First Debate on the State of the Union

On 7 September 2010 the European Parliament plenary session held the first debate on the state of the Union, which would define the present and the future of the European Union. President Barroso addressed the House making a revision of the main challenges the Union will be facing in the coming months, challenges towards which MEPs stressed the need for the Union to adopt an ambitious position.

President Barroso began stressing that from now on the State of the Union address will be the occasion to chart the work for the next 12 months. He highlighted that although over the last year, the economic and financial crisis has put the Union before one of its greatest challenge ever, this crisis has tested the interdependence and solidarity like never before.

Main challenges for the Union

  • dealing with the economic crisis and governance;
  • restoring growth for jobs by accelerating the Europe 2020 reform agenda;
  • building an area of freedom, justice and security;
  • launching negotiations for a modern EU budget, and
  • pulling our weight on the global stage.

Although the economic outlook in the European Union today is better than one year ago, measures are still needed regarding economic governance in order to tackle debt generation which would make unsustainable nations. Commission proposals will strengthen the Stability and Growth Pact through increased surveillance and enforcement.

President Barroso welcomed the political deal on the financial supervision package just concluded, underlining that the Commission proposals based on the de Larosière report will give an effective European supervision system. He also announced that the Commission would unveil proposals on 29 September for stronger national budget monitoring.

The effective implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy means concentrating on three priorities: getting more people in jobs, boosting our companies' competitiveness and deepening the single market. It is necessary to frontload and accelerate the most growth-promoting reforms of the agenda, in order to raise growth levels by over a third by 2020.

In the area of Freedom, Justice and Security, Commission priorities are to strengthen control of illegal immigration, combating terrorism and organized crime, and the President Barroso recalled Union's commitment to respect fundamental rights. Another key challenge will be the revised budget model of the Union by strengthening Union's own resources.

Regarding the definition of the role of the European Union on the world scenario, the Union faces the challenge of setting up an effective real common foreign and security policy, giving Europe a common voice in the world. Barroso also announced a further contribution of the Union to the Millennium Development Goals of the UN of 1 billion Euro.

Further to the objectives and challenges presented to the house by president Barroso, MEPs opened a debate which discuss over a Community or an intergovernmental approach to certain main aspects in the future of the Union, being critical in issues such as introducing new taxes or the distance between the Union and its citizens.