Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-014"

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"Mr President, today we are remembering Monnet and Spinelli. I have read Monnet’s memoirs with great pleasure, but nowhere found references there in support of the undemocratic, super-centralised EU state heralded by the Constitution. Monnet spoke, for example, of a small, practical Commission and not of an uncontrolled democratic monster with fraud and misappropriation amounting to perhaps DKK 60 billion per year. I sat beside Spinelli in the Committee on Budgets during my first ten years in Parliament and came to have great respect for his consistent, federalist thinking. It was he and the founder of Emanuelle Gasso, who taught me that federalism is not centralism but the idea of democracy at a level higher than that of the national state. Federalism is a sensible form of government in the United States, Canada, Switzerland and Germany. It is also a splendid dream for Europe, but it is a dream that could turn into a nightmare if there were no community of people that felt at home in a federal state. The turn-out at elections to the European Parliament has fallen from 63% to 49% over five elections and will scarcely be more than 40% in June. Eighty-seven per cent of voters took part in the last Danish election. I am not an anti-federalist but a realist. If we make a comparison with the United States, we now have 450 million native Europeans who would have to be removed before a new, common European people could emerge. If there were 87% participation in the elections to the European Parliament and 49% participation in national elections, the federalists would take over from those of us who are working for a Europe of the nations and for a Europe of democracies and diversities. Why not make a deal between federalists and realists, whereby you federalists accept a Europe governed from the national parliaments until such time as participation in elections to the European Parliament exceeds participation in national elections? In return, we should accept the federalist model, or retire, on the day that participation in European Parliament elections makes the national elections less representative of the voters. Might we also agree to have the EU Constitution put to the vote in all the EU countries on the same day. In that way, we should obtain the first common European debate on our common future, and we should be able to see whether federalism could defeat our mission to bring about a Europe of democracies. Let us have a fair fight about the future of Europe. Until then, I prefer the Danish to the EU Constitution."@en1

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