Category Archives: EU NEWS

Summary of EU Treaties on Political Union

Summary of the E.U. Treaties on Political Union

Treaties Establishing E.U. Government

The EU has been evolving politically since the early 1990′s. A series of treaties amended the original E.U. treaties strengthening the EU government thus giving the E.U. a political dimension. These are:

The Maastricht Treaty

In December 1991 E.U. leaders convened the Intergovernmental Conference on Political Union (IGC) at Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Maastricht achieved:

The E.U.’s firm commitment to establish economic and monetary union (EMU) involving a single currency governed by a European Central Bank by 1999.

The first step in adding a political dimension to the E.U.

Allowed the E.U. to forge common foreign and defense policies for the first time.

The Amsterdam Treaty

In 1996, E.U. leaders met and concluded the intergovernmental conference that led to the signing of the Amsterdam Treaty on October 2, 1997 and entered into force on May 1, 1999. The treaty did not accomplish what many had hoped. This treaty was supposed to make many internal changes so that the Union could enlarge to include new members.

The Amsterdam Treaty:

The Amsterdam Treaty created a representative to speak for the Union on foreign policy issues; the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, which acted as a junior foreign minister.

Amended and renumbered the E.U. and E.C. Treaties.
Strengthened Union’s powers in foreign policy and judicial cooperation.

The Nice Treaty

E.U. leaders met and negotiated the Treaty of Nice and signed it on February 26, 2001, as an amendment to the existing treaties. The Nice Treaty overhauled the institutions of the European Union in preparation for a union of twenty-seven Member States rather than fifteen.

The Nice Treaty:

Provided the E.U. with a military structure and staff.

Made changes concerning power sharing within the European institutions as the Union expands.

Capped the number of seats in the European Parliament and the size of the Commission, two of the European Union’s leading institutions.

Prepared the E.U. for enlargement

Added more competencies for the E.U. including employment policy and a common foreign and security policy to cement the Union’s political union.

The Laeken Declaration

On December 14 and 15, 2001, the European Council met in Laeken with the purpose of providing impetus to increase the momentum of integration. They adopted a declaration of their intention to achieve a simpler union, and one that would have more presence in the world.

They initiated a convention run by Federalists Valery Giscard d’Estaing, Giuliano Amato, and Jean-Luc Dehaene to write the Constitution of the Union-which, unlike the US Constitution, would become the final treaty, encompassing all of the previous treaties.

By October of 2002, the convention presented a draft treaty for the Union.

Laeken addressed the transition to euro coins, enlargement, internal market issues, the September 11 attacks, and the Union’s policies on combating terrorism, including their actions in Afghanistan and a declaration of their position in the Middle East. The Laeken Declaration asked: “What is Europe’s role in this changed world? Does Europe not, now that it is finally unified, have a leading role to play in the new world order, that of a power able both to play a stabilizing role worldwide and to point the way ahead for many countries and peoples?” Laeken also provided teeth to the military structure organized at Nice.

The Lisbon Treaty

In 2003, the E.U. drafted its Constitution and in 2004-2005, the E.U. Council approved the European Constitution (Treaty) and the Member States voted on it and rejected it.

The European Council met in Lisbon for a new E.U. reform treaty (instead of a European constitution.) In 2007, E.U. leaders signed the Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force on December 1, 2009. The European Constitution merged into the Lisbon Treaty. The Lisbon Treaty amended previous E.U. treaties and is more modest than the previous constitutional project.

The Lisbon Treaty:

The Charter of Fundamental Rights, which covers freedom and speech and religion, will legally bind 25 of the 27 E.U. Members. Britain and Poland obtained an opt-out.

Made changes to the E.U. institutions- The European Central Bank gained official status of being an E.U. institution along with the Council of Europe.

The euro became the official currency of the Union

Renamed the E.U.’s leading institutions

The High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy created by the Amsterdam Treaty was promoted to Vice President and Foreign Minister of the Union along with other changes to help the 27 member union run smoothly, efficiently and to move it forward politically.

The EU’s Sovereign Debt Crisis exposed the flaws of the previous treaties in the area of Monetary Union. The E.U. made as many possible changes short of a treaty change to correct these issues.

Discussions for a change to the Lisbon Treaty are well on their way and the Spinelli group has written and proposed The Fundamental Law of the European Union to consolidate all of the previous treaties.

EU Politicians Correct Flawed Online News Article

EU Politicians Correct Flawed Online News Article

A Media First: Politicians Correct On-line Article Regarding EU Post

Thanks to the internet, European Union (EU) politicians have done what has never been done before: they went on-line and corrected a news article. EurActiv is a leading online-media network covering EU news and its policy. According to its website, EurActiv provides “accurate and in-depth coverage on European policies.” For any person following European Union news, it is a major news source and a leading European online paper.

On November 12, 2012, EurActiv published an article speculating nominations for the 2014 EU Commission Presidency. The article headlined, “Verhofstadt to be left out of the race for Barroso successor,” stated “the Liberal Congress, held in Dublin from 8 to 10 November, said that even if Verhofstadt is an obvious candidate for Commission president, the party is unable to put forward his candidacy, because Rasmussen, a former Danish Prime minister whose mandate as NATO leader expires in 2014, has ambitions to get the job of Herman Van Rompuy as Council president, EurActiv was told.”

The article declared only one liberal can hold a leading post and Guy Verhofstadt is a prominent liberal EU politician. The news story attracted leading EU politicians, who corrected the facts in the comment section.

Andrew Duff, Member of Parliament to the East of England and President of the Union of European Federalists, made the following statement in the comment section:

“I am not the only European Liberal – present throughout the recent Dublin congress – to be astonished by your conclusion that Guy Verhoftstadt is not likely to be our candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission in 2014…”

Former Dutch politician and MEP, Lousewies va der Laan, is the Vice President of Aliance of Liberals and Democrats and added,” The analysis of MEP Duff is correct. As vice-president I was in all the relevant meetings and your piece is one-sided, incorrect and frankly not worthy of EurActiv. A correction would be appreciated.”

Koen van Ramshorst, adviser to Hans van Baalen MEP commented,” I agree with Lousewies. The article does not reflect the decisions made in Dublin concerning the nomination of an ALDE candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission in 2014.”

Georgi Gotev, EurActiv’s senior editor came onto the thread and rebutted with a blog post, he stated, “Dear Lousewies, dear all, to avoid confusion, see also my blogpost: Verhofstadt Still N.1 Choice to Succeed Barroso.

In print media, politicians and celebrities endured reporter’s errors. Misquotes and omissions of unknown facts were reluctantly accepted as part of the process. Politicians and celebrities were never able to correct those mistakes with any ease. That is, until now thanks to the internet age.

EU Political Union Imminent in Wake of Financial Crisis

EU Political Union Imminent in Wake of Financial Crisis

The European Union adopted the Two Pack, which goes along with the Six Pack, which are rules and regulations that reinforce the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact (SPG). These were created to aid the stability of the euro. Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the EU Parliament in a speech called for an iron cast commitment to political union and continues to advocate for this direction..

Verhofstadt referred to the Council’s agreement on a 100 billion bailout for Spanish banks as another EU firefighting action. He stated, “we will simply continue firefighting as we do now. One fire after the other. Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy. “Verhofstadt explained that the EU must set up a “structural and global solution to the crisis” and build a “real firewall” for the euro. He suggested putting in place the building blocks that are necessary for a systemic answer.

Verhofstadt proposed a banking union – with a deposit guarantee scheme and a single supervisor, which Parliament proposed two years ago and the EU did not adopt. The second element is fiscal union including a redemption fund, which EU leaders decided to institute. Verhofstadt demanded, “we need a political union-including a real economic government.” He added, “All these three elements need to move forward. They need a clear roadmap, a timeline, and more important an iron cast commitment to save the euro.

While Verhofstadt called for these measures, MEP Andrew Duff a Liberal Democrat mirrored Verhofstadt’s goals but offered another set of proposals such as the EU going forward with a core group of members. Liberals within the EU Parliament constitute the majority and the liberals favor political union. German Chancellor Merkel herself who resisted the idea of the EU’s political union is now proposing political unification.

The EU Commission is also on tract for political union. During Barroso’s speech, he called for ” a strong ambition for Europe – an ambition for the structural reforms.” He stated, ” Such a commitment will send a clear signal that the Member States and the EU institutions consider economic and monetary union and the euro as indispensable assets for Europe’s future.” Barroso called for “moving towards a banking union and a fiscal union.”

Barroso also wants to begin discussions “for the joint issuance and mutualisation of national debt in the form of stability bonds. This includes agreement on their pre-conditions, namely much more joint decision-making in all economic and budgetary matters, based on the Green Paper of November 2011. Barroso in line with the liberals stated, “A road-map and a timetable will need to be worked out that also takes into account the need to build the necessary political and democratic momentum.” Barroso added that “more coordination in taxation policy and a much stronger European approach to budgetary matters” will also need to be worked out.

According to Barroso, the Union must ” link the development of the fiscal union with the development of the political union.” With the adoption of the Redemption Fund within the framework of the Two Pack, and leading EU leaders calling for the EU’s political and fiscal union and the issuance of stability bonds as a needed measure to solve the EU’s financial crisis, the EU’s political union is imminent. While EU leaders differ on how the EU will unify, the financial crisis is causing these differences to dissipate. Mr Verhofstadt, the most outspoken proponent on the EU’s financial crisis who is calling for a United States of Europe modeled on the lines of the United States might very well see his proposals come to fruition. The EU crisis has forced the EU into a corner, without many choices if it is to survive with any strength.

EU Strongmen to Aid in Ending Financial Crisis

EU Enlists Strong Men in Drafting of Treaty

The European Union Parliament’s Conference of Presidents deliberately appointed four EU strongmen to negotiate for the EU Parliament on the drafting of the treaty. While the Council invited members of Parliament to the “working group” to concede to the demands of EU Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, who insisted that the EU Parliament be involved in the negotiation process at the EU’s recent December 9 summit. It is a strategic move on the part of the European Union Parliament as the men selected are the EU’s strongest opponents of a federal Europe based on the U.S. model with full political union and the Union offering its own Euro-Bonds in an effort to halt the EU’s financial spiral and prop up the euro. This move on the part of the Parliament beefs up the results of the recent summit, which many feel did not go far enough to solve the EU’s financial crisis.

Each of the strong men are founding members of the Spinelli group of European Union Federalists. Each has served in the EU Parliament for seven years and each is a member of the European Parliaments Committee on Constitutional Affairs, which deals with institutional matters such as the treaties and the Parliaments rules of procedure.

Taking the lead of the EU MEP’s is strongman Guy Verhofstadt, founder of the Spinelli group, former Belgium Prime Minister and President of the ALDE group of liberals and democrats within the EU Parliament who champions more powers for the Commission and full fledged political union. Verhofstadt authored “The United States of Europe: A Manifesto for a New Europe,” “The Financial Crisis: How Europe Can Save the World,” and “The Age of Empires: The Financial Crisis: Three Ways out for Europe.” A potential candidate for the next Commission presidency, Verhofstadt’s ALDE group are currently the most proactive advocates for immediate and radical changes within the Union to combat the financial crisis. In addition, Verhoftsadt named Merkel and Sarkozy the Euro’s biggest threat and unveiled the “Hercules Plan” to the European Parliament which comprised of comprehensive measures to remedy Greece’s financial woes.

Following behind are Elmar Brok of the EPP DE or European People’s Party founded by ardent federalist Wilifred Martins and former Belgian Prime Minster. The EPP’s goals for the EU are similar to the ALDE. Brok was a major contributor to The Constitution Treaty, which was rejected by the French and the Dutch in 2005 and replaced by the Lisbon Treaty. Mr. Brok also was a European Parliament Representative on the Council’s Reflection Group for Maastricht II.

The third and most low key strongman is Roberto Gualtieri of the S&D IT or Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats of Italy. He is the Rapporteur on the setting up of a permanent stability mechanism for the Euro countries. This is not the first time the EU has enlisted the strongmen. This same three-man group helped draft the European External Action Service (EU Foreign Service) file.

The three strongmen work well together. Statistically the EU Parliament comparison page shows that Roberto Gualtieri is in agreement with Mr. Verhostadt on economic and foreign affairs of the Union 78 percent of the time and Mr. Brok is in agreement with Mr. Verhofstadt on these same issues 93 percent of the time. On policy issues the ALDE group often decides on policy outcomes depending on whether it sides with the EPP on most economic issues or with the S&D and Greens on human rights issues. All three big groups (EPP, S&D and ALDE) are in favor of moving towards an ever closer union – with varying ideas of how a federal union might work.

The fourth strongman, Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the Greens/EFA, FR — the French Green Party — was appointed as a substitute member. Daniel Cohn Bendit is a committed federalist and a bit less agreeable on the other issues than the rest of the team. He is a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. As founding member of the Spinelli group he sits side by side with Mr. Verhofstadt on how the EU must solve the crisis. Known as the EU’s Godfather, Spinelli would be very pleased if he were still alive. He served as an MEP who during the 1980′s was a catalyst for getting the Parliament to adopt a draft treaty on European Union, on which the Maastricht treaty was based.

The Council stated, “the delegation is to pay particular attention that the new intergovernmental agreement be a response to the crisis Europe is currently facing.” They stressed that “all possibilities of the existing treaty must be fully exploited and that all key measures must be based on the normal EU procedures.”

While Merkel and Sarkozy contributed to the disappointing results of the December 9, summit and have dominated the headlines and caused the markets to sea saw, there is a good deal more to the workings of the EU than Merkel and Sarkozy and many committed players involved.

The EU’s strong men will take the ball and run with it and are in a position to do so. They will both keep this treaty in line with the Lisbon Treaty and push the envelope as they say to pave the way to word it for the real solutions to the EU’s crisis for which the strong men are well aware. Verhofstadt and Daniel Cohn-Bendit have spoken against Merkel and Sarkozy’s half measures and are not in this position to do what would defy their beliefs or they wouldn’t be strong men. The Parliament enlisted them to beef up the results of the December 9 summit and help the EU resolve its crisis and counter the damage caused by Merkel and Sarkozy.

Merkel and Sarkozy Named Euro’s Biggest Threat

Merkel and Sarkozy Obstacles for Solution to EU Crisis

Erika Grey, Yahoo Contributor Network
Reading from a recent Financial Times article, Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgium Prime Minister and leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the EU Parliament, which is the most outspoken group on the way out of the euro crisis, read to the EU Parliament, “International companies have started preparations for the breakup of the Eurozone.” He stated, “the EU is fast approaching the breaking point of the euro and it is not because of Greece or Italy, but because of the incapacity of the two main players today in European politics – the incapacity of Merkel and Sarkozy to deal with this crisis.” Verhofstadt called German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy obstacles for a solution to the EU crisis.

Verhofstadt a week earlier commented on the EU Commission’s Green Paper on “The feasibility for issuing Stability Bonds” and declared that these bonds would end the crisis. Verhofstadt stated, “Merkel is excluding euro bonds, is resisting a bigger role for the European Central Bank, she is even against the idea of her own wise economists.” Verhofstadt added, “Sarkozy is opposing a real fiscal union. He is opposed to the European Court of Justice having the right to intervene in the budget.”

Verhofstadt continued, “Germany and France in the past have made agreements, which have been beneficial for the Union, but today they form an obstacle to the survival of the Union of today. We have to stand up to this, we have had enough of their half measures, bad compromises and their deals that only calm the markets for 24 hours.”

Verhofstadt is a fierce proponent of a euro bond market as a way to stop the crisis. He advocates federal union – a United States of Europe – modeled after the U.S., with increased powers for the European Commission and a European Collective Redemption Fund proposed by the five German economists in the Green Paper. The Fund will consolidate the debt of the euro countries above the 60 percent mark, combined with bold debt reduction schemes.

In a speech five days earlier, Verhofstadt speaking to the ELDR (European Liberal Democrats) Congress in Palermo stated, “We do not believe in less, but in more Europe. Europe is not the problem. Europe is the solution to the problem. A state can exist without a currency but a currency cannot exist without a state.” He added, “Either we are capable in the next weeks and next months to establish a real federal union or the Euro shall disappear, and the loss of the Euro will be a tragedy. A disaster. A disaster for everyone.

Verhofstadt stated that while all of Europe would feel the effects, the county with the most to loose would be the UK because the City of London is the financial heart of Europe and trades more euros than any other city in the world. Next in line would be Germany. Debunking the geopolitical myth that Germany funds the EU while gaining little from their contributions, Verhofstadt affirmed, “The euro is the engine of their economic growth, the drive of their successful exports. The source for their surplus on their trade balance. In short, the reason for their success.”

Euro Bond Market Will End Euro Crisis

The Issuance of Stability Bonds Will Stop Spiraling Euro Crisis

As the EU debt crisis spirals out of control, the EU Commission on November 23rd issued its Green Paper on the feasibility of issuing Stability Bonds. Commenting on the paper Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the ALDE in the EU Parliament, former Belgian Prime Minster and a fierce proponent of a euro bond market affirmed, “Certainly I think its the only way to solve the euro crisis because all of the half measures that have been taken in the last two years didn’t resolve the crisis. The only way forward, the only solution, is to create a euro bond market.”
Within the last few days Fitch cut Portugal’s credit rating to junk, Moody’s downgraded Hungary’s to junk, the S&P downgraded Belgium down a notch to AA and more countries are rumored to hit the downgrade charts next.

According to Mr. Verhofstadt, “all of this can be neutralized as fast as possible” because an EU bond market “can stop the crisis.” He is not alone in his assumptions.

The EU Commission’s Green Paper view EU wide bonds as “a viable alternative to the U.S. dollar bond market.” They will foster integration of the European sovereign debt market, lower borrowing costs and increase liquidity and budgetary discipline with the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). In addition, they will promote coordinated structural reforms and make capital markets more stable, which will foster the idea of the euro as a global “safe haven.”
The issuance of Eurobonds requires a further move towards a common economic and fiscal policy, which the EU is moving ahead with formalizing.

The aim of Eurobonds is to reduce sovereign debt. They will also prevent speculation against the euro. The prospect of Stability Bonds could potentially alleviate the current sovereign debt crisis, as the high-yield Member States could benefit from the stronger creditworthiness of the low-yield Member States.

The Green Paper proposes that Stability bonds:

* Will make the euro-area financial system more resilient to future adverse shocks and so reinforce financial stability.

* Will help to smooth market volatility and reduce or eliminate the need for costly support and rescue measures for Member States temporarily excluded from market financing.

* Will provide a source of more robust collateral for all banks in the euro area, reducing their vulnerability to deteriorating credit ratings of individual Member States.

* Will create a larger pool of safe and liquid assets. This would help in ensuring that the monetary conditions set by the ECB would pass smoothly and consistently through the sovereign bond market to the borrowing costs of enterprises and households and ultimately into aggregate demand.

* Will lead to lower financing costs for both the public sector and the private sector in the euro area and thereby underpin the longer-term growth potential of the economy.

* Will strengthen the position of the euro as an international reserve currency.

Germany’s “five wise men” of economic experts who advise Angela Merkel helped draft proposals within the Green Paper. If the Commission, the wise men and Mr. Verhofstadt are correct, EU Stability Bonds will not only put a stop to the crisis, but will also set the stage for the Euro to take up the torch from the US as the world’s reserve currency should the US economy fail to recover from its crisis and reduce its deficit, which will further erode the stability of the U.S. dollar.

Timeline of the 28 Nation EU

The EU: European Union History

Europe, devastated by two world wars, directly felt the threat of two atheistic ideologies-communism and fascism.The European political leaders believed that the only way to have peace among nations would be if the nations aligned themselves in economic and political pursuits. Schuman proposed that France and Germany create a Coal and Steel Community, encompassing the two nation’s production. Konrad Adenauer welcomed the idea as a way to prevent war among these two nations. They invited other nations to join as well. Thus began the formation of the 28 member nation EU.

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• On May 9, 1950, the Schuman Declaration led to the first European Union.
• On April 18, 1951, European leaders signed the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) Treaty in Paris.

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The entire Franco-German production of coal and steel resided under a higher authority. Its decisions bound France, Germany, and other member countries. A Council represented the interests of the Member States. The common assembly later became the Court of Justice. In their view, this foundation of a European federation was vital to the preservation of peace. The union would prevent war. The French and German heavy industries urgently needed rebuilding. The ECSC would spur growth. This agreement marked the birth of the European Union. Ratified by the governments of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, the ECSC began functioning in 1952. It represented a revolutionary approach to international relations, as the first international organization with a federal governing body. This led to the drafting of the EURATOM (European Atomic Energy Community) and Common Market Treaties.

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• On March 25, 1957, European founders signed the EURATOM (European Atomic Energy Community) and the Common Market Treaties in Rome on one of its seven hills-Capitoline Hill.

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In 1973, Britain, Denmark, and Ireland joined the Community, bringing the number of Member States to nine.
On January 1, 1981, Greece became the community’s tenth member.
On January 1, 1986, Spain and Portugal became the Community’s next two members, bringing the number of Member States to twelve.
In 1995, Austria, Sweden and Finland became members of the Union bringing the number of Member States to 15.
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In 2004, 10 new countries, the Czech Republic , Estonia , Hungary , Latvia , Lithuania , Poland , Slovakia , and Slovenia , plus the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus joined the Union.
In 2007, Romania and Bulgari followed bringing the number of EU Member States to 27.
In 2013 Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union.

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Barroso Declares EU Will Be Greatest Emerging Power in the World

EU President Sees EU as Preeminent World Power After Crisis

The markets and opinions have highly reacted to the European financial crisis and some have spelled the doom of the Euro and of the EU itself. High-level EU politicians are not seeing it that way. On the contrary, they view the crisis as an opportunity to make the changes that those who run the Union know needs to be made to turn it into the pre-eminent world empire.

According to EU President Manuel Barroso the EU is an empire, and he is not alone in his thinking. Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Union Parliament, and former Belgian Prime Minister wrote “The Age of Empires” in November 2008. This paper refers to the EU as an empire and that the US financial crisis marked the end of the US era and ushered in a multi-polar world and age of empires.

During Barroso’s speech on November 9, 2011, in Berlin, he urged his listeners that, “The bi-polar system of the world before 1989 has been replaced by a multi-polar, more unstable and more unpredictable world.” And “if Europe wants to play its role in this new world, our nation states must realize that they do not have the power or influence to do so alone.”

After making statements that have almost become cliché, such as Europe’s challenges are even greater, their ambition must be stronger, not weaker; to ensure Europe’s continued prosperity the EU needs to match its monetary union with an economic union; the world needs a stronger Europe, more Europe, not less, Mr. Barroso shot a verbal missile when he stated, “Provided there is the political will, the greatest emerging power in the world will be the European Union.”

To accomplish this Barroso intends to to finish the unfinished business of Maastricht – to complete the monetary union with a truly economic union. Barroso has reason for so much confidence, the EU accounts for the world’s largest market, larger than the U.S., In 2007 the U.S. lost its seat as the world’s largest economy to the EU. The Euro, which was launched in 1999 amidst great pessimism, soon became the world’s second reserve currency.

Germany, the EU’s largest and the world’s third-largest economy in 2010, exported more goods and services to the Netherlands (around 15 million inhabitants) than to China, to France than to the US, to Poland than to Russia, to Spain than to Brazil, to Hungary than to India. In the same year, Germany exported almost five times as many goods to the rest of the European Union than it did to the BRICs countries altogether.

Barroso outlined five areas of immediate change. The Commission will place the governance of the Euro area within the Treaty framework. It will step up surveillance for Euro Member States and further co-decision regulation. It will come up with conditions for monitoring national budgetary policies. Thirdly, it will make proposals towards a more consolidated European voice and representation in international institutions such as the IMF. Fourthly, they will present a green paper on Euro stability bonds. Some of them can be implemented within the current Treaty, fully fledged ‘Eurobonds’ will require Treaty change. The fifth element of the economic governance package will be the 2012 Annual Growth Survey, which will set out the priorities for policies towards more growth and jobs in the EU. In addition, Barroso assigned Commissioner Olli Rehn, the task of Commission Vice President for economic and monetary affairs and the Euro.

Finally Barroso urged his listeners to choose the path of strength over weakness. Unity over fragmentation. He stated that this is not a sprint but a marathon. While Barroso sees the potential for the EU to become the greatest emerging power in the world, he knows it will take some work to get there.

For the text of the full speech see:

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/11/738&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

Mario Monti – Right Man, Right Place, Right Time for New Europe

Italy’s New Prime Minister a Key Appointment in European Financial Crisis

With the Italian crisis that rocked the EU on November 9 and plummeted the Dow by 389 points, came the resignation of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi: the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy who served for three terms. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a New Europe. EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy gave a speech referring to the EU as a phoenix, which must continue on its path. EU Commission President Manuel Barroso stated that Europe is in a defining moment and must unify or risk fragmentation. These speeches summarized discussions and proposals that have been taking place within the EU Parliament and Commission since the onset of the Greek crisis when Fitch first downgraded Greece’s credit rating in December of 2009.

With each stage of the crisis, the need for action has become more urgent and the proposals far-reaching. In now steps into Italy Mario Monti, an economist and former two term EU Commission official. In his first term he was responsible for “Internal Market, Financial Services and Financial Integration, Customs, and Taxation.” In his next term he oversaw competition and initiated anti-monopoly proceedings against Microsoft. In December 2009, Monti became a member of the reflection group for the future of Europe. In this forum, he advocated an economic government for Europe and a European Monetary fund. In 2010, Monti was asked by Commission President Manuel Barroso to produce a “Report on the Future of the Single Market,” proposing further measures towards the completion of the EU Single Market.

What is key is that in 2010 Monti helped found the Spinelli group. This crowd helps influence the EU to evolve along federalist lines, which is exactly the direction the New Europe is now heading. Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE group of European Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament, former Belgium Prime Minister and leading federalist who issues proposals for a European Union modeled along the lines of the United States, formed the Spinelli group on September 15, 2010. Mario Monti is one of its founders. Alterio Spinelli is considered the EU’s godfather. He founded the European Federalist Movement in Milan in 1943.

Conspiracy theorists’ websites and blogs are igniting with the news that Monti is a member of the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission, but they miss the mark. Monti is a committed federalist, which means that Italy will now be a key player in the evolution of the New Europe that is rising from the ashes of Europe’s financial crisis. Monti will direct Italy in step with federalist ideology and in line with its blueprint. Monti’s appointment is a big win for the federalist movers and shakers. Their vision of the EU is one of a non-imperial empire with rules and regulations decided from Brussels similar to how Washington writes the rules for the U.S. Member nations will have no more power than U.S. states for the sake of being part of a powerful union.

Federalists argue that the financial crisis resulted from the pre-existing problems of the member nations and because the current EU does not have the power to regulate economic policy in those nations. While these changes are currently being made they have not been far-reaching enough for the federalists. This group also advocates the issuance of European Union wide bonds because they will act like U.S. treasuries by allowing the EU to borrow at lower interest rates to help reduce its debt.

With the appointment of Mario Monti, the EU will be well on its way to making the extensive changes along federalist lines for the new Europe. A major geopolitical shift is about to take place and as Mr. Van Rompuy pointed out, the EU phoenix will emerge. Mario Monti’s appointment most likely is more strategic in this evolution than the news is reporting.

In Midst of Crisis Van Rompuy Refers to EU as a Phoenix

Van Rompuy Utters Bold Analogy of EU’s Position and Path in World

Herman Van Rompuy, the soft spoken, low-key President of the European Council, dubbed upon his appointment as the “accidental president,” uttered one of the boldest analogies of the EU in a speech yesterday at the University of Zurich by referring to the EU as a Phoenix. Van Rompuy in doing so provided listeners with a picture of the EU’s powerful position and path. The Phoenix, a mythological bird, is said to burst into flames when it died. It then rises from its own ashes with new life and strength.

Quoting Churchill who in that very same auditorium delivered a speech in September of 1946, pleading, “Let Europe Arise,” Van Rompuy stated, “And Europe did arise from the ashes of the world war. Today, some problems notwithstanding, Europe is by and large the most prosperous, the most secure and the freest continent on earth.”

Mr. Van Rompuy attributes the EU member states, which have joined the EU since 1950, including the admission of the Eastern European nations and their taking joint decisions together and helping to consolidate democracy throughout the continent, as contributing a major contribution to the rising of the EU Phoenix.

Van Rompuy states that the current financial crisis is a matter of member countries’ weaknesses coming to the surface resulting from their “ill managed past.” The EU not only takes responsibility for itself but for the world economy, which is interdependent.

Herman Van Rompuy acknowledged that the EU’s most serious political challenge is markets “moving at the speed of a click of the mouse” against political processes that do not work so speedily within the EU institutional structure. Van Rompuy stated that the EU is now putting in “place rules and procedures that will both anticipate problems in the future and enable a more speedy and flexible reaction.” Herman Van Rompuy states that the EU has “a real debate about the way forward.” Their duty is to guarantee financial stability of the Euro area and also stimulate economic growth. Van Rompuy affirmed, “The European Phoenix, arisen out of the ashes of 1945, needs growth to stay on course.”

Herman Van Rompuy outlines three trends that affect the EU. The high growth rates of the five BRIC countries, which the EU will focus its energies to engage their growth and create opportunities for itself. In addition, each of these countries are a strategic partner that can work with the EU on political issues. Second, the accession of Russia to the WTO. The third trend he cites is the strategic shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific and to deepen economic relations within that area.

“Power and influence in the world are more and more a matter of economy, and less of weapons.” Power no longer only comes “from the barrel of a gun,” meaning that the EU will develop its trade relations with these countries and in doing so will diffuse any political tensions and build its economy. The fourth factor is the Arab Spring. The EU’s credibility will be determined by how it handles its neighbors from the Arab, Eastern bloc and Balkan nations.

Van Rompuy affirmed that while the EU is not going backwards their progress is limited, their “slice of the cake is shrinking.” The EU is determined to live up to the challenges and being the world’s largest market it has substantial cards to play. According to Van Rompuy, trade is the EU’s smartest form of power, trade will engage the EU deeper into parts of the world that have the highest growth potential.

Herman Van Rompuy points out that the Euro is the world’s second reserve currency and its health directly effects the world economy and while the EU works on solving its crisis he also calls on the US to stabilize its public debt situation, and for China to stimulate its domestic demand and make its exchange rate more flexible.

For the full text of Van Rompuy’s speech see:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/125983.pdf