"The Constitution is the capstone of a European Federal State"
~Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian Prime Minister, Financial Times, 21 June 2004 ~

What top EU politicians say about the Lisbon treaty / EU constitution

“The difference between the original Constitution and the present Lisbon Treaty is one of approach, rather than content … The proposals in the original constitutional treaty are practically unchanged. They have simply been dispersed through the old treaties in the form of amendments. Why this subtle change? Above all, to head off any threat of referenda by avoiding any form of constitutional vocabulary … But lift the lid and look in the toolbox: all the same innovative and effective tools are there, just as they were carefully crafted by the European Convention.” More »
13-12-07 | 14:30 |

France's Moscovici, Holland's Timmermans and Ireland's McCreevy call on the Irish to vote Yes to the Lisbon Treaty in their referendum

Fance’s Pierre Moscovici, the Netherlands’ Frans Timmermans and Ireland’s EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy were urging a Yes vote in next year’s Irish referendum on the upcoming Lisbon Treaty in Dublin yesterday. You might find some of their remarks of interest. Note in particular Commissioner McCreevy’s stricture against exercising “self-government”! More »
06-12-07 | 14:40 |

More Tax Harmonization in Europe

In an unfortunate development, Luxembourg has finally surrendered to demands from other European governments and agreed that online retailers in the tiny duchy should be deputy tax collectors for other European nations. This means that shoppers in countries with high value-added taxes no longer will be able to buy goods and services and benefit from Luxembourg’s 15 percent VAT. This episode is illustrative of the anti-tax competition mentality in Europe. More »
06-12-07 | 14:34 |

Fraud, Mismanagement and Waste – Analysis of the European Court of Auditors Report

The European Union Court of Auditors releases it’s key assessment on how our money is spent by the EU. In a damning indictment of the Brussels institutions, the clear message of the EU’s very own Court of Auditors report is one of fraud, mismanagement and waste. An EU whistleblower vindicated; calamitous mistakes by British ministers that threaten to land farmers with major bills; railway companies receiving CAP grants; and the tale of the pampered sheep. Dr Lee Rotherham for the Bruges Group takes the reader on a whistlestop tour of the latest European Court of Auditors Report. More »
20-11-07 | 10:42 | 1 comment

The Irish government should set up the referendum commission soon, with time and resources to inform citizens about this new EU treaty

The eyes of Europe – maybe even of the world – will be on Ireland when we hold our referendum on this Treaty, for we are likely to be the only one of 27 EU Member States to have a vote on it. The good functioning of the Referendum Commission is vital to Ireland being seen to have a fair and democratic referendum process. More »
22-10-07 | 20:47 | 1 comment

France is in a position of bankruptcy

European Central Bank (ECB) chief Jean-Claude Trichet has said that France’s public finances are in “very great difficulty. In 2007, according to statistics from the European commission, France will be the country spending the most in public expenditure in relation to gross domestic product, not only within the eurozone but among the 27 members of the European Union”, Mr Trichet told Europe 1 radio on Sunday (23 September). On top of that, “the development of France’s public finances has on average been significantly worse than that of other European countries”, he added. More »
24-09-07 | 11:15 | 2 comments

Regarding the Renamed EU Treaty

Dear Dutch Friends,It is truly astonishing for interested outsiders to learn that the Dutch State Council has decided that the proposed new EU Treaty contains no constitutional elements and that therefore there is no need for a referendum on it in the Netherlands. Below is a revised and expanded version of a document our organisation drew up some time ago in consultation with authorites on European and constitutional law. It shows clearly that the Renamed EU Treaty, like the one rejected in the Dutch referendum, would establish a new European Union in the constitutional form of a surpanational European Federation, of which we would all be made real rather than notional citizens for the first time. It is hard to imagine a constitutional proposal that is more radical than that. Perhaps you might find this document useful in the Netherlands debate? If so, please feel free to use it in any way you might wish, without any need for reference to or acknowledgement of its source. It is accompanied by a shorter, more popular document which sets out the various other things the so-called “Reform Treaty” would do, and which you or your colleagues might like to pass on to others in Holland who are concerned about these hugely important matters. With good wishes, Yours faithfullyAnthony CoughlanSecretary More »
17-09-07 | 22:20 |

Life of a European Mandarin – the intrigue behind sparkling EU facades

It sits in the heart of the EU capital with around 23,000 employees from all 27 member states and makes laws that affect almost all aspects of our lives, yet it is rare to get an inside view on what goes on behind the sparkling glass facades of the European Commission. But now one of its own ‘mandarins’ has written an exposé of life as a eurocrat. Derk-Jan Eppink, a Dutch national who worked in the commission for seven years, has written a 400-page book casting a not too flattering light on the machinations of the commission and its most powerful officials. Deeming them “footsoldiers in the battle for integration”, Mr Eppink portrays high-ranked eurocrats as being in constant battle between themselves for one upmanship and in battle with their commissioners to make sure they do not stray from the official message – also known as The Line to Take (LTT). More »
06-09-07 | 13:30 | 1 comment

Eurozone M3 money supply growth surged to 25-year high in July

Eurozone money supply growth surged to a record high in July, indicating that monetary policy tightening is not finished even though the European Central Bank may defer an increase of its key interest rate to 4.25% on September 6th because of the money market turmoil this month. The European Central Bank reported today that the annual rate of growth of M3 – a broad measure of money and credit in the Eurozone, increased to 11.7% in July 2007, from 10.9% in June 2007.1 The three month average of the annual growth rates of M3 over the period May 2007 – July 2007 rose to 11.1%, from 10.6% in the period April 2007 – June 2007. M3 money supply, is an important indicator of future inflation for the ECB. The M3 data series has been calculated back to January 1981. The previous highest annual growth rate was 11.6% in August 1982. The ECB reference value for the three-month average is 4.5%, a level which it considers to be in line with maintaining price stability. More »
28-08-07 | 20:38 | 1 comment

The EU brought Belgium on the edge of the abyss

Belgium currently faces a very serious existential crisis. Some even dare to speak of the possibility of a complete crackdown of the homeland of both, the European Union and NATO. The crisis arose out of the government coalition talks following the June 10th Belgian general election. According to the Belgian Constitution, the two largest linguistic groups, i.e. the Dutch-speaking Flemings (ca. 60% of the population) and the French-speaking Walloons (ca. 40% of the population), the third being the Germanophones (less than 1% of the population), are to be equally represented in the Belgian government. Since the Flemish centre-right cartel list of Christian democrats and Flemish nationalists (member of the European People’s Party) polled 18.51% and the Walloon Reformist Movement (member of the European Liberals, Democrats and Reformists), an electoral alliance of liberals, liberal conservatives and Belgian unity advocates, polled 12.52%, both becoming by far the largest factions in their linguistic groups, they were doomed to form a government coalition together. More »
28-08-07 | 10:49 | 1 comment