‘No time for naval gazing’ – Labour response to Barroso

Speaking in response to The European Commission President’s “State of the Union” address to the European Parliament, Glenis Willmott, Labour’s leader in the European Parliament said: “Given the challenges we currently face across the EU, this is no time for naval gazing. The idea of today’s speech has always seemed to be as much about boosting Mr Barroso’s profile as offering a serious programme of work.

“The clear thrust of what he had to say was that we need reform – code for cuts to the kinds of social policies that have, for many, been the main reason for supporting the European Union. At a time when the EU is at a low ebb in terms of popular support, Mr Barroso must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If the European Commission chooses to focus purely on free markets and unfettered deregulation, without consideration for the wider interests of European citizens, then it has little hope of regaining the trust that has been lost.

“In today’s globalised economy, we need a strong European Union. Effective reform of our banking system needs to be done at EU level. We need European action against climate change. But we can only make progress if people feel the EU acts in their interests, something Mr Barroso ignores at his peril.”