December 12, 2012
The interview was published by The Epoch Times Romania
Date: 29.11.2012 Author: Matei Dobrovie
Translation (powered by Google Translate). The article in Romanian can be found HERE
At the European People’s Party summit in Bucharest several European leaders of this political family reiterated that Europe has no other way forward than more integration. More Europe. Basescu showed himself several times the support for the United States of Europe.
The idea of a political union, without which the current monetary union can not function, is generally circulated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The banking and fiscal union pact backed by Merkel goes in this direction, European countries will be accountable to European control for an important part of their sovereignty, notably by European control over national budgets. Discussion of political union remained rather vague, not wanting to alarm German voters who will vote in 2013 or the Constitutional Court.
But German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle took the initiative and convened a think tank on Europe, called “the Future Group”. Consisting of the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Portugal and Luxembourg, he made several recommendations to turn the EU into a federation of European states as Hopes EC President José Barroso in his speech about the state of the Union.
One of these recommendations concern the direct election of the President of the European Commission, which thus legitimized could act as a real chief executive. European Council would be replaced by a chamber member states, which be the second chamber to the European Parliament. This would reduce the democratic deficit of the EU, the Commission could act as a genuine government and would not have to fear that a State in the Council could block everything. The proposed draft of the foreign ministers and led by Westerwelle insisted on replacing the unanimous decision by qualified majority in some areas.
“The transition to a federal Europe is more important than ever. The last two years we witness a pathetic show a proliferation of crisis summits, which have taken only half measures. Greece is a victim of these delays, the policy “too little, too late”, says Daniel Cohn Bendit, one of the best known advocates of federalism in Europe, in an interview with The Epoch Times Romania.
These ideas do not sound bad, but as a recent summit failed to approve the budget showed, conflicts of vision and interests of Member States are increasing. How to talk about more integration and a federal state when Britain asked the EU budget decreases by a billion and would rather work to leave the EU? How to transfer new powers to Brussels when the EU imposed austerity arouses discontent among voters?
In the budget battle many countries threatened to veto the deal if their interests are affected and ultimately failed to reach a compromise showing that the Union is light years away from the goals of Federalists. Divisions between net contributors and net beneficiaries, between North and South is widening. Even Angela Merkel does not know how to sell domestically new aid for Greece, and polls show that confidence in her government is falling.
“The transition to a federal Europe is more important than ever. The last two years we witness a pathetic show a proliferation of crisis summits, which are taken only half measures. Greece is a victim of these delays, the policy “too little, too late”, say Daniel Cohn Bendit, one of the best known advocates of federalism Europe, in an interview with The Epoch Times. According to the MEP, the establishment of a European eurozone government is inevitable. It should deal with economic, budget and fiscal policy and be able to implement the rules, regardless of national interests.
Even if the EU budget negotiations failed recently, Cohn Bendit believes that “a real federal European budget, own resources and authority to oversee federal debt crisis cannot be avoided.” In his opinion, the U.S. is a good example because it has funding problems, even if debt is bigger than all European countries together. The MEP calls for renunciation of national selfishness and creating own resources at European level by introducing much-discussed financial transaction tax and reducing contributions by Member States, leading to a more independent European bodies.
However Cohn Bendit not declare the American federalist model nor the German one as the one to follow. “Because history and its cultural and linguistic diversity, Europe has to invent its own model,” he says.
A European federal state would, in his view, to be headed by an executive appointed by European Commission President directly elected by the EP or by citizens. The European Commission therefore has the full right for lawmaking and the European Parliament could exercise democratic control over them, as in any national parliamentary system. A big change is that European institutions should respond to citizens, not to the Member States.
“Today Europeans tend to blame Europe for crisis and austerity policies. But in reality the EU has not made these decisions, but Member States. National elites are guilty, as they are defending national interests and are not able to find long-term solutions, “concludes Cohn Bendit.
In turn, and Pietro De Matteis, co-chairman of the European Federalist Party (EFP) believes that only through greater integration we can tackle the major challenges of the 21st century, the economic crisis, international security and climate change.
“We, the federalists, believe that Europe needs a stronger democratic basis. A functioning democracy at European level requires, on the one hand, truly European parties, and, on the other, active European citizens who are in the condition to hold accountable those in power” explains Pietro De Matteis in an interview The Epoch Times.
His party participates in the European elections, as well as the national one with a programme to encourage a European debate. The EFP has already opened branches in countries such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and the UK. According to De Matteis, European integration can not move forward without explaining to people how decision taken in Brussels decisions affect their lives. To bridge the gap between European elites and the people in Member States, citizens must be able to control European institutions by voting.
“The current economic crisis is primarily a crisis of confidence in Europe’s future and in our ability to remain competitive in this century. To invest in Greek bonds, Spanish, Italian or German, involves the confidence that each government will be able to redeem them in 1, 5 or 10 years. If we build confidence in the future, the crisis will end. If we establish the long-term goal of building a federal Europe and establish the necessary mechanisms, we regain confidence in our future, “says De Matteis.
If the EU budget negotiations fail, European Federalists may considers necessary to create a federal budget for the euro area because “it would allow a more efficient allocation of fewer resources and help reduce costs in areas such as policy defense industrial policy and diplomacy “.
The Federalist Party advocates the principle of subsidiarity and to allocate sufficient resources at local, regional and European level, so that decisions are taken at the level closest to the citizens.
The Federalists also argue for the transformation of the European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund and to transformthe European Central Bank into a lender of last resort like the U.S. Federal Reserve. They also advocate for the full right and power of the regulation of the EP through codecision on an equal footing with the Council of Ministers (or future Member States of the room) in each policy area.
So far, these ideas remain utopian if we consider the profound differences existing: just one example, Germany remains opposed to Eurobonds and the Bundesbank oppose to transform the ECB into lender of last resort, which has already taken place. And until a federal budget in in place, now EU leaders encounter great difficulties in adopting new EU budget.
“Today pro-europeans are trying to do something paradoxical: they want to make the leap forward in the depressed and difficult moment in which is the EU. This is clearly very counterintuitive, because any ordinary citizen thinks that when something works well, it is better to be more cautious, “he wrote in an article Bernd Ulrich, editor of the German weekly Die Zeit. He believes that pro-europeans are trying to give the impression of the lack of an alternative to more integration concept.
As for Romania, although our country has declared a supporter of European federalism, she was invited to participate in the Future Group, one representative of Poland – which says a lot about the importance of non euro countries in future EU/federal institutional constellation.
The article in Romanian can be found HEREAuthor : europeanfederalistparty