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Lord Owen: Eurozone is heading for ‘bust or federalism’

Civitas, 7 April 2016

Lord Owen, the former foreign secretary, warned today that the eurozone was on the path to ‘bust or federalism’.

Speaking to the cross-party think tank Civitas, he said the single currency had rendered the EU ‘dysfunctional’ with consequences for everything the bloc does.

Lord Owen, who was for many years a strong supporter of the EU, said: ‘It’s a different world with this currency.

‘It’s now become a dysfunctional EU. And it’s not just affecting euro policy or even just foreign policy. It’s affecting practically every policy they touch that requires strength, community and the capacity to get decisions out of 28 decision-makers.’

The peer said that the crisis in the eurozone was pushing its members in the direction of federalism in a desperate struggle to prevent the collapse of the single currency.

‘I honestly, having been a very strong European at various stages of my life, but never a federalist, have come to the conclusion it is only bust or federalism. Its direction is to go towards federalism, ultimately who knows whether bust.’

Lord Owen also said it was ‘dishonest’ of former ministers like Sir John Major, Lord Heseltine and William Hague to suggest that Brexit would lead to the break-up of the UK.

‘It is a totally unconstitutional threat. Referendums can’t be done every half-day, year, month, they are after all a lifetime choice,’ he said, adding that Scotland would not be accepted into the EU anyway.

‘They are never going to be accepted into the EU. The oil price may go up a bit but they’re in quite serious economic trouble. It’s a canard.’

Lord Owen was speaking during a seminar discussion at Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society on Thursday, April 7th.

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