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Tackling the EU Empire: basic critical facts on EU/Eurozone – a handbook for European Democrats


Basic critical facts on the EU/Eurozone

handbook for Europe’s democrats, whether politically Left, Right or Centre                

“Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organization of empire. We have the dimension of empire.”   –  EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, 2007

Readers are invited to use or adapt this document in whole or in part for their own purposes, including changing its title if desired, and to circulate it to others without any need of reference to or acknowledgement of its source.


  • The EU’s myth of origin
  • EU ideology: supranationalism v. internationalism
  • A spin-off of the Cold War
  • The euro as a response to German reunification
  • The intoxication of Big Powerdom
  • EU expansion from six to 28; “Brexit”
  • The economic basis of the EU
  • The succession of EU treaties: the 1957 Treaty ofRome
  • The 1987 Single European Act (SEA)
  • The 1992 Maastricht Treaty on European Union
  • The 1998 Amsterdam Treaty
  • The 2001 Nice Treaty
  • The 2009 Lisbon Treaty: the EU’s Constitution
  • EU Powers and National Powers
  • The “doctrine of the occupied field”; Subsidiarity
  • More voting power for the Big States under the Lisbon Treaty
  • How the EU is run: the Brussels Commission
  • The Council of Ministers
  • The European Council
  • The European Parliament
  • The Court of Justice (ECJ) as a Constitution-maker
  • The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • The extent of EU laws
  • Is Another Europe, a Social Europe, possible?
  • How the EU is financed
  • Why national politicians surrender powers to the EU
  • The EU’s assault on national democracy
  • EU Justice, “Home Affairs” and Crime; Migration, Schengen
  • The Common Foreign and Security policy: EU militarization
  • The euro: from EU to Eurozone federalism
  • The euro, the bank crisis and the sovereign debt crisis
  • Two treaties for the Eurozone: The Fiscal Compact and the ESM Treaty
  • No European people or demos to provide a basis for an EU democracy
  • How the Eurozone prevents the “PIIGS” countries overcoming the economic crisis
  • The benefits of restoring national currencies
  • Contrast Iceland
  • Tackling the EU Leviathan
  • Democrats on Centre, Left and Right for national independence and democracy
  • Conclusion: Europe’s Future
  • Ireland’s EU membership
  • Abolishing the punt and adopting the euro
  • Ireland’s experience of an independent currency 1993-1999
  • The 2008 bank guarantee and the 2010 Eurozone bailout
  • Reestablishing an independent Irish currency
  • Some political consequences of Ireland’s EU membership
  • An independent democratic future
  • Useful sources of information on the EU
  • Reference Notes
  • An invitation


THE EU’S MYTH OF ORIGIN:  All States and aspiring States have their “myth of origin” – that is, a story, true or false, of how they came into being. The myth of origin of the European Union is that it is essentially a peace project to prevent wars between Germany and France, as if a collective tendency to go to war were somehow genetically inherited.  In reality the EU’s origins lie in war preparations – at the start of the Cold War which followed the end of World War 2 and the possibility of that developing into a “hot war”, a real military conflict between the two victorious post-war superpowers, the USA and USSR.


Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner: Václav Klaus, Cohn-Bendit, Pöttering, Brian Crowley

Excerpts from the meeting between Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, and members of the Conference of the Presidents of the European Parliament, Friday 5 December 2008, Prague Castle:

Daniel Cohn-Bendit MEP: I brought you a flag, which – as we heard – you have everywhere here at the Prague Castle. It is the flag of the European Union, so I will place it here in front of you.

It will be a tough Presidency. The Czech Republic will have to deal with the work directive and climate package. EU climate package represents less than what our fraction would wish for. It will be necessary to hold on to the minimum of that. I am certain that the climate change represents not only a risk, but also a danger for the future development of the planet. My view is based on scientific views and majority approval of the EP and I know you disagree with me. You can believe what you want, I don’t believe, I know that global warming is a reality.

Lisbon Treaty – I don’t care about your opinions on it. I want to know what you are going to do if the Czech Chamber of Deputies and the Senate approve it. Will you respect the will of the representatives of the people? You will have to sign it.

I want you to explain to me what is the level of your friendship with Mr Ganley from Ireland. How can you meet a person whose funding is unclear? You are not supposed to meet him in your function. It is a man whose finances come from problematic sources and he wants to use them to be funding his election campaign into the EP.

President Vaclav Klaus: I must say that nobody has talked to me in such a style and tone for the past 6 years. You are not on the barricades in Paris here. I thought that these manners ended for us 18 years ago but I see I was wrong. I would not dare to ask how the activities of the Greens are funded. If you are concerned about a rational discussion in this half an hour, which we have, please give the floor to someone else, Mr Chairman.

EU Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering: No, we have plenty of time. My colleague will continue, because anyone from the members of the EP can ask you whatever he likes. (to Cohn-Bendit:) Please continue.

President Vaclav Klaus: This is incredible. I have never experienced anything like this before.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Because you have not experienced me…

President Vaclav Klaus: This is incredible.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit: We have always had good talks with President Havel. And what will you tell me about your attitude towards the anti-discrimination law? I will gladly inform you about our funding.

Hans-Gert Pöttering: Brian Crowley, please.

Brian Crowley MEP: I am from Ireland and I am a member of a party in government. All his life my father fought against the British domination. Many of my relatives lost their lives. That is why I dare to say that the Irish wish for the Lisbon Treaty. It was an insult, Mr. President, to me and to the Irish people what you said during your state visit to Ireland. It was an insult that you met Declan Ganley, a man with no elected mandate. This man has not proven the sources from which his campaign was funded. I just want to inform you what the Irish felt. I wish you that you get the programme of your Presidency through and you will get through what European citizens want to see.

President Vaclav Klaus:  Thank you for this experience which I gained from this meeting. I did not think anything like this is possible and have not experienced anything like this for the past 19 years. I thought it was a matter of the past that we live in democracy, but it is post-democracy, really, which rules the EU.

You mentioned the European values. The most important value is freedom and democracy. The citizens of the EU member states are concerned about freedom and democracy, above all. But democracy and freedom are loosing ground in the EU today. It is necessary to strive for them and fight for them.

I would like to emphasize, above all, what most citizens of the Czech Republic feel, that for us the EU membership has no alternative. It was me who submitted the EU application in the year 1996 and who signed the Accession treaty in 2003. But the arrangements within the EU have many alternatives. To take one of them as sacrosanct, untouchable, about which it is not possible to doubt or criticize it, is against the very nature of Europe.

As for the Lisbon Treaty, I would like to mention that it is not ratified in Germany either. The Constitutional Treaty, which was basically the same as the Lisbon Treaty, was refused in referendums in other two countries. If Mr. Crowley speaks of an insult to the Irish people, then I must say that the biggest insult to the Irish people is not to accept the result of the Irish referendum. In Ireland I met somebody who represents a majority in his country. You, Mr. Crowley, represent a view which is in minority in Ireland. That is a tangible result of the referendum.

Brian Crowley MEP: With all respect, Mr. President, you will not tell me what the Irish think. As an Irishman, I know it best.

President Vaclav Klaus: I do not speculate about what the Irish think. I state the only measurable data which were proved by the referendum.

In our country the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified because our parliament has not decided on it yet. It is not the President’s fault. Let’s wait for the decision of both Chambers of the Parliament, that is the current phase of the ratification process in which the President plays no role whatsoever. I cannot sign the Treaty today, it is not on my table, it is up to the parliament to decide about it now. My role will come after the eventual approval of the Treaty in the Parliament. . .

Hans-Gert Pöttering: … In the conclusion – and I want to leave this room in good terms –  I would like to say that it is more than unacceptable, if you compare us, compare us with the Soviet Union. We are all deeply rooted in our countries and our constituencies. We are concerned about freedom and reconciliation in Europe, we are good willing, not naive.

President Vaclav Klaus: I did not compare you with the Soviet Union, I did not mention the word “Soviet Union”. I only said that I have not experienced such an atmosphere, such style of debate in the past 19 years in the Czech Republic, really.

First published on Indymedia.ie

*Myths about the Lisbon Treaty


If you get rid of democracy and the need to consult with people, you can certainly get more laws passed.  But will they be good laws?
Is that more efficient government?  When it comes to law-making it is quality that counts, not quantity. Hitler could issue new laws
ever five minutes, but were they good laws?

The advent of 12 new Member States has not made the negotiation of new EU laws more difficult since they joined the EU.  On the
contrary, a study by the Science-Politique University in Paris calculated that new rules have been adopted a quarter times more
quickly since the enlargement from 15 to 27 Member States in 2004 as compared with the two years before enlargement. The study also showed
that the 15 older Member States block proposed EU laws twice as often as the newcomers.  Professor Helen Wallace of the London School
of Economics has found that the EU institutions are working as well as they ever did despite the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 27
members. She found that "the evidence of practice since May 2004 suggests that the EU's institutional processes and practice have stood up rather robustly to the impact of enlargement." The Nice Treaty voting arrangements thus seem to  be working well.

Lisbon would commit the EU to “promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems and in particular combating climate change”(Art. 191.1 TFEU). This is laudable, but its significance has been “spun” out of all proportion. Note that the action is “at international level”. It does not give the EU new powers internally. Any internal actions on environmental problems would have to be reconciled with the EU’s rules on distorting competition, safeguarding the internal market and sustaining the energy market. Combatting climate change can carry heavy costs. EU targets for carbon dioxide reduction in Ireland announced earlier this year would cost Ireland ¤1000 million a year if implemented, which would average some ¤500 per household. In fact the EU’s carbon reduction targets would impose a heavier relative burden on Ireland than on any other EU country. Also note the absurdity that the new Treaty reference is to combatting climate-change, without qualification. It is not just “man-made” climate change. So the EU is going to take on things affecting climate-change which are not of human origin, like sunspot cycle as well!Myth 3: LISBON MAKES THE EU MORE DEMOCRATIC:
Lisbon provides that if one-third of National Parliaments object to the Commission’s proposal for an EU law, the Commission must reconsider it, but not necessarily abandon it (Protocol on the Application of the Principles of Subsidiarity and Proportionality, Art.7.2). It might review the draft law, or if it considered the objection was not justified, it might ignore it. This right to complain, for that is what it is, is not an increase in the powers of National Parliaments, as it has been widely misrepresented as being, but is symbolic rather of their loss of real power. To say that it is an increase in the power of National Parliaments to “control”, or even to affect, EU legislation is a blatant lie. Lisbon takes away major law-making powers from National Parliaments. It would give power to the EU to legislate in relation to some 32 new policy areas, thereby removing these areas from decision by National Parliaments. It also gives the EU the power to decide many other matters.

Lisbon would increase the power of the European Parliament by giving it many new areas of new EU law which it could propose amendments to, but that does not compensate National Parliaments and the citizens who elect National Parliaments, for their loss of power to decide. The new EU laws would still be PROPOSED exclusively by the non-elected Commission and would then be MADE primarily by the Council of Ministers, mainly on the basis of population-based voting. The EU Parliament can only amend these EU laws if the Commission and Council agree. Ireland would have 12 members out of 750 in the European Parliament under Lisbon,a reductuon from the current 13. When we had 100 out of 600 MPs in the 19th century UK Parliament, the Irish people were not that happy with the laws that were passed there. Yet Westminster was a real Parliament which decided all UK laws. The Irish representatives could propose laws in it, as they cannot do in the European Parliament.

If someone says that it is the National Government which really decides what laws are passed in the Dail or Parliament, because the majority of TDs or MPs belong to the Government party, and the EU Commission is acting like a national government in proposing EU laws, the obvious reply is that National Governments are elected by National Parliaments, who in turn are elected by the national citizens. But the EU “Government”, the Commission, is not elected. It is appointed by the Commission President and the EU Prime Ministers and Presidents on the basis of qualified majority voting.

[15/12/2005] ICTU’S David Begg, Morning Ireland and “racist” comments on immigration

Open Letter from Anthony Coughlan



Ms Aine Lawlor
Morning Ireland,
Dublin 4

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

Dear Aine Lawlor,

I was amused to hear you interview ICTU's David Begg on "Morning Ireland"
today re the Irish Ferries dispute and to hear him expatiating on what he
termed the problems that arise from merging an Irish labour force of 2
million with an East European labour force of 70 million.

The thought crossed my mind that maybe you would suggest that David Begg
was encouraging "racism" and "racist" sentiment by drawing attention to
such problems.  I remember well your putting this suggestion to me when I
tried to draw attention to exactly this situation in an interview with you
on the same programme at the time of the second Nice Treaty referendum in

I sought to point out on that occasion that merging a labour market of 2
million with one of 70 million would lead to significant immigration to
Ireland from the poorer countries of Eastern Europe, that this would
inevitably have a downward effect on Irish workers' wage-rates and working
conditions, and would make it difficult to maintain even the minimum wage
rate for many people working here.

During the Nice referendum I also remember David Begg implying that it was
encouraging "racism" to suggest that it would be difficult to maintain
high-quality wage and working conditions in face of significant
immigration, when he and I spoke together at the Magill Summer School in
Donegal.  Mr Begg and such other Yes-side worthies as Proinsias de Rossa
and Minister for Europe Dick Roche produced ludicrously low estimates at
that time of how many workers would come to this country if we were one of
only a handful of EU States to operate an "open door" policy from Day One
of EU enlargement.  See some of their estimates below. They threw insults
about "racism" and "racist" at anyone who questioned their dogmatic
assurance that no serious problems could arise.

The problems arising from Gama, Irish Ferries, the widespread violation of
our minimum wage laws in the construction and some service trades etc., are
occurring  in a context where Ireland has an economic boom and there are
plenty of jobs available.  Can you imagine  how hard it would be to
maintain Irish workers' wages and standards in the event of an economic

Being unable to prevent downward pressure on Irish workers' wages and
working conditions due to their uncritical embrace of uncontrolled EU
immigration, David Begg and others will now fall back on seeking to
maintain  the Irish minimum wage level, even though many immigrants are
willing to work for less than that. Trying to maintain different national
minimum wage-levels in a 25-Member EU in which there is total free movement
of labour is a bit like trying to enforce one minimum wage rate in Kerry,
but a different one in Limerick next door, and a different one again in
Tipperary and the other Irish counties. One can attempt it with an army of
Labour Inspectors, but widespread evasion is inevitable.

I can imagine the day will come when some attractive Czech and Polish radio
presenters, as articulate as your good self but willing to work for less
money, will appear on RTE's current affairs programmes as a result of the
station being affected by "the bracing winds of competition"  in the labour
market which David Begg and others have helped let Irish workers in for.

In late 2002 I was present at the National Forum in Europe in Dublin Castle
when David Begg told those present that he supported the proposed EU
Constitution. This was before that Constitution had even been signed and
when its final provisions were not yet publicly known.  Mr Begg's
commitment of support was given without any policy discussion on the matter
in  ICTU's affiliated trade unions. If the French had voted Yes to the EU
Constitution last summer and we had had the referendum on it that was
planned for here in October, one can be confident that Mr Begg would have
been urging Irish workers to vote for it, with much fatuous talk about the
"European social model", only for them to regret bitterly doing that later
when it was too late.

I am sending copies of this letter for their information to David Begg,
Cathal Goan, the producer of "Morning Ireland"  and various other trade
union and media people who will remember the shameful way some elements of
the Yes-side behaved  in discussing migration during the 2002 Nice Treaty

Yours sincerely

Anthony Coughlan

P.S. In today's "Irish Independent"(p.14) economics correspondent Brendan
Keenan, writing under the heading "Amazing immigration flow poses
challenge",  states that 66,000 foreigners applied for Personal Public
Service Numbers to work in this State between May and October this year, an
average of 11,000 per month, nearly all of them citizens of the new EU



" There is no reason to believe ... that large numbers of workers will
wish to come" [Minister for Europe Dick Roche, I.T. Letters,  12/7/2002 ]


"Mr. X also repeats the line propagated by the No to Nice campaign that
only four countries are to permit immigration after enlargement. This
statement grossly misrepresents the position of the other member states."
[Dick Roche,   I.T.Letters, Aug/Sept. 2002]


"Ireland will be in precisely the same position as all other member states
on the question of free movement following any enlargement of the
Community." [Dick Roche, as reported in the Irish Times, September 2002)


"It is the view of the Irish Government and a number of other governments
that this idea that there is going to be a huge influx of immigrants is
just  not supported. The evidence is just not there for it. They are not
going to  flood to the west. The same rules are going to apply in all 15
states. There  is no evidence to suggest that the people of the Czech
Republic or Poland  are less anxious to stay in their home as (sic) we are.
[ Dick Roche, transcript of interview with The Irish Catholic, 19/9/2002.]


" It is a deliberate misrepresentation to suggest that tens of thousands
will suddenly descend en masse on Ireland." [Proinsias De Rossa, I.T.
Letters,  20/8/2002 ]


" The expected trickle of immigration to Ireland will on balance benefit the
Irish economy." [P. De Rossa, I.T. Letters,20/8/2002


" I estimate that fewer than 2,000 will choose our distant shores each
year."   [P.De Rossa, I.T. Letters, 20/8/2002 ]


"There is no evidence there would be a problem with free movement of
workers on accession." [Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Dail Eireann,10/9/2002 ]


"Efforts have been made to foment fears that migrants from the new member
states could flock to Ireland. This is not only unpleasant but plainly
wrong." [Brian Cowen, Sunday Business Post, 7/7/2002 ]


"Ireland is already benefiting from the skills and energy of workers from
the applicant states, about 7,000 of whom  received work permits last year.
There is no basis whatever for expecting a huge upsurge  in these numbers."
[Brian Cowen, Sunday Business Post, 7/7/2002 ]


" The second myth is that the Nice Treaty will mean mass immigration from
the new EU member countries in Eastern Europe. This is probably the most
odious of the myths propagated by some in the "No" campaign." [Minister
Willie O'Dea, Sunday Independent,Summer 2002]


[25/09/2005] What leading EU politicians actually say…


(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
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 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
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

- 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

-  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
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
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 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
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 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
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 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
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 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
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 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
monetary union."

- 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
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
Š 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

[24/08/2005] What about the truckers?


by Dr Richard North from EU REFERENDUM  blog, 22 August 2005

Well, if the accountants won't do it, and the farmers are too busy to get on
their tractors and drive to Brussels, how about the truck (or lorry, as we
used to say) drivers?

Having had to weather the increased fuel costs and the insanity of the
working time directive, they are, according to the Transport News Network,
now bitching about foreign truck drivers.

More specifically, they have noted that EU enlargement has created a
"bonanza" for Eastern European lorries on UK Roads. Lorry operators from the
ten accession states joining in May 2004 have doubled their traffic volumes
in the UK, says the Department for Transport.

Of the new EU member states, 31 percent of the traffic from the new member
states is from Poland - up 36 percent in the last year. Czechoslovakia and
Hungary account for 25 percent each - up 23 percent and 87 percent
respectively since Q2 2004. Overall traffic volume from accession states has
increased 3.5 times since 2003.

The figures also confirm that the dwindling share of traffic undertaken by
UK-based international hauliers has stabilised. In 1996, UK hauliers
accounted for half of all international traffic. However, the combination of
growing low cost foreign competition from Eastern Europe, and Sterling's
appreciation in value against the Euro, meant that by 2004 the market share
of UK-based hauliers had fallen to 25 per cent.

Foreign trucks now represent some ten per cent of the maximum weight
vehicles operating on UK roads - there are around 10,000 foreign lorries on
UK roads every day of the week.

The point, of course, is that while UK operators pay through the nose for
road tax and bear some of the highest diesel costs in Europe, none of these
vehicles - or the almost ten percent from outside of the EU - make any
payment to operate on UK roads.

Simon Chapman, Chief Economist of the Freight Transport Association says
"International road haulage is an extremely tough environment for UK
hauliers. No sooner had the problems created by Sterling's exchange rates
begun to abate then lower cost competition from Eastern Europe put further
downward pressure on rates. UK operators cannot operate indefinitely on
wafer thin margins just to keep the wheels of their truck fleets turning."

If we were an independent nation, we could perhaps levy a charge on every
foreign vehicle entering the country - as do some other countries - but this
is regarded as "discriminatory" by the EU and thus prohibited.

In an attempt to level the playing field, the government did attempt to
bring in a lorry road user charging scheme, based on satellite monitoring,
applicable to both domestic and foreign lorries, but this ran into technical
problems and was abandoned, leaving no solution to an obviously unfair

Perhaps, therefore, the lorry drivers can be prevailed to rise up. They
could give lifts to the accountants, and bankers, and could be joined by the
farmers in their tractors, to say nothing of the slaughterhouse owners, the
fishermen, the airline pilots, the junior doctors (who cannot now get
training places because of the working time directive), the electrical and
electronic manufacturers, the garment retailers, chemical manufacturers, the
military, taxpayers, consumersŠ

Come to think of it, it there anyone left?  Why don't we all rise up?

[25/08/2005] Has the Euro GOT a future?

THE TIMES, London, Thursday 25 August 2005

A hard truth: the future of the single currency is now far beyond our Ken

Anatole Kaletsky (Economics Correspondent)

THERE WAS a time when Kenneth Clarke's admission that "the euro has been a
failure" might have dominated the headlines for weeks. It might even have
changed the course of Britain's history. Had Mr Clarke been prescient enough
15 years ago to recognise the fatal flaws in the single currency project,
the Tories might have been spared the humiliation of Black Wednesday and the
suicidal infighting over the Maastricht treaty; they might still be
governing the country.

If the ex-Chancellor had humbly admitted five years ago that he had been
wrong about the euro, he would surely now be the Leader of the Opposition
and the Conservatives might be vying for power with Labour in a hung
parliament. By this week, however, Mr Clarke's public confession about the
failure of the euro was as irrelevant to the future as Macbeth's final
soliloquy comparing himself to "a walking shadow, a poor player who that
struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more".

But while Mr Clarke's regrets about the euro may no longer be of any
interest in Britain, they remind us of something extremely significant about
the wider world beyond. The euro has been enjoying a political honeymoon in
the four years since it was introduced. While the Europe's economic
performance has gone from bad to worse almost since the day when the euro
was launched in January 1999, no respectable politician has ever dared to
blame the euro or criticise the single currency project in any way. This
taboo has now been lifted.

In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi has consciously encouraged an anti-euro movement
designed to blame Italy's problems on Romano Prodi, the man who took Italy
into the single currency, who happens to be his main political opponent in
the forthcoming general elections. In the Netherlands, France and Germany,
the euro has started to be blamed for inflation, economic instability and
unemployment - and while some of these charges may not be intellectually
sustainable, nobody can dispute that the European Central Bank has performed
poorly, certainly in comparison with the US Federal Reserve Board, the Bank
of England, the Bank of Japan or the emasculated German Bundesbank.

Why does all this matter? Because the euro, like any other paper currency,
is just an illusion; its power to command people's lives and motivate effort
depends entirely on a suspension of disbelief. People must not only think
that these elaborately printed but worthless bits of paper will be
exchangeable for valuable goods and services. They must also believe that
their intrinsically worthless paper money will continue to be honoured for
the indefinite future by the whole world. That belief, in turn, rests
ultimately on the faith that the value of paper money will be upheld by a
government with the right and the ability to levy taxes on a wealthy nation.

But if the EU is not going to evolve towards a full-scale political union
who exactly is going to guarantee the value of the euro? And if the
membership of the eurozone is never even going to be equivalent to
membership of the EU, with Britain, Sweden, Denmark and other EU countries
remaining outside, then why should a government, whether it is Italy or
Germany, that finds it inconvenient to use the euro not simply opt out and
re-create its own national currency?

The sudden emergence of questions such as this does not necessarily mean
that the eurozone will fall apart or even that the euro will completely
cease to exist, but it does mean that such possibilities may soon be
seriously considered. And if investors ever start to worry about the
long-term viability of the single currency project, scenarios for the total
collapse of the euro will suddenly come into view.

The most plausible such scenario is Italy withdrawing from the euro, under
pressure from mounting unemployment, a weak economy and imploding public
finances, exactly the same combination of pressures that forced Italy out of
the ERM in 1992. If the possibility of Italian withdrawal were ever taken
seriously by the markets, foreign holders of Italy's E:1,500 billion public
debt would face enormous losses, since the Italian Government would simply
convert its bonds into "new lire" and would legally get away with this

In fact, such are the financial risks of Italian withdrawal to the European
financial system, that the Italian Government may now be in a position to
blackmail the European Central Bank into reducing interest rates and
devaluing the euro simply by threatening to withdraw. Such an easing by the
ECB would actually be a rational response to the present economic problems
throughout the eurozone. But this is where a multinational monetary
institution would face a fatal problem.

If the ECB were seen as capitulating to Italian blackmail, the euro's
survival would face a new and even more serious threat: a collapse of public
confidence in Germany and the Netherlands, where populist politicians would
start blaming their countries' economic problems on the weakness of the ECB.
Right-wing German and Dutch politicians might well start demanding a
stronger currency - and threaten to leave the euro if the ECB continued to
accommodate Italy's "inflationary" demands.

It is possible to imagine a situation where the Germans and Dutch were
demanding a tighter policy to punish Italy while Italians were demanded an
easier policy to keep their economy afloat - with both sides threatening to
leave the euro if their demands were not met. The game would then really be
up for the euro and the ECB.

A break-up of the euro seems highly improbable in the next year or two. But
anybody who still believes that such a break-up is impossible should bear in
mind the lessons from the break-up of the ERM, the sterling, franc and lira
devaluations of the 1960s, the collapse of the dollar-based Bretton Woods
system in the early 1970s and the prewar abandonment of the gold standard.
In confrontations between politics and financial markets, events can move
straight from "impossible" to "inevitable" without ever passing through
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