I haven't had the time to look at much of the European People's Party's Congress this week, but I saw the speeches of Merkel and Barroso.
Angela Merkel's speech echoed some of the "strivers" rhetoric of David Cameron's speech, though EPP parties in general seem to be able to carry off compassionate conservativism a bit better by integrating the "social market economy" into their rhetoric.
I have to take issue with Merkel's approach on democracy, however. It's not just about demonstrations or press freedom (not that all EPP parties have had a spotless record on the press), but about influencing policy. The calls by Merkel and Schaeuble for rigid budgetary rules and therefore dilution of national democracy is not the way to handle the crisis: Eurozone solutions should focus on preserving national democracy, and deepening European democracy where there needs to be common policy.
Barroso, who could throw his hat into the ring to be the EPP's candidate for a third Commission Presidential term, also spoke at the Congress:
Barroso stressed that the crisis was caused by a lack of regulation in the financial sector and public debt (only partially right when it comes to Ireland and Spain), and pushed for more integration. He pitched for the EU institutions to retain their current structure and not be divided because integration should be seen as a way to deepen solidarity, "...and not as a way of creating new walls because in Europe we definitely need no more walls".
Barroso used the opportunity to drum up support for the current Commission programme on EMU reform. He also called for support for the EU budget as a way for investing in growth, and tried to portray EU spending not as welfare, but as money for common objectives. He'll have a hard time building his "coalition for growth"...