From the romantic:
Europe is not only Brussels or Strasbourg. It is our regions. It is the cities, towns and villages you come from. When you walk round your constituencies, you can point to the European projects that are so important for their prosperity. At the end of the day, we are all in the same boat.
To the historic:
I make a strong appeal not to re-awaken the ghosts of Europe’s past.
To the rallying:
The citizens of Europe expect us to take the action needed to get out of this crisis… It is not with pessimism that we will win this battle.
José Manuel Barroso’s message was clear: You need me.
Yes, there were policy statements and announcements of new initiatives but what really came through was how the president of the European Commission wanted us all to see how indispensible he is.
It suits the message if the situation we face is portrayed as bleak. This, of course, is nothing new in politics. Except this time, the bogeyman is those people who do not buy into the European ideal.
“We either swim together, or sink separately,” he said today. “We will only succeed if, whether acting nationally, regionally or locally, we think European.”
Replace European with “German” or “British” or “Swedish”, or indeed any other nationality, and it sounds ridiculous.
It shows that this isn’t Europe’s “moment of truth” as Barroso put it today, rather yet another occasion when the EU has had to justify its existence.
Q. State of the Union? A. Still uncertain.