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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The EU Constitution - in their own words

  • "We know that nine out of 10 people will not have read the Constitution and will vote on the basis of what politicians and journalists say. More than that, if the answer is No, the vote will probably have to be done again, because it absolutely has to be Yes. " — Jean-Luc Dehaene, Former Belgian Prime Minister and Vice-President of the EU Convention, Irish Times, 2nd June 2004
  • "Our continent's unification is at hand and we must stand to account. " — Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, speech in Brussels, 22nd May 2002
  • "We are involved in a constitution-building process of historic importance. The Convention should mark a new stage in European integration." — Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, speech in Brussels, 22nd May 2002
  • "The EU must take on new responsibilities. And these new responsibilities call for intensifying the integration process. " — Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, speech in Brussels, 22nd May 2002
  • "The Constitution is the capstone of a European Federal State. " — Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian Prime Minister, Financial Times, 21st June 2004
  • "Our constitution cannot be reduced to a mere treaty for co-operation between governments. Anyone who has not yet grasped this fact deserves to wear the dunce's cap. " — Valéry Giscard, President of the EU Convention, speech in Aachen accepting the Charlemagne Prize for European integration, 29th May 2003
  • "For the first time, Europe has a shared Constitution. This pact is the point of no return. Europe is becoming an irreversible project, irrevocable after the ratification of this treaty. It is a new era for Europe, a new geography, a new history." — French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Le Metro, 7th October 2004
  • "This Constitution is, in spite of all justified calls for further regulations, a milestone. Yes, it is more than that. The EU Constitution is the birth certificate of the United States of Europe. The Constitution is not the end point of integration, but the framework for - as it says in the preamble - an ever closer union." — Hans Martin Bury, the German Minister for Europe, debate in the Bundestag, Die Welt, 25 February 2005
  • "The European Constitution will be an essential stage in the historic process of European integration." — Gerhard Schröder the Chancellor of Germany and President Chirac of France, The Nantes Franco-German summit joint declaration, 24th November 2001
  • "There is really quite an inherent danger in the traditional British view that the council of ministers and inter-governmentalism is your protection against the federalist superstate." — Gisela Stuart MP (Labour), representative of Parliament on the EU Convention, ePolitix.com, 2nd December 2002
  • "We have to give ourselves a constitution which marks the birth of Europe as a political entity. " — Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, Brussels, February 2002
  • "Creating a single European state bound by one European Constitution is the decisive task of our time." — German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, The Daily Telegraph, 27 December 1998
  • "This is a legal revolution without precedent. " — Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio, Irish Times, 14 June 2003
  • "Monetary union is there, the common currency is there. So our main concern nowadays is foreign policy and defence. The next step, in terms of integration of the European Union, will be our constitution. We are today where you were in Philadelphia in 1787. " — French ambassador to the US Jean-David Levitte, press conference, 3 April 2003
  • "Anyone in Britain who claims the constitution will not change things is trying to sweeten the pill for those who don't want to see a bigger role for Europe. The constitution is not just an intellectual exercise. It will quickly change people's lives. " — Former Italian Prime Minister Lamberto Dini, The Sunday Telegraph, 1st June 2003
  • "Our task is nothing less than the creation of a new constitutional order for a new united Europe. " — Peter Hain, MP, Financial Times, 22 March 2003
  • "The European Union is a state under construction." — Elmar Brok, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • "A full-time president of the European Council would be the most powerful politician of Europe, but will not be elected by the people or be accountable to a democratic body meeting in public. How is this going to bring Europe closer to its citizens?" — Gijs de Vries - Dutch representative on the EU Convention
  • "We have sown a seed... Instead of a half-formed Europe, we have a Europe with a legal entity, with a single currency, common justice, a Europe which is about to have its own defence. " — Valery Giscard d'Estaing, President of the EU Convention, presenting the final draft of the EU Constitution, 13th June 2003
  • "Our continent has seen successive attempts at unifying it: Caesar, Charlemagne and Napoleon, among others. The aim has been to unify it by force of arms, by the sword. We for our part seek to unify it by the pen. Will the pen succeed where the sword has finally failed? " — Valery Giscard d'Estaing, president of the EU Convention, speech in Aachen accepting the Charlemagne Prize for European integration, 29th May 2003
  • "These tasks form the core of the new European Project and they represent a giant step forward in European integration. " — Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission, speech in Brussels, 22nd May 2002