23 October, 2011
Heads of government must not miss ''Federal moment''
The European Council has a profound duty to save the European Union. Only a real step towards federal economic government will secure its future. This is the message of the Union of European Federalists.

In a statement today (Sunday) UEF President Andrew Duff said:

''There has seldom been a more critical week in the history of the European Union. At the end of it we will know if the national leaders have the courage and vision to deepen political integration or not.

''The European Council must rise to the occasion and give the eurozone a convergence programme to transform it into a fiscal union backed by solidarity among tax-payers and steered by a federal economic government.

''This new style government must be based on a streamlined executive, now divided incoherently between the European Commission, European Council and Eurogroup.

''Decision making in a fiscal union where redistribution of wealth is the norm cannot be done by unanimity. The new style government needs powers to coerce errant governments – large and small – into fiscal rectitude. Commission decisions should only be able to be blocked by a qualified majority vote of the Council. There must be weighted voting in the EFSF and ESM to reflect the economic disparity between eurozone states. The Commission needs new powers to protect the interests and advance the structural reform of the poorer peripheral members of the eurozone, including the faculty of a treasury.

''There is a silly discussion going on about what needs to be done now and what can be put off till later. The fact is that everything has to be agreed now and executed quickly if market and democratic confidence is to be restored. The convergence menu includes:

- saving Greece within the eurozone,

- recapitalisation of the systemic banks,

- enhancement of the EFSF and ESM and their full integration within the EU system,

- turning Euro Plus Pact into a legislative package of solidarity, stability and competitiveness,

- launching EU project bonds to leverage private investment into enterprises,

- enabling the proper reform of the financial system of the EU by removing the national veto,

- issuing eurobonds (‘stability bonds’) up to 60% of sovereign debt.

''Some of this can be done within the Treaty of Lisbon. But by no means all. So radical treaty change is unavoidable. It is also a very delicate operation, not least in crafting the new relationship in legal and institutional terms between a federal core and an outer circle.

''A group of wise persons should be established this week in order to prepare the way to treaty revision. It should be charged to draft the mandate and suggest a timetable of a new constitutional Convention made up of prime ministers, MEPs, MPs and the Commission.

“The Convention must address the problem of the popular legitimacy of the EU institutions as well as the installation of economic government. It needs to do two other things:

- modify the entry into force provisions so that the new treaty can enter into force before all states have ratified it;

- introduce a new category of associate membership of the EU.

“This is Europe's federal moment. History will condemn us if we miss it. And the EU will sink into global irrelevance and a long economic depression. ”

END


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