Great Britain will follow: a euro-sceptical minority must not stop Europe

Statement by Movimento Federalista Europeo, 24 May 2003

In 1950, while the European Coal and Steel Community was being founded, Jean Monnet, after consulting the British Government, concluded thus: “Great Britain will follow”. In 1957, the Treaties of Rome were signed without Great Britain. In 1991, in Maastricht, in spite of the British Government’s reluctance, the other governments decided to go ahead.

Today, Great Britain is facing the issue of whether to become part of the Monetary Union or not, because previous governments where able to say: “Great Britain will follow”. The members of the European Convention must show the same determination. A majority of the members of the Convention is in favour of a democratic Constitution. This majority must not give in to the pressure of those who want Europe to be weak, divided and non-democratic. If this determination is lacking, the process of enlargement and the European-Atlantic crisis will soon break up the fragile structure of the Community.

The great majority of European citizens are in favour of the transformation of the Commission into a European government responsible to the European Parliament. The European government must have sufficient powers to allow Europe to speak to the world with a single voice, to build peace and face the challenges of globalisation. Those who want to maintain the right of veto want Europe to be weak and divided.

The European Convention is now at a crossroads. A choice is necessary. History has taught us that the occasion can be lost and will never present itself again.

The Philadelphia Convention, in 1787, drew up the Federal Constitution on which the prosperity of the United States of America is still based today.

In 1826, in Panama, the Convention that had been sought for by Simon Bolivar to found the United States of Southern America failed because of the petty disputes of ambitious Heads of State. Today, Southern America is still divided.

The future of Europe is in the hands of the Brussels Convention. If it fails, as the Panama Convention did, it will be responsible before history for having pushed Europe towards an obscure fate.

This statement was adopted by the Movimento Federalista Europeo, Italian section of the UEF and of the MFE, Milan, 24 May 2003.

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