What is the State of the Union speech?
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has delivered a State of the Union speech similar in style to that of the US President for the past three years. Addressing the European Parliament the Commission President talks about his visions for Europe and reveals new action plans for the year ahead.
When is the State of the Union speech?
The fourth State of the Union speech will take place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg at 9 am CET. The address is then followed by a general debate on the political state of the Union.
Follow JM Barroso's live interview and Hangout here
Why is this State of the Union speech significant?
EU institutions have been accused of being undemocratic, unrepresentative and disconnected from European citizens. The speech and ensuing debate in the European Parliament is meant to help counter that perception, enhance transparency and add a certain level of accountability to the Presidency. The debate in parliament gives MEPs a chance to publicly grill Mr Barroso on his past or intended actions. This year’s speech is particularly significant as it is likely to be President Barroso’s last and for many will be held as an assessment of his time in office. It is believed unlikely that he will run for a third term – if he does not his mandate will run until October 2014.
What’s at stake this year?
With the EU still flailing in the throes of an economic crisis the speech has not made for easy listening. But finally, this year, there are a few silver linings: some much needed reforms in the wake of the crisis have been implemented and Europe’s economies are showing tentative signs of a long-awaited return to growth. But there is still plenty to be worried about, not least long jobless queues with the young facing a particularly worrying future as well as a sustained crisis of confidence in the EU as a whole.
Who is President José Manuel Barroso?
Though President José Manuel Barroso may not be a household name, he is arguably one of the most influential people in Europe. The former Portuguese Prime Minister determines EU policy and legislative proposals, has the power to hire, fire or reshuffles his Commission and as one of the main European players can represent the EU abroad. He has been at the helm of the European Commission since 2004.
Have you got something to say about the speech or a question for the President?
If you do, send it to us in video or text format using the hashtag #AskBarroso on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, join the event on Google +
Euronews’ Isabelle Kumar will be interviewing President Barroso on the 12 September at 20h30 CET live on Euronews in The Global Conversation. The debate will continue live online in a Google + Hangout with President José Manuel Barroso immediately after.
We’ll sort through the questions and field them to the President as well as invite some of you to take part to the discussion in person.
See what the others are saying and be sure to join the conversation!