Thursday, November 18, 2010

EU President’s True Feelings on Europe

« EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy wants more power for the European Union.
(Elvis Barukcic/AFP/Getty Images)
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy revealed his true feelings about Europe and Euroskepticism at a speech in Berlin on November 10.
“In every member state, there are people who believe their country can survive alone in the globalized world. It is more than an illusion—it is a lie,” he said in a speech to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. “We have together to fight the danger of a new Euroskepticism. This is no longer the monopoly of a few countries.”
“The biggest enemy of Europe today is fear,” he continued. “Fear leads to egoism, egoism leads to nationalism, and nationalism leads to war.”
Expect the leaders in Europe, who believe euro-federalism is an absolute good, to continue to push the Continent toward closer integration.
“Mr. Van Rompuy’s Berlin speech appears to be the first shot in a new campaign to speed the transfer of sovereignty to Brussels—a transfer that was briefly interrupted by the defeat of the European constitution and the Lisbon Treaty in successive referendums,” wrote Daniel Johnson, editor of Standpoint magazine, in the Daily Mail. “Not since the days of Jacques Delors, the French Commission president in the ’80s, have the Euro-federalists been so bold in setting out their agenda.”
In his speech, Van Rompuy also announced in which area he wants Europe to seek more power. “One cannot maintain a monetary unity without a political union,” he said.
As Andrew Gilligan wrote in the Daily Telegraph, Van Rompuy is pushing for “something he and his supporters call ‘European economic governance’—essentially, a political semi-union giving the EU sweeping new powers to impose economic policy on its members.”
Gilligan continued:
Three weeks ago, almost unnoticed in Britain, a taskforce chaired by Mr. Van Rompuy called for a “fundamental shift” in this direction, with a “wider range” of sanctions, fines and other punishments for countries that do not follow economic prescriptions laid down by Brussels. Ultimately, some suggest, economic governance could mean the harmonization of tax and benefit levels, and forced redistribution of funds from rich to poor EU countries on a scale far greater than now.

Fully fledged economic governance would apply only to members of the euro. But the Van Rompuy taskforce also recommended that “all EU member states,” Britain included, should be subject to “deeper macro-economic surveillance,” including an “enforcement framework” of “corrective” measures “designed to enforce the implementation of remedies” for countries that stepped out of line. One of the members of the taskforce was George Osborne, Britain’s chancellor of the Exchequer.
Those leading Europe are trying to drag more powers to Brussels. Expect them to continue, but also watch for the backlash to grow in the UK. The more powerful the European Union becomes, the more opposition it will have in Britain.