07 SEP 2010
By Andrew Rettman
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in a major speech on Tuesday morning said the EU has survived the economic crisis.
"Over the last year, the economic and financial crisis has put our Union before one of its greatest challenges ever ... As I look back at how we have reacted, I believe that we have withstood the test," Mr Barroso told MEPs in his first ever so-called State of the Union address. "Those who predicted the demise of the European Union were proved wrong."
His remarks come after a threat of sovereign default by eurozone countries such as Greece and Spain threatened to pull apart the single currency in a potentially deadly blow to the 50-year-old European project.
Noting that "our work is not finished," the Portuguese politician put the EU's economic future at the top of his five-point agenda.
He defended the commission's push to regulate EU countries' debt levels despite rising social tension in countries such as Greece, which has seen an outbreak of violent street protests in reaction to EU-and-IMF-imposed cutbacks.