(Fromn left) PM Donald Tusk, EP president Jerzy Buzek, Jose Manuel Barroso: photo - PAP/Leszek Szymanski
Barroso told Poland's TVP public broadcaster that when he saw Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the European Parliament on Wednesday before the debate on Poland's EU presidency, which the Polish PM opened, he said: “Thank you Donald for your great contribution.”
On the debate about balancing national sovereignty with further integration, Barroso said that the best way to defend national interests is by closer cooperation within the EU.
“In the twenty-first century, the era of globalization, it is best to defend national interests - Polish, French, German and Portuguese – by being pro-European. During the Polish presidency, it was clear that some Polish priorities were also seen as important priorities for Europe,” the head of the European Commission said.
Barroso also praised Poland's commitment to getting involved in negotiations on greater fiscal regulation within the eurozone, despite not being a member yet.
“Poles themselves should decide to enter the eurozone when that it is in their best interests,” he said.
On criticism by the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland that Brussels is threatening national sovereignty, Barroso said: “It's quite complicated, because the EU comprises of 27 countries, with independent, democratic systems. These countries still exist, no one questions their sovereignty, regardless of their size, although they do give up some of their powers to the Union. The EU is a complex system, but we have the political will to strengthen it,” he said.
“I would like to emphasize here that the common EU institutions can function only if the leaders of member states have the political will for them to do so.”
Barroso said that he liked the idea of a “United States of Europe” and “a strong federal union” but “in the near future we will not achieve such integration”.
He said politicians such as Law and Justice leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski were “completely wrong” to fear a loss of national sovereignty when joining the eurozone.
“Today, sovereignty means something different than it did in the nineteenth century.”
“It is better to be in the eurozone and have an influence on it, than to be outside it, and have to bear the consequences of not having the right to vote on the future of the single currency.” (pg)