Barroso: EU states must sacrifice 'sovereignty for influence'
by Dean Carroll
Setting out the European Commission's agenda for 2013, José Manuel Barroso told a meeting of ambassadors today that the task of creating ever closer union would be pursued at a rapid pace this year. Speaking in Lisbon, Portugal, the commission's president claimed that the "interdependence between European Union member states is very strong," adding: "Power is currently shifting not only between states but also over and above those states.
"The internationalisation of the financial sector, for example, shows that only supranational regulation through the European Union can restore real decision-making power to European citizens. The key is to exchange formal sovereignty for real influence."
Calling on member states to acknowledge that globalisation had created a scenario whereby European nations would have to speak collectively to achieve any real influence on the world stage, the president said: "As power is dispersed between states and regions of the world, it is more necessary than ever to have a European pole in the multipolar international system of the future.
"In the responsibilities that have been conferred on the community, there is an imbalance between the mechanisms for control and discipline and the instruments for cohesion and solidarity – the latter must also be strengthened at European level, if Europe itself is to emerge stronger."
He continued: "The internal market is one of the biggest assets of each country of the EU. Before the crisis, Spain exported to Portugal more than double of what it sold to all Latin American countries together. The United Kingdom exports more to Ireland than to all the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China)."
And reiterating his desire for deepened integration, Barroso said: "The reforms and the shouldering of responsibility, which we have seen at national level, must be accompanied by greater solidarity at European level. Responsibility and solidarity are two sides of the same coin. This is what I have been fighting for. For a project of reform and solidarity.
"Despite the criticism and despite its weaknesses, Europe has been an anchor of stability and cohesion in these difficult times. And the task of building a closer Europe needs to continue. In a world of giants, size matters. In 2050, judging by the growth rates in recent years, no single individual European economy will be among the top 10 world economies."
In or out, the Irish would still receive most of their imports from the UK as it's the only country with a land border and if they chose to import from Europe - they would need a new fleet of ferries, which they cant afford to operate. They can't even afford to maintain the Swansea to Cork link so that's not going to happen any time soon.
The next option is the channel tunnel but that would still be classed as UK exports to Ireland, just as many of the so-called UK to EU exports never really end up in Europe - but due to the Rotterdam/Antwerp effect they are still classed as EU exports.
Joe Thorpe - Nottingham
This is the same old commission rant coming from an institution which is tainted behind dark obscurity and closed doors. The commission plays the same trick it has been doing since people woke to the reality of its authoritarian nature and structure.
First, he plays the fear factor of loosing out on power and influence if we don't surrender freedom and independence while promising reforms that will never materialise. It's all about more power and money for the commission. Citizens will never go for it.
Martin Nangle - Banbridge