It’s notoriously hard to make predictions, especially about the future, it has often been said, but the coming year promises to be an eventful one for the EU. Commission President José Manuel Barroso gave a preview during his State of the Union address at the European Parliament (EP) on 11 September, which he then debated with MEPs. EP Facebook fans later discussed the EU’s immediate future with the Parliament's President Martin Schulz. He talked about creating jobs, improving the EU and why it is important to vote next year.
In one of our the EP's most popular chats, Mr Schulz was of course asked about Mr Barosso’s State of the Union address earlier that day. “I share his approach that deepening integration and strengthening the communitarian institutions is the best way to protect social cohesion in Europe,” Mr Schulz said.
The EP president was very clear about what the most important issue was: “The first priority is the fight against youth unemployment, and the EP insists to mobilise the necessary money in the shortest delay.” Talking about people moving abroad to find a better job, he said: “I understand young people who are looking for the best place to find a job and a decent life, but our responsibility is to assure that this is possible everywhere in Europe.”
Mr Schulz said he was dedicated to fighting populism: “The EU must become more effective, more transparent with a higher degree of democratic accountability. And, we must intensify the direct dialogue with our voters.”
Many people also asked about next year’s elections for the European Parliament. Mr Schulz said: “The European elections in May 2014 will decide about the majority in the European Parliament, that majority will appoint a Commission President who has a strong impact on the future development of the EU. Therefore we need a competition all over in Europe between candidates running for the succession of Mr Barroso.”