Barroso rejects European 'superstate'
José Manuel Barroso has called for "deeper integration" of the European Union, but insisted he does not want to see a continent-wide "superstate".
The president of the European Commission said closer co-operation was indispensable if the EU was overcome the "enormous" challenges it faces, and called on the UK to "stand up and take the initiative".
However he insisted that, as the former prime minister of a member state, he did not want to establish a "European superstate". "I believe in a Europe where people are proud of their nations, but also proud to be European," he said.
His comments come after eleven member states, led by Germany, called for the creation of a pan-European foreign ministry.
The plan, published in a controversial document, also calls for a directly-elected EU president and a separate parliamentary group for eurozone countries.
Former UK defence secretary Lord Hutton said there was a "very strong case" for Europe increasing the contribution it makes to defence and security policy, but insisted talk of a European army was "not helpful".
Writing for Comment is Free this afternoon, Mr Barroso said a stronger EU would have more "clout" globally, and claimed the situation in Syria showed members could not afford to be "bystanders".
"Standing together brings us greater influence over what happens in our global backyard," he added.