Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Wednesday, 28 September 2011 09:25 UK

Barroso urges 'pride in Europe' during State of the Union speech

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso has told MEPs the EU is facing "the biggest challenges that the EU has ever had to face in its history", during his annual State of the Union address.

During the speech in Strasbourg on 28 September 2011 he announced that he was proposing to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT) - to loud applause from many MEPs.

"Taxpayers have paid €4.6bn to the financial sector," he told the Parliament. "Now it's time for the financial sector to pay something back to society."

His speech came during a deepening economic crisis in the eurozone, with growing concerns over Greece's ability to pay its debts.

However he assured MEPs "Greece is, and Greece will remain, a member of the euro area".

He made a call for more integration among EU member states, including greater political union and more pooling of efforts in the defence sector.

To applause from many MEPs - but silence from the eurosceptic bloc - he urged national governments across the EU "to show a bit more pride in Europe".

"I want to see and hear that pride in being European," he told the Parliament.

However in a lively debate that followed his speech, MEPs were divided over the response to the crisis.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage told Mr Barroso he was ignoring "a new democratic revolution spreading through northern Europe", and described his call for more European integration as "a sign of madness".

However Martin Schultz, the German leader of the S&D group criticised the attitude of national governments for engaging in "shuttle diplomacy" and called on pro-Europeans to "act together".

Read Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work here.

The European Parliament's disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations can be found here.


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