The final report of the so-called Conference on the Future of Europe—which contains 49 proposals that would affect many areas of European life—has been met with broad opposition after it was presented to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, and several EU leaders on Monday, May 9, in Strasbourg.
Von der Leyen expressed strong support for all of the report’s recommendations which, if adopted, would see sweeping reforms made to the bloc’s treaty framework. Chief among these is the liquidation of the so-called unanimity rule—particularly on foreign policy matters—which requires all member states to back a proposal before it’s instituted.
Since its inception one year ago, the Conference on the Future of Europe—an ostensibly broad participatory process to provide a roadmap for the future—has been widely regarded by critics as little more than a thinly-veiled attempt by EU globalists to consolidate its power over the bloc’s decision-making processes. So far, thirteen member states—Denmark, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovenia, Estonia, and Bulgaria —have signed an unofficial letter criticizing the outcome of the year-long process.
To communicate their opposition to the proposed Treaty reforms, representatives from 13 of the bloc’s 27 member states signed a letter which reads:
While we do not exclude any options at this stage, we do not support unconsidered and premature attempts to launch a process towards Treaty change.
We already have a Europe that works. We do not need to rush into institutional reforms in order to deliver results.
This would entail a serious risk of drawing political energy away from the important tasks of finding solutions to the questions which our citizens expect answers to.
One EU diplomat who had been involved with the Conference slammed the entire process, confirming prior assertions made by members of the Identity and Democracy (ID) and the European Conservative and Reformists (ECR) parliamentary groupings. In fact, the ECR had abandoned the entire process last month, arguing that participants in the process were all pro-EU integration and federalization—and that the Conference did not represent the views of average European citizens.
While speaking to Politico, the diplomat said:
The purpose of the Conference was to engage citizens in a broad debate on the future of Europe. Unfortunately throughout the entire process, the European Parliament has instrumentalized the conference to pursue their institutional interests, for example having final say on the budget, the legislative right of initiative, the Spitzenkandidaten process. We have not heard ordinary European citizens demand such institutional changes. They care about concrete political results.
While speaking in the European Parliament’s chamber during the closing ceremony of the conference, Von der Leyen, for her part, argued in favor of reforming the bloc’s existing system of treaties, saying: “We must constantly improve the functioning of our democracy…. The point is, you have told us where you want this Europe to go. And it is now up to us to take the most direct way there, either by using the full limits of what we can do within the Treaties, or, yes, by changing the Treaties if need be.”
Before the Conference’s conclusion, VOX MEP Jorge Buxadé said that the entire process was being carried out by “Brussels oligarchs to impose, with the force of their money, a new treaty against the nations [of Europe] and Europeans.”
While debating various draft proposals put forward during the Conference, Buxadé even accused policy-makers in the European Parliament of betraying the interests of the citizens of their respective nations in favor of global finance capital—going so far as to call policy-makers “sociopaths.”
“Come on, be honest,” Buxadé said. “You don’t give a damn about Europeans. What you want is more power. If it were up to you, there wouldn’t even be national parliaments. You talk about ‘democracy’—but you impose the noose of silence on those who dissent.”
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.