21:48 GMT +321 November 2018
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    European Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a speech as he makes his State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on September 14, 2016.

    'Dangerous and Misguided EU Must Do Less, Better' - MEPs

    © AFP 2018 / Frederick Florin
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    As the EU prepares for Brexit, France votes on two euroskeptics and Brussels battles with Greece, Hungary and Poland, a group of MEPs have called for massive reforms of the "misguided and dangerous model of a centralized federal European state."

    The MEPs from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) — the third largest group in the European Parliament — say the EU should "do less, but better" in a damning report published to coincide with the State of the Union summit in Florence, Italy.

    "The European Union has overreached. It has become too centralized, too ambitious, and too out of touch with its people. It has been failing to address issues that concern people the most. Since the moment we were founded we have called for a fundamental reform of the EU and the way it works," the group said.

    "We have warned that the concept of a forced United States of Europe would only distance the EU further from the citizens. We have warned that the problems with the euro have only been kicked down the road. We have warned that EU immigration policies without an effective and ambitious returns policy would only mean a deepening migrant crisis."

    ​"The right future for Europe is neither break-up nor a superstate. But a community of sovereign nations cooperating in areas where it makes sense. We in the ECR are saying enough is enough, it's time for a serious change," the group said in a statement.

    Brexit, Rule of Law

    The group's statement comes at a time of deep divisions within the EU, which is just beginning the process of negotiating Brexit — the exit of Britain from the EU and its new relationship with the bloc, in a first for the EU.

    It also comes as both Poland and Hungary are at odds with Brussels over the 'Rule of Law' principle, free speech and democracy, as well as a row over migrant relocation. Greece — as well as Italy, Spain and Portugal — is struggling to implement austerity measures demanded by northern euro member states, which has caused friction within the eurozone. 

    The group's report suggest that Brexit may be used as a blueprint for a new EU — a groups of sovereign trading nations — which may even rule out Brexit altogether.

    "The misguided and dangerous model of a centralized federal European state should be rejected in favor of looser, confederal association of nation states," the statement says.

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    EU in crisis, Greek debt crisis, migrant crisis, Brexit, unity, eurozone, French Presidential Election 2017, State of the Union, European Parliament, European Union, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Europe, United Kingdom, France, Greece
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