Guy Verhofstadt discusses 'weaknesses' within the EU
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The Belgian MEP criticised the balance of power in the EU and claimed the veto rules needed to be changed for member states. It comes as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on the EU to abolish the right of individual member states to veto foreign policy measures even if all 26 other countries agree.
Mr Verhofstadt said he agreed with the German chief there needed to be reforms in the EU and the comments by the arch-Europhile sent social media into overdrive.
One user wrote: “Not long now before the demise of the EU.”
A second added: “I love it. EU is disintegrating.”
A third commented: “This kind of thing is a reason to get out of the EU. It doesn’t work in this area for foreign affairs.”
A fourth added: “You are right, every day we can see that the EU doesn’t work in its current form.
“Maybe you should return to just being purely a trade bloc.”
In his post on Twitter, Mr Verhofstadt gave several examples of member states holding up legalisation and leaving the EU at an impasse.
Responding to the call from Berlin for vetoes to be scrapped, the 68-year-old wrote on Twitter: “Right!
“Sanctions on Belarus taking months, Hungary holding back a statement on Hong Kong, Cyprus vetoing G7 ambition on corporate taxation… every day sees another example to show that unanimity is killing EU’s effectiveness and credibility.
“The debate is on!!”
Speaking at a conference of Germany’s ambassadors in Berlin, Mr Mass took the unusual step to condemn the existing structures of the bloc.
The German Foreign Minister said the bloc cannot be “held hostage” by the veto power of individual member states.
He warned the existing measures could pose a risk to the “cohesion of Europe” and said the veto mechanism needed to be removed even if it meant Germany could now lose a key vote.
Mr Mass said: “We can’t let ourselves be held hostage by the people who hobble European foreign policy with their vetoes.
“If you do that then sooner or later you are risking the cohesion of Europe.
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“The veto has to go, even if that means we can be outvoted.”
In April, Hungary blocked an EU statement criticising China’s new security law in Hong Kong.
The move undermined the bloc’s efforts to confront Beijing’s restrictions of freedoms in the former British colony.
Last month, Budapest refused to ratify a new EU trade and development accord with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, and also declined to support an EU call for a ceasefire in violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
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