Guy Verhofstadt, in a happy moment
MEPs in Strasbourg have recently received a copy letter from Guy Verhofstadt MEP, setting out his proposals to resolve the euro crisis, and addressed to Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
Mr. Verhofstadt is a bit of a player in Europe. A former Belgian Prime Minister (1999/2008), he is now the leader of the Liberal Group in the parliament. The Liberal Group of course includes our esteemed compatriot Andrew Duff MEP, whose federalist tirade I recently reviewed on this Blog. Verhofstadt’s middle names, according to Wikipedia, are Marie Louise (don’t ask me why). And he is a federalist par excellence.
His letter is too tedious to present in toto, so I thought I’d offer you the highlights, without too much further comment.
First of all he wants a European Monetary Fund operated under Community Rules and subject to majority voting. It’s not clear whether he envisages this just for the euro-zone, or for the whole EU including the UK — but I suspect the latter. Note the majority voting — so that eurosceptic donors can always be outvoted by federalist recipients. As he puts it so frankly “The euro can no longer be a hostage to a fringe eurosceptic faction in a single Member-State”.
He wants “real economic governance at the EU level”, and an EU Finance Minister to set fiscal policy for the EU as a whole.
He states the obvious — that we should recapitalise the European banking system. But he says nothing about how this should be done, or who’s left holding the baby.
He wants a European debt union with common EU bonds. Please note, Deutschland — this leaves you holding the baby.
He wants a Pact for Convergence, Jobs and Growth. Great. But how will that differ from all the other plans and strategies which we already have in place? He wants to use Cohesion and Structural Funds for this purpose — which begs the question, what are they being used for now?
He wants a “single representation” for the Eurozone in international financial forums. So, France, Germany, you no longer get a seat at the top table. Lastly, he wants to ensure democratic legitimacy by giving the European parliament overall control of the process. The European parliament, as he puts it, “represents the heart of the European interest”. You’d need a heart of stone not to dissolve in helpless laughter. Although looking at the way the eurozone is going, you might find that you laughed until you cried.