Today the eleventh President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, will deliver his fourth and final State of the Union address to Brussels before he steps down after the European elections next year.
We know already that he will say that the EU needs further economic and political integration. It is likely that he will start to expand on his vision of banking and fiscal union, welding the countries of the Eurozone ever closer together into a new highly-integrated economic bloc.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. The President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, set out proposals for deepening integration in his ‘Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union’ paper in 2012, and President Barroso floated the idea in his State of the Union address last year.
In fact, anyone who witnessed the debate about the single currency at the turn of this century would have seen commentators warning that the euro would not survive without a strong coordination of fiscal policy underpinned by a single pan-European banking system.