Guy Verhofstalin, (©Paul Belien), , the Belgian former liberal and Prime Minister has written an extraordinary piece for this week’s European Voice (sub only). The piece, entitled “Forging ‘United States of Europe’ is key to the future,” is a telling contribution to the post Constitutional, post democratic European Union. First he describes the threats as he sees them to a European hegemony, “it is already clear that in four years’ time the world will have four major powers: the US, China, India and Japan”.
The answer to Guy is obvious, a ‘United States of Europe’. What is interesting of course is that what he is proposing betrays a striking resemblance to the Europe that was supposed to be created by the unlamented European Constitution. The key areas in which the EU should become one?
“Social protection and taxation…research and development…transEuropean information networks…single European Area of justice and security…joint armed forces…foreign policy”.
Well I suppose you cannot fault the ambition. His analysis however is rent through with the arrogance of office. Is it reasonable to hear lectures like this from the political leader of a country that flip/flopped its way through the ratification procedure of the European Constitution? One must recall that despite his enormous enthusiasm for the Treaty his country is yet to ratify it, having rejected a referendum on the grounds that they were frightened of the result.
Having had a rejection from the people the response of the euro elite like Verhofstadt is not, “Ok we hear you we will restrain our ambitions”, but an arrogant and blind statement that the people in their wisdom are wrong, “a ‘United States of Europe’ is the only option,” he blithely says.
Rubbish. There are many options, discarding the dead hand of bureaucracy being one. Maybe listening to the democratic voices of the people would be another.
Verhofstadt is both a symptom and a cause of the malaise his article misdiagnoses. He is a man of the past trying to ensnare and disrupt the future