"What we need now is an intelligent synthesis between the market and the state . . ."


Thus spake European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Saturday, urging EU leaders to "turn a crisis into an opportunity." The "crisis," of course, is the resounding rejection of the proposed EU constitution by voters in France and the Netherlands. But what does Barroso mean by his "intelligent synthesis"?

Actually, Barroso explained: "It is vital that we use the present moment to forge a new consensus. It is the role of the Commission to facilitate this consensus … and to avoid a confrontation between the different models or perceptions of Europe."

I see. Barroso's message, as Reuters transmuted it, was that Europe "must avoid an ideological war between free-market capitalism and the welfare state." The wire service added helpfully that Barroso "voiced confidence that the EU would emerge stronger from the crisis, but gave no clear details of how."