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Super Wednesday for Eurozone Debt Crisis

Date

13 Sep 2012

Sections

Public Affairs

It is being billed as “Super Wednesday”, a day where many hope that a line can be drawn under the uncertainties that have plagued the Euro and destabilized the Eurozone.

  • The European Commission President set out his vision for the European Union in an upbeat State of the Union address.
  • At the same time, the Commission published new proposals that would establish far-reaching changes to how Europe’s banks are supervised and regulated.
  • Also this morning, constitutional judges in Germany paved the way for the European Stability Mechanism to become operational following a legal challenge on its compliance with the German Constitution.
  • Finally, early indications suggest that anti-EU parties will have failed to make the breakthrough that many predicted in national elections in the Netherlands.

In short, Super Wednesday may well be seen as a historic milestone not just in the survival of the single currency, but also in the economic integration of the European Union.

State of the Union

Commission President Barroso gave his third State of the Union speech to the European Parliament. It was different to his previous addresses, and he made little reference to the progress of some of his grand projects such as the Financial Transactions Tax and Project Bonds.

Barroso was looking to the future, and here he was unremittingly positive. He signaled a Single Market Act II, even though the Single Market Act I is progressing at a pedestrian pace. He was bold about his vision for a political union and told MEPs that he will reinforce European political party statutes, paving the way for political groups to nominate their candidate for European Commission President in time for the European Parliament elections in 2014 – just one step away, perhaps from a directly elected President.

The address was also designed to assure the Centre-Left on the ascendency in Europe – particularly in France and it seems, the Netherlands - that “Social Europe” was still very much alive and kicking and hinted that some employment initiatives may be included in the 2013 Commission Work Programme.

There was some disappointment about what was not included in the address. Some Brussels insiders were hoping to see a coherent strategy on Schengen, free movement and security – an issue that has dogged the institutions this year. Apart from a fleeting reference to plans for a European public prosecutor’s office, the address was light on home affairs and justice.

Nevertheless, the Address did what it set out to do – it appealed to the public to look beyond the immediate problems toward a stronger and more integrated Europe. He even dared to use the F word. He wanted to see – not a super state, but a federation of nation states.

[...]

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