU membership. The crisis in the eurozone has created a lack of trust between our governments and of course divisions among the European populations. Populist parties have gained access to many countries' parliaments. How easy will it be for the Commission and the European Parliament to implement all that Mr. Barroso mentioned?
Most of the ideas are not new. Many European think tanks, institutions, MEPs, top European and EU politicians and officials and many bloggers have been proposing the same solutions for many years. But I was more than happy to listen to Mr. Barroso presenting the EP with a new road map and committing to push for those necessary reforms in a pan-European level. It has to be done. And it was about time!
A few of his comments that I would like to comment further: In the beginning Mr. Barroso explained very accurately the analysis of the situation in Europe and the reasons we are in this crisis. Particularly he noted the irresponsible practices in the financial sector, the unsustainable public debt and the lack of competitiveness in some Member States. I will stop in one very important thing that he mentioned, the vicious circle of European summits.
In he speech he talks about " very important decisions for our future are taken at European summits. But then, the next day, we see some of those very same people who took those decisions undermining them. Saying that either they go too far, or that they don't go far enough." And he continues by saying that "It is not acceptable to present these European meetings as if they were boxing events, claiming a knockout victory over a rival. We cannot belong to the same Union and behave as if we don't. We cannot put at risk nine good decisions with one action or statement that raises doubts about all we have achieved."
To me the above is clearly a message to our national governments and he speaks about the summits of the Council of the European Union. Personally I often wondered why we never get to see any discussions or debates that are going on in those summits. We do have access to debates and plenary sessions of the E.P. on youtube and other websites affiliated to the EP and the EU in general. But what our elected leaders discuss, compromise or agree on in the EU Council meetings we never get to see.
Who are those politicians that Mr. Barroso is referring to? Would they act like this if they knew that we would be watching? If we had a platform that it would name and shame them, perhaps their behavior would be much different, their discussions more of a substance and they would be forced to commit to what they have agreed. I would like as a Greek to see what our government is saying to our European partners and why if Greece is agreeing in most things that the EU puts forward, we still as a country have one of the worse records of implementing those rules. Perhaps if our leaders knew that we would be watching and we are aware of what they promised to our partners, there would be no way for them to come back and blame their failures on Europe or not feel obliged informing us about the situation.
The same I suppose goes for any other country. Would the British have the same attitude towards the EU if they saw what their politicians discussed in those Council summits? Would the Germans believe everything that their press is telling them about having to pay for other nations? I personally detest this "intergovernmental-ism" and I would love to see the EU Council scrapped for good. I believe that Europe should be governed in three levels, the local, the national and the European one. So give full power to the European Parliament and the EU Commission for all matters European and leave our governments to deal with our national ones. But since this ain't gonna happen, as I do not see any national politician giving up his/her right to boost their ego and attend "boxing matches" on European playground, then I would happily settle for more transparency.
Let us see what our leaders debate and help us make up our own mind. And since their image is more important to them than any real progress in Europe, well then I guess they would not behave like they did until now once they knew that we will be watching!