The euronews Brussels correspondent, Sergio Cantone, asked President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso about his priorities for his second term in office.
Sergio Cantone, euronews: “What’s the first measure the new Commission is going to adopt?”
Barroso: “The first concrete measure the Commission will adopt is to present a proposition once more to member states that we did several years ago but which was refused. It’s a proposal to give powers to Eurostat, the statistics office, to check national accounts — to make audits — because sometimes we find the statistics we get are not correct. That’s the case with the administration in Greece, and we want to put that right. I hope this time the member states will accept what they turned down a few years ago. That’s the concrete measure.”
euronews: “Does Europe really need an economic government?”
Barroso: “Things are different in every member state, but in the sense of getting a strategy together — a common approach with strengthened co-ordination, then yes, we need a real economic government for Europe. And the Commission is ready to play its part in proposing, checking. And it is fulfilling its executive role. But the member states must also be ready to play their part with determination.”
euronews: “Are you ready to confront, if necessary, those governments that might be recalcitrant? Because that is all part of the European Commission’s role.”
Barroso: “I am always ready to defend with conviction our proposals, but always in the context of a partnership. In the end, we all have to agree. You can’t think that you can impose things against the wishes of democratic states.”
euronews: “Yes, but sometimes you have to.”
Barroso: “Listen, you have to try to persuade and convince. That’s what I do. And I believe that now, there are extraordinary conditions to renew this politcal ambition.”
euronews: “The idea of a social Europe has more or less disappeared. Is it time to revisit that?”
Barroso: “The idea of a social europe is more urgent than ever, particularly…”
euronews: “Yes, but no one has talked about it for five years.”
Barroso: “It wasn’t as pressing as it is now in terms of unemployment. There was a time when the jobless total was falling every day. Now, mainly because of what the crisis has generated outside Europe, we are in a situation where unemployment is showing itself as the main challenge.”
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