Politics

EU braced for pandemonium as Italian MEP declares: ‘Maastricht has failed!’

European Union 'empire should be disbanded' says expert

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Confidence in the EU’s ability to handle a crisis has been badly damaged by its response to the coronavirus pandemic, a leading think tank has found. A new study published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) says Europeans believe the EU has “missed an opportunity to prove its worth” and “to present a credible narrative of strong European leadership” during the health crisis. In half of the 12 member states surveyed, “most respondents had little confidence in the EU or said their confidence had deteriorated” during the pandemic, with majorities in France (62 percent), Italy (57 percent), Germany (55 percent), Spain (52 percent) and Austria (51 percent) saying the EU project was “broken”.

But “disillusionment with national politics was even higher”, the survey added, with 80 percent of respondents in Italy and Spain, 66 percent in France, 60 percent in Portugal, 55 percent in Poland and 54 percent in Hungary agreeing that their domestic political system was “broken”.

The majority of the 17,231 respondents also told the ECFR that they believe the bloc should cooperate more, with notable exceptions in France and Germany, where just 47 percent and 45 percent respectively said the pandemic showed the need for greater collaboration.

Surveys were carried out online in April and May 2021 in Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Italian MEP Antonio Maria Rinaldi called for a complete overhaul of the European project after the pandemic is over, as he argued the foundation treaty of the EU, the Maastricht Treaty, has failed.

He said: “Maastricht’s Europe has proven it cannot work.

“Either we change or the whole European project fails.

“I do strongly believe that if we change direction intelligently and start taking national sovereignties into account, even Britain could rejoin in the future.

“But not in this Europe.

“The EU motto is ‘united in diversity’, but at the moment it could not be further from the truth.

“They want all member states to follow what has been decided in those rooms in Brussels. It is fantasy.”

The Maastricht Treaty is the international agreement that saw what was then the European Community (EC) evolve into the EU with initially only 12 member states.

It laid down the groundwork for economic and monetary union with a single currency at its heart and new rules on inflation, debt and interest rate regulations.

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The Treaty greatly increased the powers of the European Commission but was widely unpopular and, according to Ukip founder Alan Sked, was even meant to be kept secret from the public.

The emeritus Professor of International History at the London School of Economics (LSE) claimed British citizens were never meant to read it.

He told Express.co.uk: “When it was in the process of being approved in Brussels, Denmark had to have a referendum on it under its constitution.

“However, the Danes didn’t want to have a referendum without reading it first, so they published the Treaty in Danish.

“I was invited to go to Copenhagen to make speeches against Maastricht, which I did.

“At the time, I was the leader of the Anti-Federalist league.

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“We got a copy of the Danish version and we brought it back to London and translated it into English.”

Professor Sked continued: “We then gave it to The Sunday Times.

“The Sunday Times published it as a supplement one weekend, so everyone got a copy.”

According to the prominent eurosceptic, that was the first time it was published in English.

The Government didn’t publish an official version until nine months later.

Prof Sked added: “The Treaty was negotiated in the House of Commons in the meantime by MPs who had never read it.

“And they passed it.”

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