Home World EU's mask slips as Maastricht Treaty author admitted 'constraints' on further integration

EU's mask slips as Maastricht Treaty author admitted 'constraints' on further integration


Earlier this month, the European Parliament and member states gave the green light to the joint declaration on the Conference of the Future of Europe, negotiated under the aegis of Portugal’s presidency of the Council of the EU. The proposed declaration, a four-page document presented to the ambassadors of the 27 member states in Brussels, was agreed this month at a meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper), before being discussed by the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents. After a long impasse regarding the holding of this event aimed at EU citizens, the Portuguese presidency came up with a new format.

It was originally scheduled to begin in May 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the different positions taken by the EU institutions.

The conference will now begin in May this year under the joint presidency of Ursula von der Leyen, David Sasssoli and António Costa as President-in-office of the EU Council until the end of June, when he would be replaced by the Prime Minister of Slovenia, which succeeds Portugal as holder of the presidency on July 1.

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a proposal of the European Commission and the European Parliament, announced in 2019 and spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Its objective is to look at the medium to long term future of the EU and what reforms should be made to its policies and institutions.

It is intended that the Conference should involve citizens, including a significant role for young people, civil society, and European institutions as equal partners and last for two years.

As many wonder whether Brussels is headed towards more integration and reforms, Maastricht Treaty author and EU official Jim Cloos admitted that despite wanting to “get closer”, there are constraints on further European integration.

Speaking to journalist Rebecca Kesby in the BBC podcast Witness History in February, Mr Cloos explained: “We have a problem of communication because we are very diverse.

“We have 24 official languages, we have different histories.

“You don’t communicate to a Greek audience in the same way you communicate to a German audience.

“We should do much better.

“But there are certain constraints we have.”

When asked about how European policies have not always translated well locally, the official said: “It’s easy to say we want to be integrated and united.

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“The question is how do you do that while preserving and respecting the identities of other countries?

“It’s not about losing something. It’s about gaining something.”

Mr Cloos is a high-ranking Luxembourger European official of longstanding esteem.

Having taken on a key role in drafting the Maastricht Treaty during the Luxembourgish Presidency of the Council of the EU in 1991, Mr Cloos has an intricate expertise on the bloc’s affairs and the internal functioning of the European institutions.

The Maastricht Treaty is the international agreement that saw what was then the European Economic Community (EEC) evolve into the EU with initially only 12 member states.

It laid down the groundwork for an economic and monetary union with a single currency at its heart and new rules on inflation, debt and interest rate regulations.

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It also greatly increased the powers of the European Commission.

According to Ukip founder Alan Sked, the Treaty was meant to be kept secret from the public.

The emeritus Professor of International History at the London School of Economics (LSE) told Express.co.uk: “When it was in the process of being approved in Brussels, Denmark had to have a referendum on it under its constitution.

“However, the Danes didn’t want to have a referendum without reading it first, so they published the Treaty in Danish. I was invited to go to Copenhagen to make speeches against Maastricht, which I did.

“At the time, I was the leader of the Anti-Federalist league.

“We got a copy of the Danish version and we brought it back to London and translated it into English.”

Professor Sked continued: “We then gave it to The Sunday Times and The Sunday Times published it as a supplement one weekend, so everyone got a copy.”

According to the prominent eurosceptic, that was the first time it was published in English.

The Government didn’t publish an official version until nine months later.


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