In Europe, the crisis continues to be felt by many. We are making important decisions but the reality is that we have not yet convinced citizens, markets or our international partners.
Doubts persist over whether some countries are ready to reform and others are ready to show solidarity so that the euro and the European project are irreversible.
Europe needs a new direction. Europe needs new thinking.
This means first accepting we are all in the same boat. We need to unite to have the scale and efficiency we need to be a global player and safeguard our values in a changing world. We need a decisive deal for Europe.
We must leave no doubt that we are determined to reform together, which requires the completion of a deep and genuine economic union, based on a political union.
Firstly, we need growth. At the national level it means structural reforms that have been postponed for decades, tackling vested interests and reforming the labour market to balance security with flexibility. At the European level, we need to be more decisive about breaking down barriers.
And we need to agree a European Union budget dedicated to investment, growth and reform.
This will only work if it is fair and equitable. In some parts of Europe we are seeing a real social emergency. I do not agree that the European social model is dead.
An effective social protection system that helps those in need is not a hindrance to prosperity.
Across the EU, reform and consolidation measures are being implemented. Joint financial backstops are being put in place and the European Central Bank has consistently shown it stands by the euro.
We have a chance this autumn to come to a turning point on Greece.
If Greece stands by its commitments it should stay in our family. It should stay in the euro.
Securing the integrity of the euro is our most urgent challenge. We must complete the economic and monetary union. We must create a banking union and a fiscal union.
The crisis has shown that when banks become transnational, rules and oversight remained national.
When things went wrong, it was the taxpayers who have to pick up the bill. This week we have proposed a single European supervisory mechanism – a quantum leap – as a stepping stone to a banking union that will restore confidence in the supervision of the banks.
We also need a fiscal union for Europe. The economic decisions of one member state impact the others. So we need stronger economic policy cooperation enforced by the European Commission as the independent European authority.
The Commission will publish this autumn a blueprint with legal drafting for deepening the economic and monetary union.
If we want economic and monetary union to succeed we must take parallel action for a political union.
To achieve this we need to develop a European public space, where European issues are debated from a European standpoint. This is best achieved by a strengthening of the European Parliament and the emergence of real European political parties. This will be helped if all the European political parities present their candidate for the post of Commission president at the European Parliament elections in 2014.
A political union also means doing more to fulfil our global role. The appalling situation in Syria reminds us that we cannot afford to be bystanders.
We will need to move towards a federation of nation states.
Not a super state but a democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems, through the sharing of sovereignty in a way that each country is better equipped to control its own destiny.
This will ultimately require a new Treaty. Europe cannot be technocratic, bureaucratic or diplomatic. It has to be ever more democratic. Before the next European Parliament elections, the Commission will present its ideas on the future EU.
While deeper integration is indispensible for the euro area and its members, it should be open to all member states. In Europe, we need no more walls dividing us.
This is the magnitude of the decisions that member states and their citizens will need to make over time.
We must use the 2014 election to mobilise all pro-European forces. We must not allow the populists and the nationalists to set a negative agenda.
I expect all those who call themselves Europeans to stand up and take the initiative in this debate.
Because, even more dangerous than the scepticism of anti-Europeans, is the indifference or the pessimism of pro-Europeans.
Many will say that this is too ambitious, that it is not realistic.
I disagree. The realistic way forward is the way that makes us stronger and more united. If there is a bias, let it be a bias for hope.
We can do it. If we are proud to be Europeans. If we make a common effort.
Previous generations have overcome bigger challenges. Now it is for this generation to show they are up to the task.
Mr Barroso is president of the European Commission
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