by Nick Gutteridge
the EU will 'never become a state'
today vowed the European Union
will "never become a state"
as eurocrats embarked on
an unprecedented listening
exercise with voters
over the future direction of
The EU Commission chief insisted any dreams some politicians may
have of a United States of Europe are dead and buried amid voter
apathy about the project and growing divisions amongst its member
He admitted that he was once a federalist himself, but said he now
appreciated that ordinary Europeans will not accept the imposition
of a superstate by the back door and that Brussels must allow
national governments a greater say on Europe-wide policy.
Mr Juncker's remarks came after he launched
an historic white paper
on how to save the struggling project yesterday, which unusually
consisted of a massive consultation exercise on five "pathways" for
Unlike in previous years the Commission and its chief have flatly
refused to express a preference for how they want the EU to move
forward, save to say that they do not believe a return to a simple
trading alliance would be the right course of action.
The EU boss made the remarks
at a press conference in Slovenia
Mr Juncker berated MEPs
for their reaction to his white paper
Eurocrats, who are unelected, have been stung by a fall in voter
support for the bloc and repeated accusations that this has been
caused by a dictatorial approach of loftily handing down decrees
without consulting citizens.
But some MEPs have
criticized the plan saying that eurocrats should
have taken a strong stance on the issue and simply handed down a
solution, prompting an exasperated Mr Juncker to berate them and
"Sh*t, what do you want us to do?"
The Brussels boss addressed the criticism further today during a
visit to one of the club's newest members, Slovenia, where he
discussed the future of the EU, migration and
Brexit with prime
minister Miro Cerar.
No, no, no,
we'll never become a state
"I know from my past experience as prime minister in
Luxembourg that in smaller member states people don't believe, our
citizens don't believe that their country has an influence. Slovenia
has an influence and is a positive actor in the EU.
"Smaller member states, they should not try to gain some importance
by saying no.
Smaller member states have to be a force of proposals,
trying to bring European integration to its very end without wanting
to give the impression that European Union is something like United
States of America.
"No, no, no, we'll never become a state. I used to be a federalist
when I was 15 but that's a long time ago as you can see."
"Now I do think that the EU has to be constructed not
against nations and member states, but together with nations and
"That's of importance to smaller member states because small member
states, bigger member states they're equal in rights and they have
the same dignity."
On the mixed reaction to his white paper
Paper on the Future of Europe - Reflections and scenarios for the
EU27 by 2025), he said:
"For once we did
not do as we are usually doing. We are not imposing, dictating,
prescribing a recipe for the continent.
"We are submitting to the meditation of the member states and we
would like to see a huge debate taking place in the next month."
During the press conference Mr Cerar said that tackling "issues of
security and irregular migration" was his country's number one
concern and that unless they are solved there will be no progress in
other policy areas