The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

Alfred Sant says fast enlargement of the EU led to political and economic divergences

Tuesday, 19 May 2020, 11:18 Last update: about 10 days ago

Labour MEP Alfred Sant has told the European Parliament that fast enlargement of the European Union has led to the spread of political and economic divergences within the Union.

Alfred Sant shared his views about the current state of the EU during a debate in the European Parliament on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration.

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EU Member States find themselves increasingly unable to agree on concrete sectoral policies, for which the Union has at least partial competence. Among them: migration; long term Union budgeting; eurozone financial management; dealings with Russia and the US; a containment and recovery strategy vis-à-vis the coronavirus pandemic; and soon possibly a final solution with the UK post-Brexit.

The Schuman Declaration, presented by French foreign minister Robert Schuman in May 1950, proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community. This was the first of a series of supranational European institutions that would ultimately become today’s European Union.

Alfred Sant stated that its central genial premise was that Europe could be peacefully united by concentrating on concrete step-by-step measures to enable convergence between its national economies via the establishment of a single common market 

National and regional interests would be taken into account in a detailed give-and-take, creating a shared European acquis. Though very successful, this approach was fundamentally rejigged in the 1990’s, following the collapse of the USSR.

“Rapid deepening and enlargement became the order of the day, sometimes run in a hegemonic manner. The deepening such as with the eurozone but also Schengen was left half done” Alfred Sant said.

Robert Schumann would not have been amused. We have gotten far away from the strategy he set, the statement concluded.

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