European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Greece would remain a member of the eurozone and that the European Union would face fragmentation if there was not deeper economic integration among the 27 member states.
?We are today faced with the greatest challenge our union has known in all its history,? Barroso said in his annual State of the Union address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday morning.
?It?s a crisis of confidence that has not happened for decades,? Barroso stated in his speech, which commentators noted as being impassionate in its defense of the European Union and the single European currency.
While the head of the European Commission appealed for patience with regard to the Greek crisis, he called for a stronger EU central government and more economic integration among members states through a financial transactions tax and Eurobonds.
Barroso said that monetary union should be completed by economic union and that the Commission would unveil a series of plans in the near future.
As troika representatives headed to Athens on Wednesday ahead of talks with Greek government officials in view of the release of an 8-billion-euro tranche of the 110-billion-euro bailout package, Barroso?s comments on the subject of Greece keeping its place within the eurozone earned applause.
?Greece must implement its commitments in full and on time,? he said in Brussels. ?This is not a sprint but a marathon.?