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
- 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
"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 carriagesŠ"
- Hubert Vedrine, French Foreign Minister 1999-2005, Irish Times, 8 August
"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
"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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Gisela Stuart MP, The Making of Europe's Constitution, Fabian Society,
"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
"An enlarged Union based on Nice is not in the interest of any Member State
Š 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
"There is no Europe without European defence and there is no European
defence without Britain."
- French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, Financial Times, 16
"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 Š We are against a European
- 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
- French President Jacques Chirac, speech at Creil, 30 September 2002
"We need to develop the instinct of acting together. The first reflex is
- 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 Š The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union must
become a charter of rights that is applicable and effective Š 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 ŠWhat 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 Š 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
- 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
- German Finance Minister Hans Eichel, The Sunday Times, London, 23
"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 Š Such a text would unite the Europeans by enabling them, through
their solemn approval, to identify with a project Š What can we do so that
Europe carries greater weight on the international stage? Š 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
- French President Jacques Chirac, address to French Ambassadors, 27
"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
"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 Š we are building a
Federation of Nation-States Š The first part should be based on the Charter
of Fundamental Rights proclaimed at the European summit at Nice Š If we
transform the EU into a Federation of Nation-States, we will enhance the
democratic legitimacy Š We should not prescribe what the EU should never be
allowed to do Š 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 Š 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 Š Therefore I prefer 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
"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
- German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Financial Times, 7 July 2000,
"We will have to create an avant-garde Š 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 Š 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 Š 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 Š This latest stage of European Union Š 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 Š 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 Š However even if the building is not finished it is still
true that monetary union is part of a supranational constitution Š 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 Š 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 Š 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 Š 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
- German Opposition leader Gerhard Schröder, March 1998
"The euro is far more than a medium of exchange Š It is part of the
identity of a people. It reflects what they have in common now and in the
- 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 Š It is a decision of an essentially
political character Š We need this united Europe Š 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
- 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
- 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
Š It is an illusion to think that States can hold on to their autonomy over
- 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
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