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Building the EU by stealth

by Hugh McDonald

HOW DECEIT is integral to the development of the EU was admitted frankly by Italian prime minister Guiliano Amato in an interview with Barbara Spinelli of La Stampa on 13 July 2000. Since then Amato became vice-president of the convention that drafted the EU constitution. Here are some things he said:

"The project of the European constitution is daring, but to overcome obstacles in politics it is necessary to conceal them. In Europe one needs to act 'as if' - as if what was wanted was little, in order to obtain much, as if states were to remain sovereign to convince them to concede sovereignty. The Commission in Brussels, for example, should act as if it were a technical instrument, in order to be able to treated as a government. And so on, by disguise and subterfuge...

"The sovereignty that is lost at national level does not pass to any new entity. It is entrusted to entities without a face: Nato, the UN and eventually the EU,which is in the vanguard of a world that is changing, pointing to a future of princes without sovereignty.

"The new entity is faceless and those who are in command can neither be pinned down nor elected... The federalists still think that stripping nation states of their sovereignty transfers it to a higher level. This is their mistake. The truth is that shifting sovereign power will make it evaporate, disappear. In it there will no longer be individual identifiable sovereigns. In their place there will be a multitude of authorities at different levels of aggregation, each of which will be at the head of different interests of human beings: levels that possess ambiguous fields of power which they share with other authorities.

"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 was born as a supranational body: it was a sort of unseen atom-bomb, which Schuman and Monnet slipped into the negotiations on the Coal and Steel Community. So also for the Coal and Steel Community itself: a casual mixture of national interests that became communitarian.

"It does not seem opportune to substitute this slow and efficient way which tranquillizes national States at the moment when they are being stripped of their powers with the great institutional jumps so dear to Fischer and the federalists. Fischer says that Monnet is outdated, but he misunderstands Monnet - he was a convinced federalist, but considered it prudent to conceal his federalism under cover of a functional federalism, applied progressively by sectors...

"As to the Commission, for me, the political role of the executive is beyond discussion. I am convinced though that it can exercise it best using the technical powers that the Treaty confers on it as an executive organ. As Delors did in the years of the Commission's period of maximum development between 1986 and 1992. When Delors then wanted to act explicitly as the government of the Union, after 1992, the crisis in Europe was immediate.

"Therefore I prefer to go slowly, to crumble pieces of sovereignty up little by little, avoiding brusque transitions from national to federal power. The proposal to directly elect the president of the Commission seems senseless to me. Here is another Jacobin idea which instead of a plural identity aims at a total "demos". There is already a representative of the communitary "demos", which should be strengthened - the European parliament. European patriotism will be born from the Charter of Rights, which should be the preamble of the European constitution and of the future distribution of responsibilities between organs of the Union. But even the constitution should be built without changes that are too abrupt.

"That is the way I think we will have to behave to build Europe's common policies. Which policies? The locomotive, or heart, of Europe will have to see to he common governance of the economy, as well as to common rules on immigration. It will have to define common rights for legal immigrants: the right to send their children to school, the right to health services, the right of the second generation to be integrated. Then we must create common rules for labour and (police) forces to watch over the common outer boundaries. As you see, the bulding sites are immense."

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This document was last modified by Mick Carty on 2005-02-08 11:48:13.
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