European Union should be dissolved, puts institutions ahead of people, Czech President tells Brandeis audienceReleased on September 23, 2005
Photos by Mike Lovett
“What we need is a revision of the whole project,” Vaclav Klaus told more than 350 people at Brandeis University, on the second day of a two-day visit to the Boston area. His Brandeis appearance was coordinated by the university’s International Business School, which gave Klaus its highest honor – the Dean’s Medal for Distinguished Leadership.
“I really believe that we should do something as soon as possible,” he said. “It was not necessary to centralize.” But, he added, the EU is likely here to stay. Klaus said the international community should forget about the idea of building “a state of Europe,” and that the EU parliamentary system is mired in its own bureaucracy, bogged down under some 750 representatives from member countries. “There is no individualism,” he said.
Citing a list of “hidden assumptions” by EU proponents, Klaus said he doesn’t believe that a united continent as it is envisioned now could make the individual countries stronger. He said he is wary of the homogenization, standardization and harmonization of the continent through the EU.
He said his country has progressed politically into a normal European country, but is not as free, independent and sovereign as it expected to be because of the EU. The Czech Republic has 24 members, Klaus said, and “I don’t believe they can represent anything important.”
Klaus dismissed “the prevailing view” that everything that has happened in post Cold War Europe is a result of the EU. “To assume this is ridiculous,” he said, adding that improvements in Europe are more the result of international diplomacy and active participation by the United States.
“My enemy in the European Union is the ideology of Europeanization,” he said. “There are institutions which can be made democratic,” said Klaus, “but I think that a continent-wide structure cannot be made democratic by anyone.” He said he does not believe that the EU is needed, as some argue, to check U.S. dominance or that it spurs improved economic competition. “There is no economic competition among continents,” he said, but only between major corporations from separate nations.
Klaus called the monetary union for Europe “a strictly political project” designed to further political cohesion without consideration of a cost-benefit analysis for the individual countries.
Some 250 people packed the Shapiro Campus Center Theater for Klaus’s talk, while about 100 others – mostly students – watched the address live from the atrium.
Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz, speaking at a Faculty Club luncheon, formally invited Klaus to return to the University to teach. He said Brandeis University and the Czech Republic are linked because it has a city named Brandeis, where ancestors of the University’s namesake, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, once lived.
IBS Dean Peter Petri presented the leadership medal to Klaus and moderated a panel question and answer session between Klaus and Jytte Klausen, associate professor of comparative politics; IBS Professor Stephen Cecchetti; and Katarina Ivanovic, an IBS M.B.A student. Cecchetti invited Klaus to visit Brandeis when he visited him last April.