Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warns over the EU in Poland yesterday
Friday September 30,2011
By Macer Hall, Political Editor
NICK CLEGG admitted yesterday that the European Union is facing a “disaster” and is in danger of breaking up.
The Deputy Prime Minister warned that the euro-zone debt crisis could lead to the “fragmentation” of the entire 27-nation union.
His remarks in a speech in Poland were the closest that the previously eurofanatic Lib Dem leader has come to conceding that the EU is deeply flawed.
His warning came as the EU narrowly avoided another crisis when the German Parliament backed the latest massive euro bail-out fund.
“Europe is clearly embarking on a period of change,” Mr Clegg said.
“The danger we face is of change leading to fragmentation. That we become divided, turning away from each other, both within the European Union and with our partners who are not, or not yet, members of it. That would be a disaster.”
Above all, Mr Clegg said, the euro-zone states cannot be allowed to act against the interests of the full 27 EU members.
The danger we face is of change leading to fragmentation. That we become divided, turning away from each other
“That is the surest way to rupture our union, undermining the huge strides that have been taken to secure co-operation between us, allowing walls to spring up even though we spent years knocking them down,” he said.
His speech came a day after Tory Foreign Secretary William Hague likened the euro currency system to a “burning building with no exits.”
In Germany yesterday, Chancellor Angela Merkel survived a gruelling Parliamentary battle over her support for the European Financial Stability Fund of 440billion euros (£380billion).
The Bundestag voted overwhelming to give the EU sweeping powers to make precautionary loans, help recapitalise banks and buy bonds from debt-laden countries like Greece. Despite a rebellion by 15 backbench eurosceptics, Merkel won 315 votes from her own conservative-liberal coalition.
“The result of the vote is a strong signal for Europe. The broad majority in parliament clearly shows that Germany is committed to the euro,” said Hermann Groehe, general secretary of her Christian Democratic party.