Quem pensa que este debate sobre a União Europeia é novo desengane-se. Há 30 anos já Margaret Thatcher andava a criticar fortemente a centralização crescente de Bruxelas (e ainda só havia Comunidade Europeia, dado que a UE só aparece formalmente em 1993) e constatava que para o projecto europeu ter sucesso era preciso colaboração e cooperação, mas sempre com flexibilidade e descentralização. Eu, como liberal a favor da UE, mas contra o federalismo, não posso deixar de concordar.

A UE parece na altura não ter ouvido os conselhos de Thatcher, tal como ignorou o problema na última década. Vale a pena recordar este excerto do famoso “The Bruges Speech”, em 1988 (vídeo abaixo).

My first guiding principle is this: willing and active cooperation between independent sovereign states is the best way to build a successful European Community. To try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging and would jeopardise the objectives we seek to achieve.

Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European personality. (…)

I am the first to say that on many great issues the countries of Europe should try to speak with a single voice. I want to see us work more closely on the things we can do better together than alone. Europe is stronger when we do so, whether it be in trade, in defence or in our relations with the rest of the world. But working more closely together does not require power to be centralised in Brussels or decisions to be taken by an appointed bureaucracy.

Indeed, it is ironic that just when those countries such as the Soviet Union, which have tried to run everything from the centre, are learning that success depends on dispersing power and decisions away from the centre, there are some in the Community who seem to want to move in the opposite direction. We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.

Certainly we want to see Europe more united and with a greater sense of common purpose. But it must be in a way which preserves the different traditions, parliamentary powers and sense of national pride in one’s own country; for these have been the source of Europe’s vitality through the centuries. (…)

Certainly we want to see Europe more united and with a greater sense of common purpose. But it must be in a way which preserves the different traditions, parliamentary powers and sense of national pride in one’s own country; for these have been the source of Europe’s vitality through the centuries. (…)

Ela avisou. Convém relembrar o que Thatcher disse. Há muitos em Bruxelas que ainda não perceberam.

Bernardo Blanco

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