So, what’s up with Europe?
Seize the moment and ask President Barroso your questions! This year Euronews will speak to the European Commission President at 20:30 CET on Thursday, September 12 – the day after his State of the Union speech – in the Global Conversation. And you will have the chance to talk to him too in our special Google + Hangout immediately afterwards. There are more details below so read on.
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.