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EU must become 'federation of nation states', argues Barroso

The President of the European Commission has outlined his vision in his annual ‘State of the Union’ speech to MEPs.

Image: Christian Lutz/AP

THE EUROPEAN UNION must evolve into a “federation of nation states”, the head of the European Commission said Wednesday, if it is to overcome its economic and political crisis.

“The present EU must evolve,” Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament in his annual ‘state of the union’ address. The EU “needs to move to a federation of nation states,” he said.

Citing this goal – a sort of ‘United States of Europe’ – as the EU’s “political horizon,” Barroso said there was a need for a “sharing of sovereignty in a way that each country and each citizen is better able to control their destiny”.

He said this federation was required “because I think in these times of anxiety, it is a mistake to leave nations to nationalism and populism”.

He said that creating this federation will “ultimately require a new treaty” to be agreed by EU partners.

Barroso also said he believed Greece would remain part of the euro if it sticks by its pledges on reform.

“I truly believe we have a chance this autumn to come to a turning-point,” Barroso told MEPs. “If Greece stands by its commitments it should stay in the euro area.”

After two years of austerity, Greece is again under pressure to adopt about €11.5 billion in new cuts in 2013-14 to secure continued loan funding from the ‘Troika’ of the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund.

A report expected next month will determine whether Greece will be able to receive a much-needed €31bn instalment from its €130bn rescue package.

Senior auditors from the three organisations are currently locked in talks with the government to finalise the package, which must be finalised by Friday if it is to present the plan to eurozone partners meeting in Cyprus.

- © AFP, 2012

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