The president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso called for a common European foreign and defence policy during his first ever State of the Union address.
Speaking to MEPs on 7 September in Strasbourg, he said the EU needed to proved more solutions for global problems.
He said budgetary reform would be a priority and promised reform of EU energy markets to increase liberalisation.
However Martin Schultz, the leader of the Socialist group described Mr Barroso's speech as a "work programme" rather than a state of the union address.
He accused the Commission president of failing to play the role given to him by the Lisbon Treaty.
Meanwhile green group co-leader, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, described Mr Barroso as the "absent president of Europe".
The State of the Union addressed comes as the European Parliament has increased powers since the passing of the Lisbon Treaty.
However recent months have been marked by a deep debt crisis in Greece and high levels of unemployment across the union.
The address received broad support from centre-right and liberal group leaders Joseph Daul and Guy Verhofstadt, who said that citizens wanted "more not less Europe", and called for the Commission to be more pro-active in coming forward with new legislation to promote economic growth.
There has been tension between MEPs supporting the "Community method" of deals being done at an EU level, and those who support the "intergovernmental method" of decisions being taken by national governments.
The Record Europe held a debate with MEPs assessing Mr Barroso's speech - watch
at Democracy Live's guide to the European Parliament plenary sessions.