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President Basescu on the United States of Europe: Crises call for bold measures

President Traian Basescu said on Monday evening that the idea of establishing the United States of Europe (USE) has already been discussed, pointing out that crises call for bold measures, and adding that he is not sure that today's politicians can convince the people that a USE will not affect their culture or traditions.

'The idea of the United States of Europe is no new solution. It has already been raised and discussed. Churchill is one of the last prominent politicians to suggest it, but even before him there were others. This is nothing original, nothing new under the sun. Yet, this is a time of economic crisis where there are risks of recession returning. I say risks because we have not reached that stage, but there are risks nonetheless, and I mean crises call for bold measures,' Basescu told the TVR public television channel in an interview.

He added that a politician would be hard pressed saying how quick the United States of Europe could be established, but national governments have proved they can be 'vanquished' by markets, by the will of investors.

'The global system will sweep away all that is lacking strength. The states now have to see how to put up with the negative effects of globalisation,' Basescu added.

He pointed out in the same context that Romania does not give up on its objective to accede to the Eurozone in 2015.

'We want to become a part of this European family, and the creation of a government of the Eurozone is something said differently than I said. It is clear that a government of the Eurozone will first of all take care of monetary policies, which will still be managed by the European Central Bank, and of the tax policies of each member state,' Basescu explained.

He stressed that although he believes the establishment of the United States of Europe is a good idea, the citizens should decide on its fate by referendum.

'I am not sure that today's politicians have the power to convince the people that setting up the United States of Europe will not affect their culture, traditions or the personality of each nation. I do not believe that the current generation of politicians could convince people. It sounds awful to say that the Value Added Tax will no longer be established by the national governments, but by some people in Brussels. It sounds extremely awful to any Romanian, and yet we will have to take this pill if we want Europe to be a viable construction against the globalisation process,' Basescu added.

Last week at Sulina, Basescu said that the European Union has been constantly losing competitiveness to China and the US and that a decision should be taken in the next two-three years whether or not the United States of Europe will be created.

'Over the past ten years, the EU has been constantly losing competitiveness to China, the US and other big economic powers. When you have no economic power you cannot be a military power either. It would be useless to attack Libya because you will lose the war. Security is a fundamental thing but there is no providing security without money, which can only be generated by a highly performing economy. A fragmented economy with differing policies in 27 states does not make us economically competitive. As Europeans, we need economic performance and security, and these two fundamental things cannot be achieved otherwise than by fundamental political decisions. And I repeat the idea that we have to decide quickly, in the next two-three years, whether or not to create the United States of Europe,' Basescu told a summer school camp of overseas Romanian students at the Danube Delta resort of Sulina.