The lesson of Europe's economic crisis
Some European leaders believe that the lesson of the recession and the crisis with the euro is that Europe should coordinate its economic policies much more closely.
Speaking in Strasbourg today, when the European Parliament approved the new Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso made a strong pitch for greater economic coordination. "It's the only way forward," he said.
It remains unclear exactly what coordination he has in mind but he obviously envisages a significant change. "I believe that our economic and social situation demands a radical shift for the status quo... and the treaty allows this," he said.
It seems that he is referring to articles 120-122 under the Lisbon Treaty. "Where it is established... that the economic policies of a member state... risk jeopardising the proper functioning of economic and monetary union, the Commission may address a warning to the member state concerned," it states.
So, a warning. Perhaps sanctions, but that is not explicit. But that hardly matches the ambition of Mr Barroso's words. "If we want to reinforce our industrial base... then stronger economic coordination is the only way forward," he said. The word "only" was underlined.
Others go further. Herman Van Rompuy, the new president of the European Council who has called this Thursday's informal economic summit, is looking for more economic government at a European level. This "economic government" will involve four or five objectives that "have to be agreed by everyone".
In his letter to the heads of government attending Thursday's meeting, Mr Van Rompuy said: "Recent developments in the euro area highlight the urgent need to strengthen our economic governance." He went on to write: "Whether it is called coordination of policies or economic government, only the European Council is capable of delivering and sustaining a common European strategy for more growth and more jobs."
The British government is in favour of active coordination of economic steps taken and backs an annual economic summit, but there are officials who see economic turbulence as an excuse for further European integration, and that is why the fine print of this week's summit and beyond will be pored over.