Barroso has just finished delivering his State of the European Union address to the European Parliament. While – as before – we had a bit of a chuckle in the blogosphere with buzzword bingo, this was a serious occasion and Barroso rose to it, delivering a speech full of determination that contained a commitment to a financial transaction tax and a strong ideological appeal for a communitarian solution to the sovereign debt crisis facing the EU.
While the speech was fine (and indeed I was more impressed than I thought I would be), the real issue will be how any of this will change the way the EU moves forward. Importantly what reaction – if any – will there be from Heads of States and Governments from the Member States of the EU? Sadly rather little I fear.
The lesson from this year must be this: that next year Barroso’s speech must be delivered to a special joint session of the European Council and the European Parliament. Confronting and challenging Member States, in public, would be a vital step in the EU’s political and democratic development.
Democratic development? I’m all for that. Give us the referendum we were promised.