I thought this thread would die a death, but it's still there...
I saw Barroso on CNBC the other day. Seemed very capable.
When challenged that he was giving the social agenda and the environment too low a priority as compared to the economy, he pointed to his three sons. If one of them is sick, he said, we need to prioritise his recovery. That may upset the other two but hopefully they will understand that this is what a good father has to do.
Besides, Europe cannot afford good sustainable social provision and environmental protection without a dynamic growing economy. The Lisbon Stategy is a plan to help bring this about by boosting productivity through supply side reforms, not slashing welfare programs.
Still, while Cohn-Bendit is wrong in his prescriptions for competitiveness, he does seem to be living in the real world a little more than Barroso.
The Commission President has limited powers to force through change on a macro level. He has to try and build up a head of steam and hope that persuasion can work on leaders of Member States. Already, the French are peeing on his parade (French politicians love a bit of unilateralism when it suits their corporate donors). The worst outcome will be for Barroso to fail and be followed by the spend, spend, and regulate approach of those like Cohn-Bendit. It just won't work and will deepen Europe's structural malaise.