5 September 2010
Once again something of a riot has broken out in the European Parliament. Last Friday every MEP received a note from the Parliament’s Christian Democrat president, Jerzy Buzek, summoning us to come and listen to the speech to be given by European Commission president Jose Barroso. Should we fail to comply, we’ll receive a fine. All of which is because Barroso is coming to make a ‘State of the Union’ speech, just as the US President does at the beginning of the parliamentary year. Quite apart from the fact that Members of the European Parliament should be able to decide for themselves where they wish to be, Barroso has neither the authority nor the power of a ‘European President’. And that’s just how it should be and how it must remain: Europe is not a federal state and the SP will have no truck with all of the fanfare designed to give the impression that it is. My presence or absence will be determined by my own decision as to whether I have, on the day, any more pressing business to attend to. And blackmail from the EP president is certainly not something I will give in to.