The European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee adopted a resolution on Oct. 25 with a report carrying far-reaching treaty changes drafted by the so-called Verhofstadt Group, a team led by the Belgian Eurofederalist Guy Verhofstadt.
The plenary vote is planned for Nov. 22 and will formally trigger the procedure to amend the existing treaties.
Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, who was a member of this Verhofstadt Group until July, explains in this exclusive interview with Remix News why this latest attempt to transform the European Union into an undemocratic superstate, which he describes as a silent putsch with communist roots, has a real chance to succeed if it is not stopped fast.
There have been elections in Poland, and we know that a new government will probably be formed by the Civic Coalition together with the Third Way and the New Left. Does this mean that Poland will now support the far-reaching changes to the EU treaties proposed by the left and center-right in the European Parliament?
I prefer to speak in the conditional because as of today, the formation of a government by the opposition is likely, but not a foregone conclusion. However, if this does happen, it is indeed true that Poland can no longer be expected to block these changes in the way the EU functions.
The Polish opposition, at the stage of parliamentary work, supported these changes, both through the votes of the representatives of their political groups in the team of co-rapporteurs of the report, which we colloquially call the Verhofstadt Group and which I left in July in protest, and with their votes in the Constitutional Affairs Committee, and also in the plenary voting.
As for the plenary votes, in the Report on Parliamentarianism, European Citizenship, and Democracy, where there was an amendment to eliminate the Member States’ veto right, the opposition voted to eliminate this right of veto.
During the vote in the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs on Oct. 25, the representatives of these Polish parties expressed their support in principle for this plan to create a superstate and reduce the role of the member states to that of German-style “Länder.”
So, it is almost certain that if these three parties form a government headed by Donald Tusk in Poland, they will support these changes.
Assuming this is what is going to happen, can these changes be blocked by smaller countries such as Hungary and Slovakia, whose new prime minister, Robert Fico, has expressed his fierce opposition to the elimination of the veto right?
We have to consider the experience with the Constitutional Treaty. There were many resisters and eventually, under pressure and blackmail, even the most resistant, Britain, agreed. This treaty was only blocked by two referendums, in the Netherlands and France. It is only then that this treaty was abandoned. However, it was eventually adopted in a truncated form and rebadged as the Lisbon Treaty. So, the history of the Constitutional Treaty proves that even the most resistant give way and yield under pressure over time.
Here, the pressure is very great, and the tools the European Commission has at its disposal are much more powerful than in the days of trying to push through the Constitutional Treaty. Back then, the Commission could not block funds, as it does today. It could not put a member state up against a wall on contrived charges concerning the so-called rule of law, for example.
The arsenal of means of extortion and blackmail is much larger today and it is actively used. France’s Marine Le Pen said Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni did not want to vote for the immigration and relocation package, believing that a naval blockade was needed, not this type of ineffective measure. However, she was threatened that a tranche of the Italian recovery funds would be blocked and she bowed to the pressure since she risked, as we know, an attack by financial markets on Italy.
Italians are indeed familiar with this from 2011. But you said you left the so-called Verhofstadt Group, i.e., the team working on the report on proposals of the European Parliament for the amendment of the treaties, in an act of protest. An act of protest against what?
Against this final formula and the lack of respect for the consensus principle. We worked on the report from July 2022 to July 2023. It was hundreds of hours of negotiations. There were six representatives of six political groups, including myself on behalf of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group. The Identity & Democracy group was not allowed in.
This is the so-called “cordon sanitaire” policy enforced by the other groups, from the center-right EPP to the far left. As for the six rapporteurs, the Conference of Presidents decided that there were to be six co-rapporteurs, i.e., the principle of consensus was to apply. This means that everyone was expected to agree on the final version.
As one of those six co-rapporteurs, I have protested various solutions, unfortunately unsuccessfully. I have proposed other solutions, such as a CJEU Subsidiarity Chamber composed of the Presidents of the National Constitutional Courts, or a red card procedure in which half of the national parliaments could stop legislation in the European Commission, etc.
This was all rejected, and the “consensus of six co-rapporteurs” principle was turned into a “consensus minus one.” In other words, the five other political groups agreed on matters between themselves, and the ECR was eventually also placed outside the cordon sanitaire. Therefore, I slammed the door on behalf of my group.
In its draft resolution that deals precisely with these proposals for treaty changes, the European Parliament cites the so-called Conference on the Future of Europe as the source of these ideas. Doesn’t that mean that there is a democratic procedure behind these proposed changes? It was a citizen consultation after all, wasn’t it?
First of all, I would caution against reading the draft resolution itself, because I heard with my own ears how it was said among the co-rapporteurs that the resolution was to be formulated in such a way as to hide the most radical proposals and rearrange them so that even within the camp of those five political groups, from the communist Left to the European People’s Party, they would not arouse resistance. Therefore, the resolution itself is a “light” version, a version that is deliberately adulterated to hide the true radicalism of what is in the 110 pages of the report.
As for the Conference on the Future of Europe, it was just a set-up. Eight hundred representatives of so-called civil society were gathered. They were subjected to coaching and formatted with the help of Soros-type NGOs, so as to put in their mouths the message that the Brussels establishment wanted to be heard by the broader public. This had nothing to do with public consultation. It was just a screen, a set-up, a Potemkin village built so that there would be something to invoke. In reality, the content of the Conference was written in the offices of the European Commission and the Spinelli Group.
It is worth noting that in the European Parliament’s resolution, its authors refer to the Ventotene Manifesto of Altiero Spinelli, an Italian Trotskyist communist. His manifesto is cited first, with Schuman’s declaration coming in second. This clearly shows that this idea of amending the EU treaty is rooted in the communist Marxist vision for Europe, where nation-states are being abolished and where democracy is basically non-existent.
Just read what Spinelli wrote on the subject. Schuman proclaimed that his idea was not to bring countries together to create a superstate, and the idea of the Union as a superstate has its origin in the concepts Spinelli exposed in the Ventotene Manifesto.
It says that “it derives its vision and certainty of what must be done from the knowledge that it represents the deepest needs of modern society and not from any previous recognition by popular will, as yet inexistent. In this way, it issues the basic guidelines of the new order, the first social discipline directed to the unformed masses. By this dictatorship of the revolutionary party a new State will be formed, and around this State new, genuine democracy will grow.”
This is pure Bolshevism! This future democracy, as in communism, is to be led by the dictatorship of revolutionary parties. The Ventotene Manifesto further says that it will be a stable federal state with a European army, etc.
Let’s be clear: This project to reform the EU treaties is communist and it rejects Schuman’s Christian-democratic concept. The Spinelli Group, which co-authored the proposals, is an informal group in the European Parliament with dozens of MEPs. They claim to be federalists, but their project is actually anti-federalist.
In a federation, if you look at the German Bundesrepublik, Switzerland, or the United States, the constituent parts of the federation are equal or nearly equal. Each state in the United States has two representatives in the Senate. German Länder (states) have almost equal representation in the Bundesrat. The same is true of the Council of States in Switzerland.
In contrast, in the European Union, the voting weight of member states is proportional to their population. So, this is not only an anti-democratic project but also an anti-federalist one even though they call themselves federalists. They are actually far from federal concepts. They are centralizers.
This is a kind of group of political ideologues, some of whom I would even call fanatics, who want to build a superstate on the ruins of nation-states, where a political oligarchy will rule unaccountably and escape the democratic control of citizens.
Among the proposed changes to the EU treaties, there is also this rather revolutionary rule compared to the one in force until now: Subsequent treaties would be adopted by a 4/5 majority of member states. On the other hand, this first treaty, which would be groundbreaking and would introduce such a principle, will have to be adopted unanimously, right?
Yes. And once it is adopted, there will be no more need to force the will of some member states when it can be bypassed. This is a curiosity, because nowhere in any international organization is there such a thing, that a statutory, constitutional act of an organization is adopted other than unanimously.
Another revolutionary change concerns how the Union’s competencies are assigned. Until now – at least in theory, because in practice it’s a bit different – it is the member states that grant the Union new powers. By contrast, according to this newly proposed treaty, which the European Parliament is currently debating, it would become officially possible for the Union to grant itself new competencies and to decide on the competencies of the member states.
At the moment, on paper at least, according to Article 5, there is the so-called principle of conferral. This means that the Union has only those powers that have been conferred to it by the member states and are enumerated in the treaties.
In contrast, the report of the so-called Verhofstadt Group proposes the transfer of 10 areas of competence to the Union, including two as exclusive competencies, in the spheres of climate and the environment, and eight as so-called shared competencies. Shared competencies, the treaty says, are those where the Union has priority in exercising them, and member states can only act to the extent that the Union does not exercise those competencies.
In short, it is the Union that will decide what are the powers and scope of sovereignty of the states, and not the opposite. Thus, sovereignty within the European Union would no longer reside in the member states but in the Union itself, and the former would be subordinated.
Incidentally, the euro currency is to become mandatory for all EU members. That is also why I am talking about the threat of the member states becoming simple “Länder”: They will be just European Union states just as there are German states.
In theory, immigration is still the exclusive competence of EU member states for the moment…
At the moment, economic immigration is indeed the exclusive competence of the member states based on the existing European treaties, but this is not respected in practice. The migration pact, which is in the process of being finalized, with its relocation principle, gives the EU powers that have not been conferred by the member states.
And in terms of future competencies, if you go through all these competencies that the EU would get – environment, climate, forestry, public health, cross-border transport infrastructure, external border policy, foreign affairs, internal security affairs, defense affairs, civil defense, industry, education… there is not much left to the member states. Member states’ competencies will therefore be residual and partial.
Added to this is the great chapter of the cultural revolution, or gender ideology, where everywhere in the Treaty “equality between men and women” is replaced with the concept of “gender.” And this is to enter the catalog of so-called European values.
Does this mean that if the treaties are modified as per the European Parliament’s current proposals, the EU will be able to officially and legally impose same-sex marriage on all member states?
Indeed, not allowing same-sex marriages in a member state will constitute a violation of the rule of law as understood by its new EU definition. Add to this that Article 7, with which Poland and Hungary have been grilled for years, would be amended so that a country’s lack of respect for the rule of law could be established and the said country could be punished no longer by unanimity, but by a majority of the other member states.
The adoption of these changes will have the effect of incapacitating states in this matter. It will be easier to punish a member state and block the EU funds it is entitled to. In short, what they are doing now illegally, they could henceforth do legally, because everything would be enshrined in the Treaty.
How do these changes compare to those proposed in September by an expert panel appointed by France and Germany? Are the two initiatives somehow related?
No, they are not. The work of the parliamentary team began in July 2022. In contrast, we are talking here about a team formed on the initiative of Germany’s and France’s ministers of European affairs. Their report is authored by academics who have custom-written something that these two ministers can now refer to. The themes are similar and the intentions coincide, but that is where the similarities end.
The Parliament’s report is earlier, broader, and deeper, and, above all, it has a formal role. It is grounded in Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union and it triggers the Treaty amendment procedure, while the German-French report is just an expert opinion made to order. The two reports carry very different weight.
So what is your forecast? Does the new treaty have enough support in the big EU countries and will it simply be imposed on the rest?
First, it will pass in the European Parliament. Roughly judging by previous votes, I predict that it should be about 330 votes “for” and 170 “against.” That is what previous votes show, such as on the complete elimination of the veto right, which is envisioned in another report voted on in the European Parliament in September.
After its adoption by the European Parliament, the proposal to amend the EU treaties will land on the desk of the EU Council, which gathers the concerned ministers from the EU27. It will be forwarded to the European Council, i.e., the meeting of heads of state and government.
The European Council can then decide by a simple majority vote, which is something unusual, to convene a Convention. It is the kind of Convention that Giscard d’Estaing once chaired, which produced the EU’s failed Constitutional Treaty. Such a convention is an institution provided for under the current Treaties. The next step is the decision to convene an Intergovernmental Conference, which enacts all of this with a common agreement on treaty amendments.
My answer to your question is that if societies and political forces don’t wake up now and stop this at an early stage, the EU steamroller will go all the way to the end. On the other hand, if it is opposed now and resistance is built in the member states’ societies and has an influence on political debates and elections, if the forces opposed to this regime change come to power in France, as is expected, and if there is a shift of the political scene to the right in next year’s elections to the European Parliament, if this becomes an important issue for these European elections as it should, then there is a chance to block these treaty changes.
But if this is done quietly, as has been the case so far, with politicians and the media keeping silent, then this process will go all the way to the end. Now the work is being carried out below the radar. Only experts and a very small number of journalists have noticed it.
That is the intention, by the way, to do it in-house, in a discreet way. The public is not supposed to notice that a putsch is about to take place, that the European Union as a community of sovereign states is being abolished and a superstate is being created without any consent of the people, and that the member states are being reduced to the role of German states.
Therefore, like the Capitoline Geese, today it is necessary to warn and alarm that this coup is about to happen. This would be okay if European societies agreed to it. If people do want the abolition of nation-states, then it is okay, even if I don’t like it. Do you people want a superstate where a caste of Eurocrats will rule without control of the citizens? If so, express your approval.
But in Brussels, they know full well that such an agreement does not and will not exist. So they want to do it secretly, and that is why I call this a plot and a putsch. It is an assault on democracy. Robert Schuman must be turning over in his grave. If he were alive and an MEP today, he would vote against it. So would Italian Alcide de Gasperi, another of Europe’s founding fathers.
The problem is that Europe has been hijacked, it has been stolen. Just as Zeus, in the form of a bull, abducted Europe, left-liberal circles have taken possession of something that was a concept with a Christian genesis, something that was founded on the principle of subsidiarity, which, by the way, is derived from the Church’s social teaching. This something is being transformed by them into a project with communist roots. The authors of the European Parliament’s draft resolution and report do not even hide this.
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski is an economist and an expert in European studies. He was one of Poland’s main negotiators for membership in the European Union and was in charge of relations with the EU in several governments in the 1990s and early 2000s. He has been a member of the European Parliament since 2004. He was vice-president of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2007 and chaired the EP Foreign Affairs Committee from 2007 to 2009. Jacek Saryusz-Wolski was also a member of the Solidarity trade union under communist rule in the 1980s. Disgusted by the way his liberal colleagues sought to push through sanctions against Poland in Brussels after their 2015 election defeat, he distanced himself from the Civic Platform (PO), of which he was a leading figure (he was then vice-president of the European People’s Party), and moved closer to Law and Justice (PiS), with whom he now sits in the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group.