Monday

23rd Apr 2018

Stop dreaming of integrated EU utopia, says Tusk

  • Tusk (r) warned against further integration, while Juncker called on fellow Christian Democrats to stay away from populism (Photo: The European Union)

More integration is not the answer to the current crises faced by Europe, EU Council president Donald Tusk has warned.

He said on Monday European politicians were “confronting reality with all kinds of utopian ideas”.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“A utopia of Europe without nation states, a utopia of Europe without conflicting interests and ambitions, a utopia of Europe imposing its own values on the external world, a utopia of a Euro-Asian unity," he told an event marking the 40th anniversary of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) in Luxembourg.

The former Polish prime minister warned that those advocating for stronger and quicker European integration fail to understand the voice of the people.

"Obsessed with the idea of instant and total integration, we failed to notice that ordinary people, the citizens of Europe do not share our Euro-enthusiasm," Tusk said.

"Disillusioned with the great visions of the future, they demand that we cope with the present reality better than we have been doing until now."

Less than a month before the UK's referendum on EU membership, Tusk warned: "The spectre of a break-up is haunting Europe and a vision of a federation doesn't seem to me like the best answer to it."

Instead, Tusk called for the EPP to get back to its Christian Democratic roots, and reconcile differences within the European Parliament's largest party to counter extremist voices.

He said Europe needs a synthesis of values, such as open borders and solidarity with refugees.

"We will either understand that the views of [German chancellor] Angela [Merkel] and [Hungarian prime minister] Viktor [Orban] are compatible with each other and only together can they provide a full answer, or people will search for other radical and brutal recipes for how to solve the crisis," he told fellow EPP members.

Tusk however did not provide a vision for reconciling those differences, with Orban often criticising Merkel publicly and giving fuel to her domestic political opponents.

Merkel has been struggling to stick to her welcoming policy towards asylum seekers in the face of growing criticism. Orban has been calling for reinforced external border protection and has built a fence to keep migrants out.

Juncker warns of populism

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker hit a consolatory tone with those opposing the EU's migration policy, such as Orban, of distributing refugees across the continent.

He said they should not be labelled populists.

"Not everyone who does not agree with certain aspects of the European refugee policy and the proposals made by the Commission is a populist," he said.

But the veteran Luxembourg politician warned fellow EPP members not to try to imitate populist forces, as voters would choose the "original" populists anyway.

"There must be a clear line of demarcation between the EPP and the extreme right-wing forces in the European Union... and that needs to be made clear repeatedly," Juncker said.

EU founding states pledge deeper integration

The six founding members of the EU have recommitted to building a more integrated union, while acknowledging others may move at their own pace, backing the idea of a "two-speed" Europe.

Analysis

New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.

MEPs set limits to Macron's ambitions

The French president tried to woo the European Parliament but found that his quest for leadership will have to abide by the rules set by the European political groups.

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.

News in Brief

  1. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  2. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  3. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  4. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement
  5. Nahles elected new leader of Germany's SPD
  6. Report: EU budget to refocus on South
  7. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  8. MEPs urge better protection for journalists

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. 'Strong suspicion' of corruption in Council of Europe assembly
  2. France tightens immigration law, sparking division
  3. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  4. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  5. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  6. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  7. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  8. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability