Father of the euro fears EU superstate by the back door

The great European project, The United States of Europe, is right around the corner — be it ‘back door’ or through democratic process.

 

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Otmar Issing believes Germany would be better off staying in the euro Photo: AFP

 

Professor Otmar Issing has warned against handing over control of tax and spending before a democratic political union has been established

The euro’s founding father has warned that Europe’s latest plan for an EMU-wide finance ministry is a dangerous attempt to smuggle through political union, and breaches the basic tenets of modern democracy.

Professor Otmar Issing, the chief architect of monetary union through its early years, said it would be “dangerous” to transfer control over tax and spending to the EU federal level before full political union has been established first on democratic foundations.

Such a quantum leap in the constitutional structure of Europe – effectively the creation of an EU superstate, with a parliament comparable in power to the US Congress – is unthinkable in the current political atmosphere.

It would require referenda across Europe, and a two-thirds majority in both houses of the German parliament. “The chances of political union are close to zero,” he said, speaking at the Ambrosetti forum of world policymakers on Lake Como.

If Europe were to jump the gun and force the pace of integration, this would lead to a rogue plenipotentiary with unbridled powers over sensitive issues of national life. “It is hard to see how it could be given democratic accountability,” he said.

Prof Issing, a towering figure in the pre-EMU Bundesbank and the European Central Bank’s first chief economist, said control of budgets must for now be left to national government and sovereign parliaments that are genuinely answerable to their own peoples. “Political union cannot be obtained in the European Union by the back door. It is a violation of the principle of no taxation without representation, and represents a wrong and dangerous approach,” he said.

Prof Issing was making a clear allusion to the American Revolution and the events that led up to the English Civil War in the 1640s, two great struggles triggered by a monarchical assault on the parliamentary power of the purse. The early democracies of Europe were all rooted in legislative control over spending.

Full article: Father of the euro fears EU superstate by the back door (The Telegraph)

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