The five presidents’ report
That’s the title of a report put out by the European Commission and written by Jean Claude Juncker in close cooperation with Donald Tusk, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Mario Draghi and Martin Schultz, and was prepared at the request of the Summit of euro area leaders of October 2014 and the European Council of December 2014. It is dated 22 June 2015. I’d like to quote you some of its text.
The introduction starts:
The Euro Summit of October 2014 underlines the fact that ‘closer co-ordination of economic policies is essential to ensure the smooth function of the Economic and Monetary Union’.
And goes on to describe the nature of a ‘deep, genuine and fair economic and monetary union’.
The euro is more than just a currency. It is a political and economic project.
Progress must happen on four fronts: first, toward a genuine economic union that ensures each economy has the structural features to prosper within the monetary union. Second towards a financial union that guarantees the integrity of our currency across the monetary union and increases risk-sharing within the private sector. This means completing the banking union and accelerating the capital markets union. Third, towards a fiscal union that delivers both fiscal sustainability and fiscal stabilisation, and finally towards a political union that provides the foundation for all of the above through genuine democratic accountability, legitimacy and institutional strengthening.
There you have it, in a nutshell. The whole of the European project has one aim – to create a single European country.
In practice, this would require member states to accept increasingly joint decision-making on elements of their respective national budgets and economic policies.
In other words, national governments are going to lose the ability to set their own economies and do what the EU tells them!
And how are they going to do this?
Stage 1 (1 July 2015- 30 June 2017) In this first stage the EU institutions and euro area member states would build on existing instruments and make the best possible use of the existing treaties. In a nutshell, this entails … completing the financial union … and enhancing democratic accountability.
Perhaps I don’t know the proper meaning of the word ‘democratic’ – I certainly don’t see anything democratic in the way the EU is run at present.
Stage 2: In this second stage concrete measures of a more far-reaching nature would be agreed to complete EMU’s economic and institutional architecture. … Significant progress towards these standards – and continue adherence to them once they are reached – would be among the conditions or each euro area member state to participate in a shock absorption mechanism for the euro area during this second stage.
I don’t like the sound of that ‘shock absorption mechanism’.
Final stage (at the latest by 2025) At the end of stage 2 … a deep and genuine EMU would provide a stable and prosperous place for all citizens of the EU member states.
In other words, every member of the EU would be locked into the EMU.
This is the choice we are faced with on June 23. There is no question that we could remain in the EU as it is now. There will be no ‘Remain’ because immediately the United Kingdom votes to stay shackled to the European Union the next stage of full European integration will be put in place. The European Union will let the brakes off and go helter-skelter down the path to full financial, fiscal and, yes, political union.
And where will the UK be? Nowhere.