Quotes about the EU, the euro and Europe

• Here you can find a collection of quotes about the EU, the euro and Europe.


“Old ideas from an old man about an old vision of Europe.”

Denis McShane, UK Minister for Europe, on Giscard’s proposal for an EU President, BBC Online, 15-03-2004


“We must go back to teach Europeans to love Europe.”

Jean Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, El Pais, 6-2-2004


“If this Constitution does not have the support of the people of Europe and on reflection is not deemed to signpost a structure of Europe of the twenty-first century, then we simply have to go back to the drawing board.”

Gisela Stuart, UK Labour MP, member of the Convention Praesidium, in her new book


“This will provide an engine, an example that will allow Europe to go faster, further and better.”

French President Jacques Chirac on the breakdown of the Brussels Summit, Financial Times, 14-12-2003


“This is crossing the Rubicon, after which there will be no more sovereign states in Europe with fully-fledged governments and parliaments which represent legitimate interests of their citizens, but only one State will remain. Basic things will be decided by a remote ‘federal government’ in Brussels and, for example, Czech citizens will be only a tiny particle whose voice and influence will be almost zero. … We are against a European superstate.”

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, Mlada Fronta Dnes, 29-9-2003


“We’ve got to be explicit that the road to greater economic success does not lie in this cosy assumption that you can move from a single market through a single currency to harmonising all your taxes and then having a federal fiscal policy and then effectively having a federal State.”

Gordon Brown, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Guardian, 5-11-2003


“An enlarged Union based on Nice is not in the interest of any Member State … This is not a threat. This is a messenger delivering news.”

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Irish Times, 14-11-2003


“I don’t think any of us would want to put our fate in the hands of the big countries now.”

Netherlands Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm, Irish Times, 29-11-2003


“One basic formula for understanding the Community is this: ‘Take five broken empires, add the sixth one later, and make one big neo-colonial empire out of it all.’”

Professor Johan Galtung, Norwegian sociologist, “The European Community, a Superpower in the Making”, 1973, p. 16


“We need a European Constitution. The European Constitution is not the ‘final touch’ of the European structure; it must become its foundation. The European Constitution should prescribe that… we are building a Federation of nation-States… The first part should be based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights proclaimed at the European summit at Nice… If we transform the EU into a Federation of Nation-States, we will enhance the democratic legitimacy… We should not prescribe what the EU should never be allowed to… I believe that the Parliament and the Council of Ministers should be developed into a genuine bicameral parliament.”

Dr Johannes Rau, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, European Parliament, April 4, 2001


“Are we all clear that we want to build something that can aspire to be a world power? In other words, not just a trading bloc but a political entity. Do we realise that our nation states, taken individually, would find it far more difficult to assert their existence and their identity on the world stage.”

Commission President Romano Prodi, European Parliament, February 13, 2001


“Thanks to the euro, our pockets will soon hold solid evidence of a European identity. We need to build on this, and make the euro more than a currency and Europe more than a territory… In the next six months, we will talk a lot about political union, and rightly so. Political union is inseparable from economic union. Stronger growth and Euorpean integration are related issues. In both areas we will take concrete steps forward.”

French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius, The Financial Times, London, July 24, 2000


“We already have a federation. The 11, soon to be 12, member States adopting the euro have already given up part of their sovereignty, monetary sovereignty, and formed a monetary union, and that is the first step towards a federation.”

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Financial Times, July 7, 2000


“We will have to create an avant-garde…. We could have a Union for the enlarged Europe, and a Federation for the avant-garde.”

Former EU Commission President Jacques Delors, Liberation, June 17, 2000


“The last step will then be the completion of integration in a European Federation… such a group of States would conclude a new European framework treaty, the nucleus of a constitution of the Federation. On the basis of this treaty, the Federation would develop its own institutions, establish a government which, within the EU, should speak with one voice… a strong parliament and a directly elected president. Such a driving force would have to be the avant-garde, the driving force for the completion of political integration… This latest stage of European Union… will depend decisively on France and Germany.”

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, speech at Humboldt University, Berlin, May 12, 2000


“To promote the process of European integration, we must improve an institutional mechanism already existing in the European Union, reinforced co-operation, by making it more flexible and effective. This approach allows a few states to move faster and further… We are all aware that this mechanism is vital.”

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, to the French National Asssembly, May 9, 2000


“Common responsibility for the European currency will also engender a common decision-making instance for the European economy. It is unthinkable to have a European central bank but not a common leadership for the European economy. If there is no counterweight to the ECB in European economy policy, then we will be left with the incomplete construction which we have today… However even if the building is not finished it is still true that monetary union is part of a supranational constitution… It is our task for the future to work with the appropriate means for the transfer of traditional elements of national sovereignty to the European level.”

Italian President Carlo Ciampi, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Febuary 8, 2000


“If you don’t want to call it a European army, don’t call it a European army. You can call it ‘Margaret’, you can call it ‘Mary-Anne’, you can find any name, but it is a joint effort for peace-keeping missions - the first time you have a joint, not bilateral, effort at European level.”

EU Commission President Romano Prodi, The Independent, London, Febuary 4, 2000


“We must now face the difficult task of moving towards a single economy, a single political entity .. For the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire we have the opportunity to unite Europe.”

EU Commission President Romano Prodi, European Parliament, October 13, 1999


“It is only natural that the eastern part of the continent will become our preoccupation for years to come, because Germans see this as a matter of historical destiny. The most fundamental priority we have is trying to integrate all of Europe. But for France the underlying issue is all about coming to terms with its loss of influence in the world.”

Herr Immo Stabreit, former German Ambassador to France, International Herald Tribune, September 11-12, 1999


“The euro was not just a bankers’ decison or a technical decision. It was a decision which completely changed the nature of the nation states. The pillars of the nation state are the sword and the currency, and we changed that. The euro decision changed the concept of the nation state and we have to go beyond that.”

EU Commission President Romano Prodi, Financial Times interview, April 9, 1999


“The introduction of the euro is probably the most important integrating step since the beginning of the unification process. It is certain that the times of individual national efforts regarding employment policies, social and tax policies are definitely over. This will require to finally bury some erroneous ideas of national sovereignty… I am convinced our standing in the world regarding foreign trade and international finance policies will sooner or later force a Common Foreign and Security Polic worthy of its name… National sovereignty in foreign and security policy will soon prove itself to be a product of the imagination.”

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on ‘New Foundations for European Integration’, The Hague, January 19, 1999


“Our future begins on January 1 1999. The euro is Europe’s key to the 21st century. The era of solo national fiscal and economic policy is over.”

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, December 31, 1998


“The euro is a sickly premature infant, the result of an over-hasty monetary union.”

German Opposition leader Gerhard Schröder, March 1998


“The euro is far more than a medium of exchange… It is part of the identity of a people. It reflects what they have in common now and in the future.”

European Central Bank Governor Wim Duisenberg, December 31, 1998


“Transforming the European Union into a single State with one army, one constitution and one foreign policy is the critical challenge of the age, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said yesterday.”

The Guardian, London, November 26, 1998


“The single currency is the greatest abandonment of sovereignty since the foundation of the European Community… It is a decision of an essentially political character… We need this united Europe… We must never forget that the euro is an instrument for this project.”

Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, May 1998


“Federalism might make eurosceptics laugh but, with the creation of the euro,the halfway stage would be reached. Four key organisms would have a federal or quasi-federal status: the Central Bank, the Court of Justice, the Commission and the Parliament. Only one institution is missing: a federal government.”

M. Jacques Lang, Foreign Affairs Spokesman, French National Assembly, The Guardian, London, July 22, 1997


“As a monetary union represents a lasting commitment to integration which encroaches on the core area of national sovereignty, the EMU participants must also be prepared to take further steps towards a more comprehensive political union.”

Annual Report of the German Bundesbank 1995


“In Maastricht we laid the foundation-stone for the completion of the European Union. The European Union Treaty introduces a new and decisive stage in the process of European union, which within a few years will lead to the creation of what the founding fathers dreamed of after the last war: the United States of Europe.”

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, April 1992


“There is no example in history of a lasting monetary union that was not linked to one State.”

0tmar Issing, Chief Economist, German Bundesbank, 1991


“A European currency will lead to member-nations transferring their sovereignty over financial and wage policies as well as in monetary affairs… It is an illusion to think that States can hold on to their autonomy over taxation policies.”

Bundesbank President Hans Tietmeyer, 1991


“We argue about fish, about potatoes, about milk, on the periphery. But what is Europe really for? Because the countries of Europe, none of them anything but second-rate powers by themselves, can, if they get together, be a power in the world, an economic power, a power in foreign policy, a power in defence equal to either of the superpowers. We are in the position of the Greek city states: they fought one another and they fell victim to Alexander the Great and then to the Romans. Europe united could still, by not haggling about the size of lorries but by having a single foreign policy, a single defence policy and a single economic policy, be equal to the great superpowers.”

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who initiated the UK’s application to join the EEC, The Listener, London, Febuary 8, 1979


“On the basis of repeated meetings with him and of an attentive observation of his actions, I think that if in his own way W. Hallstein (ed: first President of the European Commission) is a sincere “European”, this is only because he is first of all an ambitious German. For the Europe that he would like to see would contain a framework within which his country could find once again and without cost the respectability and equality of rights that Hitler’s frenzy and defeat caused it to lose; then acquire the overwhelming weight that will follow from its economic capacity; and, finally, achieve a situation in which its quarrels concerning its boundaries and its unification will be assumed by a powerful coalition.”

President Charles de Gaulle, Memoirs of Hope, 1970


“The fusion (of economic functions) would compel nations to fuse their sovereignty into that of a single European State.”

Jean Monnet, founder of the European Movement, April 3, 1952


“I have always found the word ‘Europe’ on the lips of those who wanted something from others which they dared not demand in their own names!”

German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, 1880