Barroso sets out vision of big, protective EU
Barroso, who has no credible rival for the post of EU commission chief, enjoys the backing of most European leaders, including the British, French and Germans.Brussels -- EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, who is seeking a second term, on Thursday laid out his vision for a protective, all encompassing continental project as he declared the need for "more Europe."
Barroso sent a letter, a kind of two-page job application, to European leaders gathering in Brussels for a summit.
"I believe that in times of crisis we need more than ever a strong European Union and a strong European Commission," the ex-Portuguese prime minister said in his policy outline.
"We need more, not less, Europe," he said in comments bound to raise eurosceptic hackles. "This the moment to raise our ambition for Europe, not lower it."
The EU leaders are expected to endorse Barroso's candidature during their two-day summit starting Thursday, though he will have to be backed by the European parliament before he can be formally reappointed to the top EU job.
The 53-year old conservative Barroso, who has no credible rival for the post, enjoys the backing of most European leaders, including the British, French and Germans.
Hi manifesto-style letter echoed aspects which French President Nicolas Sarkozy had insisted should be key to a second mandate.
"His duty is to protect and ensure that Europe protects Europeans," Sarkozy said last week, and to "commit to work toward improving financial regulation as we have decided."
Barroso said he envisaged an EU which "is clear in its determination to protect and promote European interests worldwide".
He also vowed to continue "the drive towards effective regulation and supervision of global financial markets, shaping globalisation and environmental standards" while "respecting ethical principles".
The letter had a distinct green tinge, also proclaiming that Europe would, under Barroso, retain its "world leadership in fighting climate change and promoting energy security."
Barroso will get his chance to outline his ideas directly to the 27 EU heads of state and government over dinner Thursday.