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José Manuel Barroso sent European Parliament political groups his five year programme last week in his bid to be re-elected Commission President for a second term. This is in the run-up to tomorrow’s hearings in the Parliament where he will try to convince MEPs that he’s the right person to lead Europe in these times of crisis.

But on the evidence of his programme, Barroso has stumbled on the first hurdle. A close analysis shows that 95% of its statements and proposals are taken from old Commission initiatives. It is business as usual, with no European vision on how to tackle the massive challenges we’re facing.

We’re facing a historic economic crisis: eight million people have already lost their jobs and 30 million Europeans could be unemployed by 2011. But Barroso thinks we can continue as before, with an outdated recovery plan and no new European initiatives. There’s no commitment to an ambitious, new strategy to fight mass unemployment for our citizens. There’s no vision of how to avert a catastrophic decline in Europe’s prospects and living standards for years to come.  

Where is his vision for a new economic paradigm to replace the mistaken policies of the past?

What we do in the next five years will be the difference between success and failure for the entire European project and – I fear – the future welfare of our societies. Europe’s citizens deserve better than business as usual.

We need real commitments and leadership now, not the same old warm words. Barroso has his work cut out tomorrow. 

Read PES President assessment of José Manuel Barroso's programme pdf

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