Barroso calls for 'federation of states'

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Barroso calls for 'federation of states'

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Europe must become a ‘federation of nation-states,’ the EU Commission’s chief Jose Manuel Barroso has said.

The call for deeper European integration came in Strasbourg during the President’s State of the Union speech to MEPs.

“The present European Union must evolve. And let’s not be afraid of the word: we will need to move towards a federation of nation states. This is what we need. Not a superstate. A democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems through to the sharing of sovereignty in a way that each country and each citizen are better equipped to control their destiny,” Barosso said.

While, Barroso stressed he was not calling for a European ‘superstate’ to tackle Europe’s economic problems, Liberal group leader Guy Verhofstadt said.

‘‘The euro crisis is calling for the creation of a true federal state, a European state, a state that has a European treasury, a European bond market, European government. All this is necessary. Obviously, this takes over from nation states. It is a transfer of skills and powers from a national to a European level.’‘

Other pro-Europeans also greeted Barroso’s vision with enthusiasm but insisted more needed to be done to lessen Europe’s social problems.

“What Mr Barroso did today is present a toolbox to help Europe to deal with the crisis. Most of them are in the right direction. We would prefer, as a group, more emphasis on the need to reinvent social Europe,” Greek MEP Maria Elena Koppa said.

But, Barroso’s idea of pooling more sovereignty rankled eurosceptics, especially British MEPs, who remain strongly opposed to more powers going to Brussels.