Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt has been warned about his demand for an EU superstate
The Belgian MEP, who will lead the European Parliament’s role in Britain’s divorce talks, this week released a report on the EU’s future in which he set out a vision of deeper integration between member states.
Mr Verhofstadt wants the European Commission to become a “genuine government” with the EU getting its own finance minister and the ability to levy taxes, while he repeated his demand for the bloc to bolster its defence cooperation – seen as the first step towards an EU army.
But in a stinging rebuke to Mr Verhofstadt’s call for “more Europe”, Conservative MEP Ashley Fox warned the arch-federalist politician pushing for a superstate puts at risk the livelihood of the EU.
Offering “friendly advice” – with it in the UK’s “interests for the EU to succeed” after Brexit – Mr Fox claimed the bloc must retain a “strong and has democratic legitimacy” but Mr Verhofstadt “seeks to undermine this with his federalist vision of Europe”.
In a comment piece for the BrexitCentral website, Mr Fox said: “There can be no doubt that the EU is facing deep and multiple crises, including losing one of its biggest member states.
“However, there are many in the European Parliament who are still not listening to the alarm bells.
“The EU is in desperate need of reform. It has become too centralised and is increasingly out of touch with its citizens. It does too much and does it badly.
People are questioning what the EU does and whether it should be doing it at all.
Tory MEP Ashley Fox
Mr Fox highlighted the Brexit vote and the rejection of pro-EU positions in recent national referendums in Hungary and the Netherlands as “clear signs that there is a disconnect between the EU and its citizens”.
He said: “People are questioning what the EU does and whether it should be doing it at all.”
The MEP added: “Mr Verhofstadt’s vision for the future of the EU is flawed and not representative of the citizens of Europe.”
Juncker's many signs of affection
Wed, January 18, 2017
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Jean-Claude Juncker is a Luxembourgish politician. Since 2014, Juncker has been President of the European Commission, which is the European Union Executive Branch.
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The Tory MEP linked the Brexit vote to the UK public’s belief “the EU does too much” as he urged Brussels to not take any more power from member states.
But he praised Mr Verhofstadt’s call for the European Parliament to end its practice of decamping from Brussels to Strasbourg once a month.
The 275-mile monthly trip for MEPs and officials – dubbed a ‘travelling circus’ – is estimated to cost EU taxpayers’ £150m per year.
Mr Verhofstadt today claimed the EU must be one of the "leaders of the free world" after meeting with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.