EU Will Become A Fully-Fledged "Political Union" After The Financial Crisis
European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has told the Chinese public that the EU will become a fully-fledged "political union" after the financial crisis.
Speaking to TV cameras after a meeting with Chinese leader Wen Jiabao in Bejing on Tuesday, he noted the EU has recently suffered mass strikes and protests, including violent clashes in Greece.
"It is true that in many of our member states there have been student protests and strikes. This is normal in our open societies where people have a right to protest," he said.
He added that the crisis has prompted a new wave of integration, however, citing the fiscal treaty agreed last month by 25 EU countries.
"I want to make this very clear to Chinese public opinion. Because I understand when you see the news you may be putting some questions. Is the European Union really going to progress? I say: 'Yes. No doubt about it' ... Precisely because of the problems in the euro area the conclusion has been to further integrate and to complete the monetary union with a fiscal union and, I believe, in the future toward a political union."
Barroso and EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy went to China to attract money for EU bail-out funds.
For his part, Van Rompuy highlighted a clause in the joint summit communique which says the EU is willing to "swiftly" give China market economy status - a move that would help it sell more cheap goods to Europe. "It's the first time we put this kind of agreement with this kind of langauge after an EU-China summit," he said.
Wen declined to give a concrete promise despite the charm offensive.
He said only that: "China is ready to increase its participation in resolving the European debt problems. We are willing to conduct close communication and co-operation with the EU side."