“Federal Europe now!” says Irish “no to Lisbon” campaign leader

Bit of a surprise to check out an article in Irish Independent by Declan Ganley, the leader of the “No” campaign in the two Lisbon Treaty referendums, and find it a full-throated call for the immediate creation of a federal European state.

The proposition of a fully federal European Union fills many Europeans with deep concerns and I must say that it should. The idea that we would further centralise power to the European Union in its current form should be an anathema to any right-thinking lover of liberty and democracy.

In the words of David Hume, “it is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once,” but a further concentration of central power without accountability would be a very mighty step.

So Europe must now grasp the nettle of major reform, of ‘Treaty change’, to establish a Europe not of the now defunct and near literally bankrupt Lisbon Treaty, but one created ‘by the people for the people’, a Europe bringing us that only form of temporal governance that should ever be acceptable to free peoples, government by consent of the governed.

He does not mean, however, the British notion of a free trade association where everyone gets their own right to break the rules, on the contrary:

1. The position of president of the European Commission and president of the European Council should be merged into one office holder and should be made subject of a popular democratic election to be held on November 11th (Armistice Day) 2013. Voters should be weighted in an ‘electoral college’ type format so that smaller member states voters are not made irrelevant. This president would serve for one six-year term only and would be chairman and chief executive in the same manner as the president of the United States of America.

2. The Commission should become the servants of the Executive arm and be filled by nomination of the democratically elected president, and ratification of a newly created upper house or senate of the European Parliament.

4. The European Parliament should be given the power (along with its upper house) to initiate legislation.

8. The Union should have monopoly of external action both in soft and hard power. 

This is radical stuff – and surprising, although Ganley has always been clear that his anti-Europeanism has been from the democratic rather than the nationalist perspective.

I wonder whether any British Eurosceptics feel the same way?


Published by Anthony Zacharzewski

Anthony Zacharzewski was one of the founders of Demsoc in 2006. Before starting work for Demsoc in 2010, he was a Whitehall civil servant and a local government officer.

2 replies on ““Federal Europe now!” says Irish “no to Lisbon” campaign leader”

  1. These are of course radical thoughts, but in times we are living it is valid to have discussions with even the most radical of thoughts arising. I do not believe it is necessary to copy paste the USA into Europe. In my view a strong intstitutional structure has emerged in recent years, if you look at the President of the European Commission as a prime minister (for he has to be appointed in accordance with the results of the European Parlamentiary elections) and if you look at the President of the European Council as a symbolic president of a republic or with the symbolicism of a monarch you can build on these existing structures and let a federal European state of more democracy emerge. Democratised citizen’s Europe is the way. New Europeanism!

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