Barroso loses the plot


Last week it was a case of ‘here we go again’. In a forced attempt to come over as the ‘President of Europe’, Commission President Jose Barroso delivered his ‘State of the Union’ address in Strasbourg. According to Barroso the time has come for a ‘Federation of Nation States’. A banking union, an economic union and a political union must be quickly brought into being. The European Parliament must become a parliament in which only European political parties are represented, parties which can in their turn also provide the new president of the Commission. Barroso has shown himself once again to be like ‘Rupsje Nooitgenoeg’, the caterpillar who was always hungry for more.

According to Barroso all we have to do is ‘explain’ to the public that all of this is what they all must want.  In my party, the Socialist Party of the Netherlands, known to friends and enemies as simply the SP, we turn this round the other way: we’d rather listen to people and when we do so, as for example in our recent series of meetings  on the EU in different Dutch towns, what we hear  is that they want ‘Brussels’ for once to keep its nose out. If we want to bridge the gap between ‘Brussels’ and the public in Europe, we don’t need a Barroso who has clearly come unhinged and we certainly don’t need European parties. What we do need is more transparency and a ‘Brussels’ which is led by what the public wants instead of hanging on every utterance of the wishes of major corporations and the banks

Barroso can’t actually do anything himself. He has lost some of his power to that other ‘European President’, Herman van Rompuy, who this week hinted that a single European budget framework would soon replace those of the twenty-seven member states. We shall have to move our famous annual Princes’ Day reading of the budget for the coming year from The Hague to Brussels. Except that Van Rompuy can’t do much either. Just like Barroso, he has to find support for his proposals from the member states’ heads of government. Barroso must, moreover, convince the European Parliament.

It isn’t likely that any of these wild plans will in the short term come to fruition. For the most part, however, the Eurocrats do indeed, in the longer term, get their way. No wonder that Barroso would prefer to have to deal exclusively with European parties, which would be a great deal easier than negotiating with all of these national parties which look principally to their national interests. The SP will fight these proposals tooth and nail, inside and outside the European Parliament. As far as keeping in touch with our supporters is concerned, we will not be putting ourselves forward as ‘European United Left’. We are and shall remain the SP, and in 2014, when European elections will next be held, people must simply be allowed to continue to vote SP.  With the SP, people know they won’t be getting representatives who are hand-in-glove with the Eurocrats and big business. We would rather listen to ordinary people, and so we say no to political union and to a ‘Federation of Nation States’.  

Dennis de Jong is a Member of the European Parliament for the Socialist Party of the Netherlands .