The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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European integration - in their own words

  • "One must never forget that monetary union, which the two of us were the first to propose more than a decade ago is ultimately a political project. It aims to give a new impulse to the historic movement towards union of the European states. Monetary union is a federative project that needs to be accompanied and followed by other steps." — Giscard d'Estaing and Helmut Schmidt, former French & German leaders, quoted in International Herald Tribune, 14.10.97
  • "The process of monetary union goes hand in hand, must go hand in hand, with political integration and ultimately political union. EMU is, and was meant to be, a stepping stone on the way to a united Europe." — Wim Duisenberg, President, European Central Bank
  • "The single currency is the greatest abandonment of sovereignty since the foundation of the European Community. It is a decision of an essentially political nature. We need this United Europe. We must never forget that the euro is an instrument for this project." — Felipe Gonzales, former Prime Minister of Spain, May 1998.
  • "A signal must be sent that a single market and a single currency is not the end of the EU journey." — Victor Klima, Chancellor of Austria, Poertschach, Austria, October 24, 1998.
  • "We are entering a new phase of European politics. What is decisive is not only do we have a single currency area, but also that it is accompanied by a co-ordinated economic and financial policy. We must drive forward tax harmonisation in Europe." — Oskar Lafontaine, press conference after meeting with French finance minister Dominique Strauss Khan, November 16, 1998.
  • "We ought to work on a common constitution to turn the European Union into an entity under international law—that is my goal. It is the decisive task of our time." — Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Minister, Berlin, 25 November, 1998.
  • "It is now up to us to see that we embark on the next stage leading to political unity, which I think is the consequence of economic unity, so that Europe can in the future also play a political role on the international stage, leading even as far as a common defence policy. " — Jacques Santer, then-President of the European Commission, The Daily Telegraph, 1st January 1999.
  • "The time for individual nations [in Europe] having its own tax, employment and social policies if definitely over. We must finally bury the erroneous ideas of nations having sovereignty over foreign and defence policies. National sovereignty will soon prove itself to be a product of the imagination." — Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor of Germany, January 1999.
  • "European government is a clear expression I still use, you need time, but step by step, as in the Austrian case, the European Commission takes a political decision and behaves like a growing government. " — EU Commission President Romano Prodi, The Independent, 4th February 2000
  • "We'll negotiate withdrawal from the EEC which has drained our natural resources and destroyed jobs" — Tony Blair , personal election manifestos for Beaconsfield and Sedgefield 1982 and 1983
  • "...one of the French Presidency's priorities will be to facilitate use of the enhanced cooperation mechanism...The creation of a group of countries which would be the front-runners of those which want to take Europe forward... " — French President Chirac, at the annual conference in Paris of all French ambassadors, 28th August 2000
  • "Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of empire. We have the dimension of empire." — José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, EUobserver, 10 July 2007