Barroso has vision
As I mentioned before, in the EU mess the president of the European Commission Barroso represents a sliver of hope.
In an interview to The Times, ahead of a summit at Hampton Court Palace on Thursday, he made some surprising statements:
EUROPE will become “nothing” if it fails to meet the challenge of globalisation and succumbs instead to the demands for protectionism and xenophobia that are sweeping the Continent, José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, has said.
In terms that will be seen as strong backing for the British stance and condemnation of French protectionist policies, Senhor Barroso called on all “civilised and rational” people to fight the kind of populism that is opposed to free markets and to embrace globalisation rather than turn Europe into a fortress.
No doubt Chirac will have another fit and will call Chavez on the phone for consolation.
Senhor Barroso will present a paper that he describes as a wake-up call. “If the signal we give to our children is ‘Protect yourself — hide under the table because there is globalisation, resist it’ — then we are nothing,” he said in his offices on the top floor of the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels.
I look forward to next Thursday’s summit; this could signal that the tide is shifting and that Britain’s six months presidency will leave its mark.