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Andrew Duff MEP on Barroso's re-election

September 17, 2009 9:39 AM
Originally published by Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG)
Andrew Duff MEP for East of England

Andrew Duff

Congratulating José Manuel Barroso on his re-election as Commission President today in Strasbourg, Andrew Duff MEP said that the need for urgent action was paramount. There are four top priorities for Mr Barroso: the ratification and implementation of the Lisbon treaty; the Copenhagen climate change talks; the reform of the financial system of the Union; and the reinforcement of the single market.

In a statement Andrew Duff, who is President of the Union of European Federalists, said: "Mr Barroso has done very well to command the support of an absolute majority of MEPs. His mandate is now refreshed, and he should use it with skill and authority. There are four large items which require his urgent attention.

"First, Mr Barroso should go campaigning in Ireland. The Irish referendum on 2 October will decide whether or not Europe can move forward again in the spirit of unity to confront global challenges. It is the decisive and last chance that the EU has to turn itself into a true parliamentary democracy. Failure to win the ratification and early implementation of the Lisbon treaty will shunt Europe into an impasse.

"Second, the Commission must seize the initiative in preparing the EU to play the leading role at the climate change talks in Copenhagen. The member states will only be coherent if they get an incisive push from the Commission, backed by the European Parliament. The top concern is the level of funding made available by the EU to pay developing countries to adapt their economies to combat global warming. Europe has both a moral and economic need to shoulder a financial burden and to oblige the rest of the industrialised world to follow suit.

"Third, the EU's financial system needs radical overhaul. The size and shape of the EU budget should be allowed to grow to match the political demands made upon it. Expenditure should be transferred from the national to the EU level where cost efficiency and added value can be guaranteed, or where market failure requires EU intervention. The new system must be buoyant, transparent and accountable. We have to get away from endless rows between net payers and beneficiaries and design a system of own resources which caters for the common interest of the whole Union.

"Fourth, Mr Barroso must turn his pledge to complete the single market by 2012 into reality. This requires not only a new action plan in the field of financial services and intellectual property, but also shoring up the existing internal market against creeping national protectionism and abuses of the EU's competition and state aids policies."

Mr Duff, who is also president of LDEG and chair of UEF, will seek an early meeting with President Barroso to advance these proposals.

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Editors' Note: The UEF, founded in 1947 is a supranational political movement dedicated to uniting Europe along federal lines.