Guy Verhofstadt says treaty change plan paves way for EU defence union

Guy Verhofstadt says he wants the return of UK in EU

Guy Verhofstadt has hinted at the possibility of a European army as he welcomed the ratification by MEPs of a radical plan to reform the treaties which bind the bloc together.

The former Belgian Prime Minister, familiar to many as one of the bloc’s highest-profile critics of Brexit following the 2016 referendum, who as co-rapporteur is one of the architects of the document, which was narrowly ratified in Strasbourg today.

If adopted by leaders at next month’s summit of the European Council, it will strip away the right of veto for EU member states in a move which critics claim risks turning them into “vassals”, and creating a “dystopian superstate”.

A jubilant Mr Verhofstadt, who is a member of the liberal Renew voting bloc, shared details of the vote, which saw 291 MEPs back implementing the recommendations of the report, 274 vote no, and 44 abstain.

He commented: “European Parliament proposes radical and ambitious reform of the treaties – ending unanimity and creating a defence union.”

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He commented: “European Parliament proposes radical and ambitious reform of the treaties – ending unanimity and creating a defence union.”

In a press release issued by Renew, he added: “Geopolitical pressures, migration, and war on our doorstep, pandemics, digitisation, questions of enlargement.

“When the world changes, the European Union needs an upgrade.”

Mr Verhofstadt added: “With this report, spelling out in detail where our politics and institutions need reform, Parliament is mapping out the road ahead.

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“No excuses now: The European Council has to start a Convention, so an open debate can lead to concrete improvements.”

Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski of the Group of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) said: “God save the European Union from self-destruction.

“The almost complete abolition of unanimity and the right of veto in 63 cases would lead to a constitutional coup d’état to create a dystopian superstate – instead of the EU and degrade member states to regions.

“All this is happening under the false pretext of preparing for enlargement, but the only significant veto left is the veto against enlargement. This is a Himalaya of hypocrisy.”

He continued: “We must defend the EU treaties and the EU itself against the emergence of a superstate.

“Defend the Christian-inspired Schumanian Europe of sovereign states against the transformation of the EU into a communist superstate along the lines of the Ventotene Manifesto, which dissolves nation states.”

Fellow Polish MEP Professor Ryszard Legutko compared the EU to “Frankenstein’s monster”.

He said: “What the report proposes is to usurp all the essential powers of the EU Member States, reducing the national institutions to ornamental functions. If the reform goes ahead, they will have less power than the German Länder”.

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