Czech president questions "ever closer" EU political integration

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said on Thursday that the attempts to speed up and deepen EU integration could endanger all the positive things achieve in Europe in the last 50 years, Xinhua reported.
In a speech at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, Klaus said that the situation must not be allowed "where the citizens of Member countries would live their lives with a resigned feeling that the EU is not their own, that it is developing differently than they would wish, that they are only forced to accept it".
He also questioned whether decision-making at the EU headquarters was always the best way to achieve the goals of EU integration.
"Are you really convinced that every time you take a vote, you are deciding something that must be decided here in this Chamber and not closer to the citizens, i.e. inside the individual European states?" he asked the members of the EP.
Klaus, whose speech focus on what he called "issues of extraordinary importance for the further development of the European integration project," said that while there was no alternative to EU membership, "the methods and forms of European integration do, on the contrary, have quite a number of possible and legitimate variants."
"Claiming that the status quo, the present institutional form of the EU, is forever uncriticizable dogma, is a mistake", he said, adding that assuming "there is only one possible and correct future for European integration, which is 'ever-closer Union'" is also wrong.
He also questioned the decision-making system of the EP.
"The present decision-making system in the European Union is different from a classic parliamentary democracy, tried and tested by history. In a normal parliamentary system, part of the MPs support the government and part support the opposition. In the European Parliament this arrangement has been missing. Here only one single option is being promoted and those who dare think about a different option are labeled enemies of European integration," said the Czech president.
Turning to economic aspects, he argued that "the present economic system of the EU is a system of a suppressed market, a system of a permanently strengthening centrally controlled economy " and called instead for "liberalization and deregulation of the European economy."
In response, EP President Hans-Gert Pottering described Klaus's views as "an expression of the diversity in Europe" and pointed out that "in a democracy it's the view of the majority that counts.

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