Speaking before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Barroso delivered a stark assessment of the severity of the eurozone debt crisis, saying the region faced its most serious challenge in a generation.
"This is a fight for the jobs and prosperity of families in all our member states. This is a fight for the economic and political future of Europe. This is a fight for what Europe represents in the world. This is a fight for European integration itself," Barroso said.
He told lawmakers the Commission would shortly present options for the introduction of euro-area bonds, as previously promised. "Today I want to confirm that the Commission will soon present options for the introduction of Eurobonds," he said to applause.
"Some of these options could be implemented within the terms of the current treaty, others would require treaty change," he added.
The euro rose against the dollar, European shares turned positive and safe-haven German government bonds pared gains after Barroso's comments.
Plea for 'Community method'
In an emotive plea, Barroso said solutions to the debt crisis would come not via Germany or France taking their own initiatives that other, smaller member states were expected to follow, but via what EU officials refer to as the 'Community method', where Brussels takes the initiative.
"A system based purely on intergovernmental cooperation has not worked in the past and will not work in the future," he said.
The European Parliament has long been an advocate of the introduction of Eurobonds, through which the 17 eurozone countries would jointly and collectively issue debt. Such a move would support weaker member states but push up the borrowing costs of Germany and other triple-A rated members.
Germany is adamantly opposed to the idea, saying it can only be considered once there is much tighter and closer fiscal coordination in the euro zone. A ruling by Germany's top court has meanwhile made it virtually impossible for Berlin to sign up even if it wanted to, according to legal experts.
But partly to placate the European Parliament, the Commission has promised to present options on the idea.
However, Barroso warned that Eurobonds would be no silver bullet. Even if they were to be introduced at some point – and if they require treaty change it is unlikely to come about soon – it would not magically resolve the debt crisis.
"This will not bring an immediate solution for all the problems we face and it will come as an element of a comprehensive approach to further economic and political integration," he said.
In the short term, the Commission chief urged governments to ratify Greece's second aid package and implement decisions taken at the 21 July eurozone summit to strengthen the EU's €440 billion bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
"What we need now is Greece to fully carry out its reform programme, the six-pack [of economic governance reforms] to be adopted, [and] members to ratify the 21 July agreement."
"What would be our credibility on deeper integration if we could not deliver the six pack or the 21 July agreement?" Barroso asked.
EurActiv with Reuters