Monday, 23 April 2007

The Berlin Declaration – ‘an exercise in self-delusion’

On 23 March 2007, The European Foundation issued the following statement on the Berlin Declaration:

The Berlin Declaration – ‘an exercise in self-delusion’ says leading Eurorealist think tank

On the eve of the EU’s 50th Anniversary, marked by the signing of the Berlin Declaration, the European Foundation – one of the UK’s oldest and most respected Eurorealist think tanks – argues that now is the time to call for the renegotiation of our existing European Treaties in order to ensure that the European Union is beneficial to all countries and peoples involved.

In opposition to the continued post war European integrationist strategy, formulated by the Franco-German axis under the conditions and aspirations of European parliaments in the 1945-57 reconstruction period, the Foundation assures that those objectives for greater stability have in fact now been met with instability, high unemployment, troubling immigration concerns and the undermining of the legislative supremacy of national parliaments. The European Union is not working.

Although political union was part of the original concept, this has not proved possible. The original European objectives have become obsolete, undemocratic and unaccountable. Although the Declaration itself is not binding among Member States, and remains highly contentious, it will hint at the prospect of a “constitution” – possibly in all but name – which has been further complicated by who, if anyone beyond the three Presidents (Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Council, Jose Manuel Barroso of the Commission, and Hans Gert Poettering of the Parliament) will sign the agreement. On Radio 4, President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, who held a conference with the European Foundation last year, described the current predicament of a failure to brief people on the Declaration as “ridiculous.” What is needed is a comprehensive national referendum in each Member State, so that based on democracy and accountability, the nations of Europe can offer a positive alternative to the failed and continuing integration process.

Only by calling for organized referendum, democracy and accountability can nations begin to offer a positive alternative to continued integration. This was proved in the French and Dutch referendums of 2005, when electorates voted against a European constitution. The alternatives to the federalist project would be based on an association of nation-states premised upon a free trade arrangement.

Bill Cash MP, Chairman of the European Foundation, said:
“The Berlin Declaration is an exercise in self-delusion. Old Europe is undemocratic, unaccountable and obsolete. We need a new European Union of associated nation-states which is democratic, stable and fit for purpose in the twenty-first century and engage in the new world.”

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