Barroso II’s political guidelines: A mixture of old and new?

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

“Let’s hope [European Commission President José-Manuel] Barroso will be able to restore the Commission’s position as a driving force [in European politics],” writes Olivier Lacoste, research director at Confrontations Europe, in a September paper.

“On 16 September, the European Parliament reappointed José Manuel Barroso at the head of the Commission […] by an absolute majority,” he recalls.

In his political guidelines, Barroso “presents Europe as a sort of ‘experiment’ for multilateralism and world government for example,” he said.

“In practical terms, Mr. Barroso has some interesting proposals,” Lacoste states, outlining the following:

  • Defining an agenda for digital technologies and moving towards a new pan-European gas and electricity ‘super-grid’;
  • renewing the public-private partnership framework;
  • reforming the EU budget based on common sense principles, and; 
  • concrete reforms aimed at improving collaboration with the European Parliament.

However, “many projects remain unclear, or reiterate ideas that have already been heard,” laments Lacoste.

For example, Barroso proposes to revise the Lisbon Growth and Jobs Strategy to turn it into a “strategy for an integrated vision of EU 2020,” which gives “an impression of déjà vu”.

Lacoste also deplores measures proposed on climate change or the idea of “developing new sources of sustainable growth and social cohesion”.

“When listing the means to attain this objective, we sometimes get the impression he is recycling old Commission texts on the Lisbon Strategy,” he says.

“All in all, there are not an overwhelming number of new ideas,” Lacoste insists. “But we should give Barroso II some credit,” he adds.

“Let’s hope he will be able […] to offer it ‘the means of generating change, renewing the sense of collective responsibility, and restoring relations with its citizens’,” he concludes, paraphrasing Philippe Herzog, president of Confrontations Europe. 

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