Guy Verhofstadt discusses 'weaknesses' within the EU
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Mr Verhofstadt, a Belgian MEP and former leader of the EU Brexit steering group, has been criticised by Swedish MEP Charlie Weimers, who argued he would do whatever possible to give more power to Brussels elites.
Mr Verhofstadt is one of the chairs of the Conference on the Future of Europe, which Mr Weimers said is being used to accelerate his aim.
The Sweden Democrats MEP told Express.co.uk the mere fact Mr Verhofstadt had been put in charge of the one-year-long event was the “ultimate proof” it will serve as a trampoline for those who advocate for the creation of a United States of Europe.
He said: “I think it says about everything that Guy Verhofstadt is one of the leading figures of this Conference.
“It’s the ultimate proof that the key goal of this Conference is to transfer more power to Brussels.
“He is the most well-known, the most fanatic advocate of the United States of Europe.
“That’s why I find a historical connection with the European Convention [on the Future of the European Union] 20 years ago with Giscard d’Estaing as the chair then, basically steering that convention the way he wanted to.
“And if you look at what Guy Verhofstadt is saying, he’s already talking about making it easier to recruit people to be part of a political class in Brussels to be above other European citizens.
“To loosen the link between natural democracy and the power in Brussels. That’s him.
“So I’m grateful for colleagues posing questions on his role.”
On Tuesday, Italian League MEP Marco Zanni also raised questions over Mr Verhofstadt’s role at the Conference.
Mr Zanni argued he and his colleagues in the European Parliament will be wary of the Belgian MEP’s agenda in steering the Conference in a direction that could see more integration in the bloc.
Mr Weimers, who together with colleagues from Denmark and Finland asked the Commission to postpone the Conference until after the resolution of the coronavirus pandemic, claimed his request was ignored and deemed “not worthy of consideration”.
The Swedish politician teamed up with Danish People’s Party MEP Peter Kofod and Laura Huhtasaari, True Finns MEP, with a letter to their respective governments and citizens published in the Swedish daily Dagens Industri.
The trio claimed their governments “know that the citizens of their countries do not want to increase EU power further”.
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Lambasting EU chiefs’ plan to push for more integration through the Conference on the Future of Europe, the three MEPs said Stefan Löfven, Mette Fredriksen and Sanna Marin know that the exercise, sold by Brussels as an opportunity to listen to European citizens’ demands, will merely serve as a trampoline for a federalist agenda.
They wrote: “There is a historical parallel to this ‘Conference on the Future of Europe’.
“Twenty years ago, the Convention on the Future of the European Union was launched, which would make the EU ‘more democratic, more transparent and more efficient’.
“Former President Giscard d’Estaing chaired the convention and, without consulting the representatives of the European countries, presented a draft constitution for Europe that buried all traces of intergovernmentalism in the EU treaties.
“This was rejected in referendums, but returned in a form described as the Treaty of Lisbon.
“This too was rejected in a referendum in Ireland but after political promises were made the Irish voted again and the transfer of power was a fact.”
They continued: “One of the heads of government who appointed Giscard d’Estaing was the then Prime Minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt.
“Today the most fanatical and well-known federalist in the European Parliament. Together with an unknown Portuguese and a Croat, he will lead the conference.
“Federalists like Verhofstadt are convinced of the importance of gradually increasing EU power. One way is to deprive the governments of the Member States elected to elect the President of the Commission.
“Common top candidates in the EU election and joint electoral lists in the EU election for parties at EU level are also on the wish list.
“Making EU elections more supranational reduces the link between Member States’ parties and citizens and will be used to legitimise further transfers of power.”
The Conference was launched on May 9, Europe Day, in Strasbourg and will last one year.
Speaking at the opening of the Conference, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged all participants to keep an open mind.
She said: “We must ensure it is not an intellectual policy exercise or a closed political compromise.
“We should be honest that the conference is not a panacea or a solution to every problem.
“And we must listen to all voices – whether critical or complimentary – and ensure that we properly follow up on whatever is agreed.”
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