Summary of the speech given by Hans van Baalen MEP on the occasion of the Orgalime Congress

Hans van Baalen, delegatieleider VVD in het Europees Parlement , vrijdag 07 oktober 2011

In his speech, Hans van Baalen asked himself whether the European Union (EU) was a failed project or whether it would be able to both manage the current Euro-crisis and maintain its position in the world. Van Baalen pointed out that the EU is not a federation such as the United States of America or the Federal Republic of Germany. The European Union was a clever construction erected by France and Germany after WWII under the joint pressure of the USA and Great Britain in order to prevent war between France and Germany in the future and as a way to decide how to spend the financial means provided by the European Recovery Programme or Marshall Plan well without the beggar-thy-neighbour policies of the period between the First and Second World Wars in Europe.

The Union was never deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of the European peoples. It was and is a means to an end just like NATO, Council of Europe or OECD. However, the Internal Market is of huge importance to all EU member states, especially for a trade oriented country like the Netherlands. The monetary Union, the ECB and the Euro which replaced the Bundesbank and the DeutschMark were a way in which France wanted to maintain political dominance over the re-united Germany after the end of the Cold War. A single European currency cemented together unequal economies of the competitive North and the uncompetitive South. The case of Greece proved that monetary union does not work without strong economic governance and political union or rules which are enforced (Stability Pact). The first is not possible without the consent of the people which is clearly not present. On the contrary, we have 27 member states without a European political space (European media, a common language, a common history and a joint vision on a common future). The 27 member states did not fight for a common Europe, they joined a common project which is something completely different. Therefore the Euro can only be safeguarded by a strong and coherent set of rules which were laid down in the Stability Pact which lacked enforcement.

In 2003/2004 France and Germany decided that they did not need to accept a correction of their policies which were not in line with the Pact. They forced the Eurozone to end the Stability Pact as a legal instrument and introduced peer pressure which did not work. See the Greek case in which a country was taken aboard for political and not for economic and financial reasons and which by sheer fraud disguised the fact that it did not, in any way, live by the rules. The only way to prevent a Eurozone contamination and meltdown is to re-establish and strengthen the Stability Pact and to introduce automatic sanctions to be enforced by an independent European Commissioner such as the Competition Commissioner in the European Commission.

Pacta Sunt Servanda is the only way to save the Euro, the Eurozone and the European Union at large. Then the financial markets will calm down. Then the Greek crisis will be rather easy to manage if Greece accepts that it has to fully change its way of government. If not Greece should leave the Eurozone. Only when the Euro is safe, will the EU be able to devote itself to play a global role and be an active stakeholder concerning peace and stability, human rights, free trade, environment and development. The alternative for the EU is internal and external stagnation which must be avoided at all costs.

Amsterdam, Friday October 7th 2011