Friday December 19, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Barroso urges centre unity to counter anti-EU vote

The EU's centrist parties will retain a substantial majority in the European Parliament after May elections and must unite to re-energize the bloc, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.

Some pundits predict a group of far right eurosceptical parties including the National Front in France, Britain's UKIP and the Dutch Freedom Party, along with Greece's leftist anti-austerity party Syriza and Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, could capture 20 percent or more of the seats.

That has fuelled concern that further measures to integrate the euro single currency area could falter.

Barroso disagreed.

"A very clear majority will be from the pro-European parties so I don't expect major difficulties in terms of passing legislation, he said in an interview on Tuesday evening for a Reuters Euro Zone Summit with policymakers, economists and market players.

But that majority would count for little if the centre-left, centre-right, liberals and Greens did not come together and make a stronger public case for more integration which too often has been take for granted by EU politicians.

"They have to leave their comfort zone, Barroso said. They have to make the case for Europe."

Mainstream parties should resist the temptation to ape the eurosceptics' stance against a backdrop of high unemployment, austerity fatigue and paltry growth that is fuelling support for fringe parties.

"I hope the lesson the mainstream parties draw from this is not to try to incorporate some of the arguments of the extremes, Barroso said.

The head of the EU's executive said growth was returning to Europe, albeit timidly.

Deficit-cutting measures had been crucial to assuage market pressure during the euro zone's debt crisis, he said, but far more important were structural reforms to make the bloc's economies more competitive.

Ireland, Spain and Portugal - which he expects to exit its bailout in May - had all done their homework and would reap the benefits.

"They are much more fit for global competition, Barroso said. He forecast that Europe would grow faster than expected from now on.

The Commission chief played down economists' concerns that Italy and France were falling short but acknowledged that countries which had not required bailout programs had not felt the same sense of urgency to reform.

"They are perfectly aware and they want to do it. There is resistance ... but I believe they are basically going on the right track, he said.

Changes to the EU treaty would be required in due course to bind the eurozone closer together but that was not something to discuss in the run-up to elections, Barroso said.

"Very often the discussion in Europe is about institutions ... That's not the way to get people to come out and vote, he said. Growth, jobs and prosperity were the keys.

During the debt crisis the leaders of the United States, China, Japan and others who had called him were less interested in the details of deficit reduction than in how strongly EU member states stood behind the euro, he said.

"For those countries that share a currency it's very important to have a more integrated form of governance. This is unavoidable sooner or later.

"It's a demand of the markets that we complete our economic and monetary union."

He welcomed the German Constitutional Court's decision to refer a complaint about the European Central Bank's bond-buying program to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling, saying it showed respect for the European legal system.

Barroso voiced surprise that Britain, long a champion the EU's internal market and of freedom of movement of people, goods and services, was now trying to impose restrictions.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has called for curbs on free movement and stoked concerns about migrants from Romania and Bulgaria heading to Britain in search of work or social handouts.

"You cannot have an internal market without freedom of movement, Barroso said.

Cameron is seeking to renegotiate Britain's terms of EU membership prior to holding an In/Out referendum in 2017.

"I hope that we can find a solution for the British concerns, Barroso said.

"I believe Britain will remain a member of the European Union. But of course when you engage in these sort of processes there are always some risks that I cannot prejudge."

He said Britain's traditional stance of advocating a liberalized internal market, free external trade, economic reform and Eastward enlargement made it important that it remained an EU member.

"I hope this same spirit is now kept and that there are not disappointments given by Britain to new member states which have always looked to it as one of their biggest supporters, he said, referring to Polish dismay at Cameron's stance.

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday February 12, 2014 (12:50)  
Courts provide names of judges to try ex-minister
Poll shows SYRIZAs lead over New Democracy narrowing
Seven convicted of embezzling over 900,000 euros in EU farm subsidies
Coast guard arrests five suspected migrant smugglers in Zakynthos
Ex-BoC executives face trial over meltdown
Two former chairmen and three other one-time top executives of the Bank of Cyprus are being charged in connection with the economic meltdown that forced Nicosia to seek a painful internation...
Greece may have to set money aside to cover bond losses
European Central Bank officials are considering ways to ensure weak countries that stand to gain most from a fresh round of money printing bear more of the risk and cost. Officials, who spok...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal announced his retirement from football on Friday, a day before his last match. Abidal said he will finish after playing for Olympiakos agains...
SOCCER
PAOK loss at Giannina brings Olympiakos to within a point
The bad losses that PAOK and Panathinaikos suffered on the road on Thursday allowed Olympiakos to gain significant ground on the table and come to within one point from the top after the mid...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
New weapons of diplomacy
Hollywood screenwriters couldnt make it up: That Sony, one of the worlds biggest film producers, would be forced to pull a comedy about the assassination of North Koreas dictator after a ...
EDITORIAL
Oblivious to change
The world around us is undergoing many important changes while we sit around stewing in our own juices. US President Barack Obama is actually talking with Cubas Raul Castro, for example, bu...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Ex-BoC executives face trial over meltdown
2. Greece may have to set money aside to cover bond losses
3. Greeces 3-year yield drops to 9.61 pct
4. Courts provide names of judges to try ex-minister
5. Poll shows SYRIZAs lead over New Democracy narrowing
6. Seven convicted of embezzling over 900,000 euros in EU farm subsidies
more news
Today
This Week
1. Independent Greeks MP Haikalis claims attempted bribery for presidential vote
2. Ship with 200 migrants off Pylos towed to Italy after passengers refuse to stop in Greece
3. Greek PM Samaras confronts peril putting his Greek transformation to vote
4. Independent Greeks leader backs MP's bribery claims, threatens to release video [Update]
5. Gov't spokeswoman says bribery claims 'badly-played charade,' heralds legal action if evidence not produced
6. Former premier Mitsotakis to meet President Papoulias to discuss political upheaval
Today
This Week
1. Juncker warns Greeks against voting 'extreme forces' into power
2. Romanos and the dilemma
3. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
4. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
5. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
6. High stakes
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.