“Let’s reform Europe together” Barroso tells UK

José_Manuel_Barroso,_EPP_Summit_Helsinki_4_March_2011

President of the EU Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso (courtesy of Wikipedia)

The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, visited London ahead of European elections in May and warned member states, in particular the UK, not to “shoot ourselves in our feet”.

The  head of the EU executive delivered a speech earlier this afternoon at the London School of Economics on the health of the European Union and the reforms needed to push the EU in a more globalized and competitive world.

Barroso’s visit in London was crucial as Prime Minister David Cameron  promised to give an in/out referendum on EU membership if re-elected next year.

“If you don’t like Europe, help us reform it but don’t turn your back on us” Barroso said before LSE’s students, stressing the importance of unity as the basic pillar to overcome economic and political differences.

“We now have the leverage to push reforms,” Barroso said “and of course we could have faced the crisis better but we are democratic states and we cannot impose decisions on member states. We can only advise them.”

Barroso, in his tenth year of presidency, tried ad well to persuade Cameron not to block a fundamental principle of the EU: freedom of movement. The PM has said he’d like to do to stop the citizens of new EU member states from tapping Britain’s welfare benefits.

” We cannot have a single market without the free movement of European citizens,” the president said. “and I don’t want to have first and second class EU citizens because this could lead to class stratification that goes against our ideals.”

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Dispenser: a recap of today’s show.

This week Dispenser, your weekly supplier of random knowledge, was like pudding on your Sunday roast, a giant bowl of ketchup with your fish and chips, a handful of minced meet in your Cornish pie. In other words, we were a little stodgy but always, always a nourishment for your tired brain.

During the show we had the nicest talk with Gaia Pianigiani, New York Times reporter, on the breach of “Fortress Europe” and the new routes of north African migration towards the EU.

Then we discussed how immigrants are pictured by UK media and the negative words that are constantly drilled into the public psyche. But we didn’t forget to suggest a book on this uneasy topic: “Forest Gate” by Peter Akinti – a tale of two teenage Somali immigrants who, in the wake of their sad reality in modern day Britain, tried to embrace death.

If you are still not listening to Dispenser, your family doctor advises you to tune in every Monday at 6pm on Smoke Radio.

This week’s soundtrack:

Dancing in the moonlight – King Harvest;

Perfect Day – Lou Reed;

Political Science – Randy Newman;

The Passenger – Iggy Pop;

La Dolce Vita – Nino Rota

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