One of the problems of the emerging solution to the European debt crisis is the migration towards a more federal Europe with centralized economic policy and supervision. This would be the price that Germany and other financially solvent states in Europe will exact for assuming debt burdens or a debased currency to extricate the fiscally insolvent countries.
While this is the dream of the Eurocrats, it threatens to widen Europe's "democratic deficit" where the average citizen no longer feels that he has control over the policies that control his economic well-being.
In an article for the New York Times, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his Polish counterpart Radek Sikorski have proposed a drastic revamp of the European Union. To provide the democratic legitimacy that must accompany greater centralization they propose a directly elected president of the European Commission and endowing the European Parliament with the powers to initiate legislation and not merely block it as is the practice today.
The two foreign ministers were channeling a document released Tuesday following a meeting between 11 EU foreign ministers in Warsaw.
The centralization will not be merely economic, but will seek integration in foreign and defense policy that will no longer be hobbled by the need to achieve unanimity. Changes would now be taken by "a super-qualified majority of the EU member states".
Britain was not present at the Warsaw meeting and would have never signed off on the document. Britain opposes a European army in the belief that it would either duplicate functions now being performed by NATO or would attempt to supplant NATO.
This would place Britain in a position that it would be forced to choose between the United States and the European Union and deprive Britain of her present role as a mediator between Washington and Brussels. The abolition of the national veto means that Britain could be coerced into a policy that it was opposed to.
The document and the article have already galvanized the British Eurosceptic UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) to demand a referendum on leaving the European Union. As the intent displayed by the 11 is clear – the creation of a federal European state with the member states enjoying the status German lander such as Bavaria in the Federal Republic of Germany, there was no point in hanging around to see the inevitable conclusion of the process.
The British government is divided over the issue of Europe, with the Liberal Democrats more sympathetic to a federal Europe and the Conservatives opposed. A referendum means that the coalition collapses.
Therefore Britain is playing for time, claiming that the fight is not yet lost, the 11 were merely putting forward an opening position and so would Britain and her allies.