State of the Union: I am not ImpressedPosted: September 7, 2010
Mr Barroso, president of the European Commission was giving this morning the very first State of the Union speech before the full chamber of the European Parliament (since the MEPs have been strongly encourage not to miss this historic speech).
Let me tell you right away: I was not impressed… This morning definitely did lack of any surprise or even high point.
To begin my little comment, I have to say that I haven’t found any mention of such a speech in the European Treaties, but I just skimmed thru. Which does not mean this is not possible.
Do, what was in this first State of the Union address ? It could have been a great opportunity to get Europe some momentum, to reach firectly to the public from the institution to the citizen, … It could have. But what we got was more like a catalog of the ships. Mr Barroso just restated in one speech what happened since last year, and what will be the policies in the near future. In a short summary, we learned that:
- The Lisbon treaty came into application
- Europe survived the Euro crisis and there are some signs of recovery (it’s actually far from solved yet)
- The strategy Europe 2020 is ambitious and the objectives are great (even thought it’s more like a idealistic dream)
- The European budget will be discussed
- And Europe still have to find its spot on the international scene – the newly installed EEAS might help.
- The work is far from finished.
If you follow just a little the European news, you already know all of this; and you are part of the very few who knew about the speech in the first place.
In term of wording, I note that the speech contains many small paragraphs, some as small as half a line, the biggest being mostly around 5 or 6 lines. The Commission was mentioned 19 times , the Parliament 5 times, and the council only once (according to my word counter). Citizen were mentioned only 6 times, one time less than crisis or the year 2020.
Group leaders did react and comment to the speech afterward, but without going into the details, no surprise there neither.
My conclusion is that the State of the European Union Speech was just a back to school exercise where everybody could find its place back in the European world after the vacations.
Hopefully it’s just a warm up and the debate will get some substance in the coming weeks.