Monday, 26 September 2005

Building the EU SuperState: what leading EU politicians say about it

(The quotations below are in chronological order backwards)

“In the foreseeable future, we will not have a constitution. That’s obvious. I haven’t come across any magic formula that would bring it back to life. Instead of never-ending debates about institutions, let’s work with what we’ve got. Political will and leadership are more important than institutions.”

- EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Rzeczpospolita, Warsaw; Irish Times, 2 September 2005

“We know our electorate, and if we ask them again we will get the same reply. We will have to reassess the situation in 2006. At the moment I cannot see anyone wishing or asking for a second vote.”

- French Minister for European Affairs Catherine Colonna, Irish Times, 13 September 2005

“After Nice the forces of political Europe joined others in stoking the fire. The Commission, the Parliament, the federalists, French proponents of integration, the media, all found Nice too ‘intergovernmental’. Together, they imposed the idea that Nice was a disaster, that we urgently needed a new treaty. Soon a ‘new treaty’ wasn’t enough. It had to be a ‘Constitution’, and little did it matter that it was legally inappropriate. When the time came, the result had to be ratified. What tiny national parliament, what people, would then dare to stand in the way of this new meaning of history? The results of the Convention, at first deemed insufficient by maximalists, became the holy word when it was realised that selfish governments might water it down.

At every stage of this craze, from 1996 until 2005, a more reasonable choice could have been made, a calmer rhythm could have been adopted, that would not have deepened the gap between the elites and the population, that would have better consolidated the real Europe and spared us the present crisis. But in saying this, I understimate the religious fervour that has seized the European project. For all those who believed in the various ideologies of the second half of the 20th century, but survived their ruin, the rush into European integration became a substitute ideology.

They planned urgently to end the nation state. Everything outside this objective was heresy and had to be fought. This was in the spirit of Jean Monnet, the rejection of self and of history, of all common sense. ‘European power’ was a variation, the code name for a counterweight to America that excited France alone for years and towards which the ‘Constitution’ was supposed to offer a magical shortcut. And let us not forget the periodic French incantations for a Franco-German union.

As the train sped on, these two groups, instead of braking the convoy, kept stoking the locomotive, some to enlarge and others to integrate, deaf to the complaints coming from the carriages. Since we had to ask for confirmation from time to time, the recalcitrant peoples were told they had no choice, that it was for their own good, that all rejection or delay would be a sign of egotism, sovereignty, turning inward, hatred of others, xenophobia, even Le Penism or fascism. But it didn’t work. The passengers unhooked the carriages-”

- Hubert Vedrine, French Foreign Minister 1999-2005, Irish Times, 8 August 2005

“I want to believe obstinately that neither the French nor the Dutch have rejected the constitutional treaty. A lot of the questions in the French and Dutch debates find answers in the constitution. But the voters – and this is why we need this period of explanation and debate – did not realise that the text of the constitutional treaty, the nature of the constitutional treaty, aimed to respond to numerous concerns.”

- Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg Premier and holder of the EU presidency, International Herald Tribune, 18-19 June 2005

“Some people have wanted to bury the Constitution before it’s even dead. I am opposed to this, because burying the Constitution would mean burying the idea of what’s behind the Constitution, which is political union.”

- Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian Prime Minuster, Agence Europe News Bulletin, 17 June 2005

“It was a mistake to send out the entire three-part, 448-article document to every French voter, said Mr Giscard. Over the phone he had warned Mr Chirac in March: ‘I said, “Don’t do it, don’t do it. It is not possible for anyone to understand the full text.’”

- V.Giscard d’Estaing, interview in The New York Times, quoted in Euobserver, 15 June 2005

“The agenda must and will continue. Globalization is not something China imposed on us, but something we have done ourselves. People must be told that globalization is our policy. . . I see a clear danger when people are saying less Europe is better. More integration is not the problem, it is the solution.”

- EU Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, International Herald Tribune, 8 June 2005

“The Constitution is the capstone of a European Federal State”

- Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian Prime Minister, Financial Times, 21 June 2004

“This (drafting an EU Constitution) is what you have to do if you want the people to build statues of you on horseback in the villages you all come from.”

- V.Giscard d’Estaing, Financial Times, 21 June 2004

“We know that nine out of 10 people will not have read the Constitution and will vote on the basis of what politicians and journalists say. More than that, if the answer is No, the vote will probably have to be done again, because it absolutely has to be Yes.”

- Jean-Luc Dehaene, Former Belgian Prime Minister and Vice-President of the EU Convention, Irish Times, 2 June 2004

“You cannot ask the citizens to ratify the Treaty of Nice and then say to them that what they have ratified no longer counts for anything before it has even come into force. How could we then ask them to believe in what we are doing?

- Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, Le Monde, 8 March 2004

“The Convention brought together a self-selected group of the European political elite, many of whom have their eyes on a career at a European level, which is dependent on more and more integration and who see national governments and parliaments as an obstacle. Not once in the sixteen months I spent on the Convention did representatives question whether deeper integration is what the people of Europe want, whether it serves their best interests or whether it provides the best basis for a sustainable structure for an expanding Union. The debates focused solely on where we could do more at European Union level. None of the existing policies were questioned.”

- Gisela Stuart MP, The Making of Europe’s Constitution, Fabian Society, London, 2003.

“From a Chinese, Indian or American perspective, the individual countries of our continent grow indistinct and merge. What people see increasingly is Europe as a whole. Just cast your mind beyond our narrow temporal limits: in the eyes of history, the integration of the whole continent is our nation-states’ only chance of survival.”

- Romano Prodi, President of the EU Commission, European Parliament, 16 December 2003

“An enlarged Union based on Nice is not in the interest of any Member State – This is not a threat. This is a messenger delivering news.”

- German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Irish Times, 14 November 2003

“We’ve got to be explicit that the road to greater economic success does not lie in this cosy assumption that you can move from a single market through a single currency to harmonising all your taxes and then having a federal fiscal policy and then effectively having a federal state.”

- Gordon Brown, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Guardian, 5 November 2003

“There is no Europe without European defence and there is no European defence without Britain.”

- French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, Financial Times, 16 October 2003

“This is crossing the Rubicon, after which there will be no more sovereign states in
Europe with fully-fledged governments and parliaments which represent legitimate interests of their citizens, but only one State will remain. Basic things will be decided by a remote ‘federal government’ in Brussels and, for example, Czech citizens will be only a tiny particle whose voice and influence will be almost zero – We are against a European superstate.”

- Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Mlada Fronta Dnes, 29-9-2003

“We are 5 per cent from a real European federal state and claims about the independence of countries will have a more and more hollow ring. I am not sure the citizens are in any way aware of what is going on. All the changes are duly labelled in calming phrases.”

- Torben Lund MEP, leader of Danish Social Democrats in the European Parliament and former government minister, Politiken, 12 August 2003

“Defence Europe is an essential dimension of Europe. Without it, the voice of the European nations won’t be heard in the international arena. Without the requisite capabilities for military action, Europe will remain impotent or dependent.”

- French President Jacques Chirac, speech at Creil, 30 September 2002

“We need to develop the instinct of acting together. The first reflex is still national.”

- M.Valery Giscard d’Estaing, President of the EU Convention, The Guardian. London, 13 September 2002

“If we were to reach agreement on this point (i.e. a consensus proposal from the EU Convention), we would thus open the way towards a constitution for Europe. To avoid any disagreement over semantics, let us agree now to call it ‘a constitutional treaty for Europe.’”

- M.Valery Giscard d’Estaing, President of the EU Convention, Irish Times, 1 March 2002

“When we build the euro – and with what a success – when we advance on the European defence, with difficulties but with considerable progress, when we build a European arrest-warrant, when we move towards creating a European prosecutor, we are building something deeply federal, or a true union of states – The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union must become a charter of rights that is applicable and effective – I wish this Constitution to be the Constitution of a rebuilt Union, able to reflect its social cohesion, deepen its political unity, express its power externally.”

- M.Pierre Moscovici, French Minister for Europe, Le Monde,28 February 2002

“European monetary union has to be complemented by a political union – that was always the presumption of Europeans including those who made active politics before us -What we need to Europeanise is everything to do with economic and financial policy. In this area we need much more, let’s call it co-ordination and co-operation to suit British feelings, than we had before. That hangs together with the success of the euro.”

- German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, The Times, London, 22 February 2002

“Defence is the hard core of sovereignty. Now we have a single currency, then why should we not have a common defence one day?”

- Spanish Defence Minister Federico Trillo, European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, 19 February 2002

“The EU ought to develop into a great power in order that it may function as a fully fledged actor in the world.”

- Paavo Lipponen, Prime Minister of Finland, London, 14 February 2002

“It (the introduction of the euro) is not economic at all. It is a completely political step – The historical significance of the euro is to constuct a bipolar economy in the world. The two poles are the dollar and the euro. This is the political meaning of the single European currency. It is a step beyond which there will be others. The euro is just an antipasto.”

- Commission President Romano Prodi, interview on CNN, 1 January 2002

“The currency union will fall apart if we don’t follow through with the consequences of such a union. I am convinced we will need a common tax system.”

- German Finance Minister Hans Eichel, The Sunday Times, London, 23 December 2001

“The European constitution that Germany and France wish for will be an essential step in the historic process of European integration.”

- Joint statement of French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Nantes, 23 November 2001

“Let us act in such a way that it (an EU Constitution) becomes a reality in 2004 – Such a text would unite the Europeans by enabling them, through their solemn approval, to identify with a project – What can we do so that Europe carries greater weight on the international stage? – Now we must define, without timidity, the areas where we want to go towards more Europe, within the framework desired by France, of a Federation of Nation States.”

- French President Jacques Chirac, address to French Ambassadors, 27 August 2001

“It (the EU) is one of the few institutions we can develop as a balance to US world domination.”

- Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson in Gothenburg, New York Times, 15 June 2001

“We need a European Constitution. The European Constitution is not the ‘final touch’ of the European structure; it must become its foundation. The European Constitution should prescribe that – we are building a Federation of Nation-States – The first part should be based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights proclaimed at the European summit at Nice – If we transform the EU into a Federation of Nation-States, we will enhance the democratic legitimacy – We should not prescribe what the EU should never be allowed to do – I believe that the Parliament and the Council of Ministers should be developed into a genuine bicameral parliament.”

- Dr Johannes Rau, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, European Parliament, 4 April 2001

“Are we all clear that we want to build something that can aspire to be a world power? In other words, not just a trading bloc but a political entity. Do we realise that our nation states, taken individually, would find it far more difficult to assert their existence and their identity on the world stage.”

- Commission President Romano Prodi, European Parliament, 13 February 2001

“Thanks to the euro, our pockets will soon hold solid evidence of a European identity. We need to build on this, and make the euro more than a currency and Europe more than a territory – In the next six months, we will talk a lot about political union, and rightly so. Political union is inseparable from economic union. Stronger growth and European integration are related issues. In both areas we will take concrete steps forward.”

- French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius, Financial Times, London, 24 July 2000

“One must act ‘as if’ in Europe: as if one wanted only very few things, in order to obtain a great deal. As if nations were to remain sovereign, in order to convince them to surrender their sovereignty. The Commission in Brussels, for example, must act as if it were a technical organism, in order to operate like a government … and so on, camouflaging and toning down. The sovereignty lost at national level does not pass to any new subject. It is entrusted to a faceless entity: NATO, the UN and eventually the EU. The Union is the vanguard of this changing world:it indicates a future of Princes without sovereignty. The new entity is faceless and those who are in command can neither be pinned down nor elected … That is the way Europe was made too: by creating communitarian organisms without giving the organisms presided over by national governments the impression that they were being subjected to a higher power. That is how the Court of Justice as a supra-national organ was born. It was a sort of unseen atom bomb, which Schuman and Monnet slipped into the negotiations on the Coal and Steel Community. That was what the ‘CSC’ itself was: a random mixture of national egotisms which became communitarian. I don’t think it is a good idea to replace this slow and effective method – which keeps national States free from anxiety while they are being stripped of power – with great institutional leaps – Therefore I prefe
r to go slowly, to crumble pieces of sovereignty up litle by little, avoiding brusque transitions from national to federal power. That is the way I think we will have to build Europe’s common policies…”

- Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, later Vice-President of the EU Constitutional Convention, interview with Barbara Spinelli, La Stampa, 13 July 2000

“We already have a federation. The 11, soon to be 12, member States adopting the euro have already given up part of their sovereignty, monetary sovereignty,and formed a monetary union, and that is the first step towards a federation.”

- German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Financial Times, 7 July 2000,

“We will have to create an avant-garde – We could have a Union for the enlarged Europe, and a Federation for the avant-garde.”

- Former EU Commission President Jacques Delors, Liberation, 17 June 2000

“The last step will then be the completion of integration in a European Federation – such a group of States would conclude a new European framework treaty, the nucleus of a constitution of the Federation. On the basis of this treaty, the Federation would develop its own institutions, establish a government which, within the EU, should speak with one voice – a strong parliament and a directly elected president. Such a driving force would have to be the avant-garde, the driving force for the completion of political integration – This latest stage of European Union – will depend decisively on France and Germany.”

- German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, speech at Humboldt University, Berlin, 12 May 2000

“To promote the process of European integration, we must improve an institutional mechanism already existing in the European Union, reinforced co-operation, by making it more flexible and effective. This approach allows a few states to move faster and further – We are all aware that this mechanism is vital.”

- French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, French National Asssembly, 9 May 2000

“Common responsibility for the European currency will also engender a common decision-making instance for the European economy. It is unthinkable to have a European central bank but not a common leadership for the European economy. If there is no counterweight to the ECB in European economy policy, then we will be left with the incomplete construction which we have today – However even if the building is not finished it is still true that monetary union is part of a supranational constitution – It is our task for the future to work with the appropriate means for the transfer of traditional elements of national sovereignty to the European level.”

- Italian President Carlo Ciampi, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,8 Feb.2000

“If you don’t want to call it a European army, don’t call it a European army. You can call it ‘Margaret’, you can call it ‘Mary-Anne’, you can find any name, but it is a joint effort for peace-keeping missions – the first time you have a joint, not bilateral, effort at European level.”

- EU Commission President Romano Prodi, The Independent, London, 4 Feb.2000

“We must now face the difficult task of moving towards a single economy, a single political entitY – For the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire we have the opportunity to unite Europe.”

- EU Commission President Romano Prodi, European Parliament, 13 April 1999

“It is only natural that the eastern part of the continent will become our preoccupation for years to come, because Germans see this as a matter of historical destiny. The most fundamental priority we have is trying to integrate all of Europe. But for France the underlying issue is all about coming to terms with its loss of influence in the world.”

- Herr Immo Stabreit, former German Ambassador to France, International Herald Tribune, 11-12 September 1999

“The euro was not just a bankers’ decision or a technical decision. It was a decision which completely changed the nature of the nation states. The pillars of the nation state are the sword and the currency, and we changed that. The euro decision changed the concept of the nation state and we have to go beyond that.”

- EU Commission President Romano Prodi, Financial Times interview, 9 April 1999

“The introduction of the euro is probably the most important integrating step since the beginning of the unification process. It is certain that the times of individual national efforts regarding employment policies, social and tax policies are definitely over. This will require to finally bury some erroneous ideas of national sovereignty – I am convinced our standing in the world regarding foreign trade and international finance policies will sooner or later force a Common Foreign and Security Polic worthy of its name – National sovereignty in foreign and security policy will soon prove itself to be a product of the imagination.”

- German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on ‘New Foundations for European Integration’, The Hague, 19 Jan.1999

“Our future begins on January 1 1999. The euro is Europe’s key to the 21st century. The era of solo national fiscal and economic policy is over.”

- German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, 31 December 1998

“The euro is a sickly premature infant, the result of an over-hasty monetary union.”

- German Opposition leader Gerhard Schröder, March 1998

“The euro is far more than a medium of exchange – It is part of the identity of a people. It reflects what they have in common now and in the future.”

- European Central Bank Governor Wim Duisenberg, December 31 1998

“Transforming the European Union into a single State with one army, one constitution and one foreign policy is the critical challenge of the age, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said yesterday.”

- The Guardian, London, 26 November 1998

“The single currency is the greatest abandonment of sovereignty since the foundation of the European Community – It is a decision of an essentially political character – We need this united Europe – We must never forget that the euro is an instrument for this project.”

- Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, May 1998

“Federalism might make eurosceptics laugh but, with the creation of the euro,the halfway stage would be reached. Four key organisms would have a federal or quasi-federal status: the Central Bank, the Court of Justice, the Commission and the Parliament. Only one institution is missing: a federal government.”

- M.Jacques Lang, Foreign Affairs Spokesman, French National Assembly, The Guardian, London, 22 July 1997

“As a monetary union represents a lasting commitment to integration which encroaches on the core area of national sovereignty, the EMU participants must also be prepared to take further steps towards a more comprehensive political union.”

- Annual Report of the German Bundesbank, 1995

“In Maastricht we laid the foundation-stone for the completion of the European Union. The European Union Treaty introduces a new and decisive stage in the process of European union, which within a few years will lead to the creation of what the founding fathers dreamed of after the last war: the United States of Europe.”

- German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, April 1992

“There is no example in history of a lasting monetary union that was not linked to one State.”

- 0tmar Issing, Chief Economist, German Bundesbank, 1991

“A European currency will lead to member-nations transferring their sovereignty over financial and wage policies as well as in monetary affairs – It is an illusion to think that States can hold on to their autonomy over taxation policies.” – Bundesbank President Hans Tietmeyer, 1991

“We argue about fish, about potatoes, about milk, on the periphery. But what is Europe really for? Because the countries of Europe, none of them anything but second-rate powers by themselves, can, if they get together, be a power in the world, an economic power, a power in foreign policy, a power in defence equal to either of the superpowers. We are in the position of the Greek city
states: they fought one another and they fell victim to Alexander the Great and then to the Romans. Europe united could still, by not haggling about the size of lorries but by having a single foreign policy, a single defence policy and a single economic policy, be equal to the great superpowers.”

- Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who initiated the UK’s application to join the EEC, The Listener, London, 8 Feb.1979

“On the basis of repeated meetings with him and of an attentive observation of his actions, I think that if in his own way W.Hallstein (ed: first President of the European Commission) is a sincere ‘European’, this is only because he is first of all an ambitious German. For the Europe that he would like to see would contain a framework within which his country could find once again and without cost the respectability and equality of rights that Hitler’s frenzy and defeat caused it to lose; then acquire the overwhelming weight that will follow from its economic capacity; and, finally, achieve a situation in which its quarrels concerning its boundaries and its unification will be assumed by a powerful coalition.”

- President Charles de Gaulle, Memoirs of Hope, 1970

“The fusion (of economic functions) would compel nations to fuse their sovereignty into that of a single European State.”

– Jean Monnet, founder of the European Movement, 3 April 1952

“The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe.”

- Robert Schuman, Declaration on the European Coal and Steel Community, Europe Day, 9 May 1950

“Who controls the currency, controls the country.”

- John Maynard Keynes, 1932

“I have always found the word ‘Europe’ on the lips of those who wanted something from others that they dared not demand in their own names.”

- German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck,Gedenken und Erinnerungen, 1890