Wise Up Journal

“The difference between the original Constitution and the present Lisbon Treaty is one of approach, rather than content … the proposals in the original constitutional treaty are practically unchanged. They have simply been dispersed through old treaties in the form of amendments. Why this subtle change? Above all, to head off any threat of referenda by avoiding any form of constitutional vocabulary … But lift the lid and look in the toolbox: all the same innovative and effective tools are there, just as they were carefully crafted by the European Convention.”
– V.Giscard D’Estaing, former French President and Chairman of the Convention which drew u the EU Constitution, The Independent, London, 30 October 2007



“They decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception. Where they got this perception from is a mystery to me. In order to make our citizens happy, to produce a document that they will never understand! But, there is some truth [in it]. Because if this is the kind of document that the IGC will produce, any Prime Minister – imagine the UK Prime Minister – can go to the Commons and say ‘Look, you see, it’s absolutely unreadable, it’s the typical Brussels treaty, nothing new, no need for a referendum.’ Should you succeed in understanding it at first sight there might be some reason for a referendum, because it would mean that there is something new.”
– Giuliano Amato, former Italian Prime Minister and Vice-Chairman of the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution, recorded by Open Europe, The Centre for European Reform, London, 12 July 2007



“Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly” … “All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way.”
– V.Giscard D’Estaing, Le Monde, 14 June 2007, and Sunday Telegraph, 1 July 2007



” The most striking change ( between the EU Constitution in its older and newer version ) is perhaps that in order to enable some governments to reassure their electorates that the changes will have no constitutional implications, the idea of a new and simpler treaty containing all the provisions governing the Union has now been dropped in favour of a huge series of individual amendments to two existing treaties. Virtual incomprehensibility has thus replaced simplicity as the key approach to EU reform. As for the changes now proposed to be made to the constitutional treaty, most are presentational changes that have no practical effect. They have simply been designed to enable certain heads of government to sell to their people the idea of ratification by parliamentary action rather than by referendum.”
– Dr Garret FitzGerald, former Irish Prime Minister(Taoiseach), Irish Times, 30 June 2007



“The substance of the constitution is preserved. That is a fact.”
– German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Parliament, 27 June 2007



“The good thing is…that all the symbolic elements are gone, and that which really matters – the core – is left.”
– Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Danish Prime Minister, Jyllands-Posten, 25 June 2007



“The substance of what was agreed in 2004 has been retained. What is gone is the term ‘constitution’.”
– Dermot Ahern, Irish Foreign Minister, Daily Mail Ireland, 25 June 2007



“90 per cent of it is still there…These changes haven’t made any dramatic change to the substance of what was agreed back in 2004.”
– Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Irish Independent, 24 June 2007



“The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this treaty is to be unreadable… The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success.”
– Karel de Gucht, Belgian Foreign Minister, Flandreinfo, 23 June 2007



“It is psychological terrorism to suggest the specter of a European superstate.”
– Giorgio Napolitano, President of Italy, Sunday Express, London, 17 June 2007



“The good thing about not calling it a Constitution is that no one can ask for a referendum on it.”
– Giuliano Amato, speech at London School of Econmics, 21 February 2007



“Referendums make the process of approval of European treaties much more complicated and less predictable … I was in favour of a referendum as a prime minister, but it does make our lives with 27 member states in the EU much more difficult. If a referendum had to be held on the creation of the European Community or the introduction of the Euro, do you think these would have passed? … If you have signed a treaty, you should also ratify it. And if you can’t, you should at least contribute to a solution.”
– Commission President Jose M. Barroso, Irish Times, 8 Feb.2007; quoting remarks in Het Financieele Dag and De Volkskrant, Holland; also quoted in EUobserver, 6 February 2007



” It is true that we are experiencing an ever greater, inappropriate centralisation of powers away from the Member States and towards the EU. The German Ministry of Justice has compared the legal acts adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany between 1998 and 2004 with those adopted by the European Union in the same period. Results: 84 percent come from Brussels, with only 16 percent coming originally from Berlin … Against the fundamental principle of the separation of powers, the essential European legislative functions lie with the members of the executive … The figures stated by the German Ministry of Justice make it quite clear. By far the large majority of legislation valid in Germany is adopted by the German Government in the Council of Ministers, and not by the German Parliament … And so the question arises whether Germany can still be referred to unconditionally as a parliamentary democracy at all, because the separation of powers as a fundamental constituting principle of the constitutional order in Germany has been canceled out for large sections of the legislation applying to this country … The proposed draft Constitution does not contain the possibility of restoring individual competencies to the national level as a centralisation brake. Instead, it counts on the same one-way street as before, heading towards ever greater centralisation … Most people have a fundamentally positive attitude to European integration. But at the same time, they have an ever increasing feeling that something is going wrong, that an untransparent, complex, intricate, mammoth institution has evolved, divorced from the factual problems and national traditions, grabbing ever greater competencies and areas of power; that the democratic control mechanisms are failing: in brief, that it cannot go on like this.”
– Former German President Roman Herzog, article on the EU Constitution, jointly written with Lüder Gerken, Welt Am Sonntag, 14 January 2007



“We need a European defence, a European army, not just on paper but a force genuinely capable of operating in the field, including beyond the European borders … The philosophy behind all these proposals – economic, political, military – is always the same. I believe that the citizens’ doubts and uncertainty, as for example reflected in the two referendums, actually constitute a plea for more Europe, a strong Europe, and not for less Europe. And I am also quite clear that I am advocating a more powerful Europe, also a more closely integrated Europe … In short I am advocating a United States of Europe.”
– Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, speech at the London School of Economics, 21 March 2006



“The rejection of the Constitution is a mistake which will have to be corrected ? If the Irish and the Danes can vote Yes in the end, so the French can do it too.”
– V.Giscard d’Estaing, speech at the LondonSchool of Economics, 28 February 2006



“After Nice the forces of political Europe joined others in stoking the fire. The Commission, the Parliament, the federalists, French proponents of integration, the media, all found Nice too ‘intergovernmental’. Together, they imposed the idea that Nice was a disaster, that we urgently needed a new treaty. Soon a ‘new treaty’ wasn’t enough. It had to be a ‘Constitution’, and little did it matter that it was legally inappropriate. When the time came, the result had to be ratified. What tiny national parliament, what people, would then dare to stand in the way of this new meaning of history? The results of the Convention, at first deemed insufficient by maximalists, became the holy word when it was realised that selfish governments might water it down.” At every stage of this craze, from 1996 until 2005, a more reasonable choice could have been made, a calmer rhythm could have been adopted, that would not have deepened the gap between the elites and the population that would have better consolidated the real Europe and spared us the present crisis. But in saying this, I underestimate the religious fervour that has seized the European project. For all those who believed in the various ideologies of the second half of the 20th century, but survived their ruin, the rush into European integration became a substitute ideology.

“They planned urgently to end the nation state. Everything outside this objective was heresy and had to be fought. This was in the spirit of Jean Monnet, the rejection of self and of history, of all common sense. ‘European power’ was a variation, the code name for a counterweight to America that excited France alone for years and towards which the ‘Constitution’ was supposed to offer a magical shortcut. And let us not forget the periodic French incantations for a Franco-German union.

“As the train sped on, these two groups, instead of braking the convoy, kept stoking the locomotive, some to enlarge and others to integrate, deaf to the complaints coming from the carriages. Since we had to ask for confirmation from time to time, the recalcitrant peoples were told they had no choice, that it was for their own good, that all rejection or delay would be a sign of egotism, sovereignty, turning inward, hatred of others, xenophobia, even Le Penism or fascism. But it didn’t work. The passengers unhooked the carriages?”
– Hubert Vedrine, French Foreign Minister 1999-2005, Irish Times, 8 August 2005



“If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘We continue’.”
– Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg Prime Minister and holder of the EU Presidency, Daily Telegraph, 26 May 2005



“We decide on something. We leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t know what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.”
– Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, The Economist, 24 September 2004



“The Constitution is the capstone of a EuropeanFederalState”
– Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian Prime Minister, Financial Times, 21 June 2004



“The Convention (which drafted the EU Constitution) brought together a self-selected group of the European political elite, many of whom have their eyes on a career at a European level, which is dependent on more and more integration and who see national governments and parliaments as an obstacle. Not once in the sixteen months I spent on the Convention did representatives question whether deeper integration is what the people of Europe want, whether it serves their best interests or whether it provides the best basis for a sustainable structure for an expanding Union. The debates focused solely on where we could do more at the European Union level. None of the existing policies were questioned.”
– Gisela Stuart MP, The Making of Europe’s Constitution, Fabian Society, London, 2003.



“Once the European Union acquires legal personality under the new Constitutional Treaty, this will dispel any remaining tendency to see it as just another international organisation and will free it from a constraint that has hitherto frustrated its ability to act on the world stage. As a fully-fledged political entity, the Union will be able to establish a foreign policy that is consistent with its specific values and principles, a policy seeking a more stable, more equitable international order, and it will be able to combine the internal policies of the Member States in a common area of freedom, security and justice …The Constitution will be the constituent act of the Europe of the future, the new, enlarged Europe. Europe, and, a fortiori, each individual MemberState, can only become influential if they are united, and not divided.”
– Carlo Ciampi, President of Italy, address to Conference of European Parliament group presidents, 30 September 2003



“When we built the Euro – and with what a success – when we advance on the European defence, with difficulties but with considerable progress, when we build a European arrest-warrant, when we move towards creating a European prosecutor, we are building something deeply federal, or a true union of states. . . The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union must become a charter of rights that is applicable and effective… I wish this Constitution to be the Constitution of a rebuilt Union, able to reflect its social cohesion, deepen its political unity, express its power externally.”
– M.Pierre Moscovici, French Minister for Europe, Le Monde,28 February 2002



“European monetary union has to be complemented by a political union – that was always the presumption of Europeans including those who made active politics before us. . .What we need to is Europeanise everything to do with economic and financial policy. In this area we need much more, let’s call it co-ordination and co-operation to suit British feelings, than we had before. That hangs together with the success of the Euro.”
– German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, The Times, London, 22 February 2002



“Defence is the hard core of sovereignty. Now we have a single currency, then why should we not have a common defence one day?”
– Spanish Defence Minister Federico Trillo, European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, 19 February 2002



“It (the introduction of the Euro) is not economic at all. It is a completely political step . . .The historical significance of the Euro is to construct a bipolar economy in the world. The two poles are the dollar and the Euro. This is the political meaning of the single European currency. It is a step beyond which there will be others. The Euro is just an antipasto.”
– Commission President Romano Prodi, interview on CNN, 1 January 2002



“The currency union will fall apart if we don’t follow through with the consequences of such a union. I am convinced we will need a common tax system.”
– German Finance Minister Hans Eichel, The Sunday Times, London, 23 December 2001



“We need a European Constitution. The European Constitution is not the ‘final touch’ of the European structure; it must become its foundation. The European Constitution should prescribe that . . .we are building a Federation of Nation-States. . .The first part should be based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights proclaimed at the European summit at Nice. . . If we transform the EU into a Federation of Nation-States, we will enhance the democratic legitimacy. . .We should not prescribe what the EU should never be allowed to . . . I believe that the Parliament and the Council of Ministers should be developed into a genuine bicameral parliament.”
– Dr Johannes Rau, President of the FederalRepublic of Germany, European Parliament, 4 April 2001



“Are we all clear that we want to build something that can aspire to be a world power? In other words, not just a trading bloc but a political entity. Do we realise that our nation states, taken individually, would find it far more difficult to assert their existence and their identity on the world stage.”
– Commission President Romano Prodi, European Parliament, 13 February 2001



“Thanks to the Euro, our pockets will soon hold solid evidence of a European identity. We need to build on this, and make the Euro more than a currency and Europe more than a territory . . . In the next six months, we will talk a lot about political union, and rightly so. Political union is inseparable from economic union. Stronger growth and European integration are related issues. In both areas we will take concrete steps forward.”
– French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius, The Financial Times, London, 24 July 2000



“One must act ‘as if’ in Europe: as if one wanted only very few things, in order to obtain a great deal. As if nations were to remain sovereign, in order to convince them to surrender their sovereignty. The Commission in Brussels, for example, must act as if it were a technical organism, in order to operate like a government … and so on, camouflaging and toning down. The sovereignty lost at national level does not pass to any new subject. It is entrusted to a faceless entity: NATO, the UN and eventually the EU. the Union is the vanguard of this changing world: it indicates a future of Princes without sovereignty. The new entity is faceless and those who are in command can neither be pinned down nor elected …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 as a supra-national organ was born. It was a sort of unseen atom bomb, which Schuman and Monnet slipped into the negotiations on the Coal and Steel Community. That was what the ‘CSC’ itself was: a random, mixture of national egotisms which became communitarian. I don’t think it is a good idea to replace this slow and effective method – which keeps national States free from anxiety while they are being stripped of power – with great institutional leaps…Therefore I prefer to go slowly, to crumble pieces of sovereignty up little by little, avoiding brusque transitions from national to federal power. That is the way I think we will have to build Europe’s common policies…”
– Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, later Vice-President of the EU Constitutional Convention, interview with Barbara Spinelli, La Stampa, 13 July 2000



“We already have a federation. The 11, soon to be 12, member States adopting the euro have already given up part of their sovereignty, monetary sovereignty, and formed a monetary union, and that is the first step towards a federation.”
– German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Financial Times, 7 July 2000



“We will have to create an avant-garde … We could have a Union for the enlarged Europe, and a Federation for the avant-garde.”
– Former EU Commission President Jacques Delors, Liberation, 17 June 2000



“The last step will then be the completion of integration in a European Federation. . . such a group of States would conclude a new European framework treaty, the nucleus of a constitution of the Federation. On the basis of this treaty, the Federation would develop its own institutions, establish a government which, within the EU, should speak with one voice. . . a strong parliament and a directly elected president. Such a driving force would have to be the avant-garde, the driving force for the completion of political integration. . . This latest stage of European Union . . . will depend decisively on France and Germany.”
– German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, speech at Humboldt University Berlin, 12 May 2000



Speaking in Dublin today, Mr McCreevy claimed Ireland would be “the laughing stock of all of Europe” if voters rejected the document because the country had benefited greatly from EU funds.
– Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services



The referendum was “not a time for self-indulgence, for putting the two fingers up at a Member State government or at the EU institutions.”
– Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services



“Issues such as migration; border controls; global warming; and challenges posed by international terrorism could not be met by member states operating alone.”
– Charlie McCreevy, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services


“I think it’s a bit upsetting… to see so many countries running away from giving their people an opportunity”, Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern said on Sunday(21 October), according to the Irish Independent. If you believe in something …why not let your people have a say in it. I think the Irish people should take the opportunity to show the rest of Europe that they believe in the cause, and perhaps others shouldn’t be so afraid of it,” he added.”
– Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, EU Observer, Brussels, 22 October 2007