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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

17 October 2005

Welcoming a reformer

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, is due in Washington this week. His visit comes at a moment when the internal dynamics in Europe are both stalemated and ripe for change, when the push to reform is obstructed yet the status quo remains profoundly unsatisfactory, when the questions that Europe is asking are producing answers that Europe does not want to hear.

Mr. Barroso is an advocate for change. Only Tony Blair and Gordon Brown can be said to match his potency and vigor for updating the European dream. But Mr. Barroso lacks the imagination of former leaders—his is not a vision to push Europe to new limits. He is an administrator whose task is to house clean. And yet for this he deserves plenty credit.

Perhaps his truest contribution has been to alter the balance of power in the EU; under his aegis, the Commission is no longer the place to streamline legislation and bequeath the peoples of Europe with more rules. It is an engine for reform: a place to speak of the need to move Europe past its inner instincts and to reach out to the world—to rediscover the confidence to engage and compete with the world, and with one another.

Mr. Barroso should be praised for this.

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