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Saturday, September 22, 2012

State of the Union and the f-word

Blogactive analysed the reactions to the State of the union address of president Barroso and fond surprisingly small activity in Eastern Europe. The map also shows that there was none in Hungary. The Hungarian press was also not very active, and in my opinion misunderstood a little the message or at least what is behind it. "Barroso uttered the F-word" was the main message - as it was also tweeted by Dave Keating , a journalist in the Economist group who writes fairly regularly for European Voice . The Hungarian press mostly reacted as if they had hear the first time a call for closer co.operation in Europe and thus as if this were really a call for this which partly it was. But in a well-tempered way and it was less in depth than what the Germans talked about for the last some months. Eurosceptics used to talk about federation instead of a superstate - and the president said: " Not a superstate. A democratic federation of nation states..." So, is it a step backward? In some respect, yes. But reading the text, however, it called for a broader co-operation and also announced some concrete steps. It was no doubt provocative, whichever way we look at it: The parliament Magazine and also other sources familiar with EU matters also mentioned the mixed reaction in the European Parliament where the MEPs took the F-word as a retreat. Verhofstadt even said that we have the federation of states in Europe. Barroso's answer where he refused to engage in discussion about wording, shows that the issue is sensitive It is remarkable, however, that while trying to appease the present institutions ("We do not need to separate institutions or to create new institutions for that. Quite the contrary: for this to be effective and quick, the best way is to work with and through the existing institutions: The European Commission as the independent European authority, and overseen by the European Parliament as the parliamentary representation at the European level.") and argued for the community method to be applied (unlike in the case of the fiscal discipline accord). But he made an acidic remark: "If it was left to the Member States, I can tell you they will not resist pressure from big corporations or large external powers." Another important point: he emphasised several times the social dimension. What was new and breaking a taboo: he called for a treaty change, well prepared by public debate. This is a courageous undertaking: - let's see what future holds.

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