The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Lisbon Treaty

  • "As for the changes now proposed to be made to the constitutional treaty, most are presentational changes that have no practical effect. They have simply been designed to enable certain heads of government to sell to their people the idea of ratification by parliamentary action rather than by referendum." — Dr Garret FitzGerald, former Irish Taoiseach, 123
  • "There’s nothing from the original institutional package that has been changed." — Astrid Thors, Finnish Europe Minister, TV-Nytt, 23rd June 2007
  • "They haven't changed the substance - 90 per cent of it is still there." — Bertie Ahern, Irish Prime Minister, Irish Independent, 24th June 2007
  • "In terms of content, the proposals remain largely unchanged, they are simply presented in a different way... The reason is that the new text could not look too much like the constitutional treaty." — Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, former French President and Chairman of the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution, addressing the Constitutional Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, 17th July 2007
  • "The good thing is that all the symbolic elements are gone, and that which really matters – the core – is left." — Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, in Jyllands-Posten, 25th June 2007
  • "A referendum now would bring Europe into danger. There will be no Treaty if we had a referendum in France, which would again be followed by a referendum in the UK." — Nicolas Sarkozy, French President, The Daily Telegraph, 14th November 2007
  • "If we needed a referendum we would have one. But I think most people recognise that there is not a fundamental change taking place as a result of this amended treaty." — Gordon Brown, The UK Prime Minister, interviewed by the BBC, 24th September 2007
  • "A great part of the content of the European Constitution is captured in the new treaties." — José Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister, El Pais, 23rd June 2007
  • "Only cosmetic changes have been made and the basic document remains the same." — Václav Klaus, Czech President, , in Hosposarske Noviny, 13th June 2007
  • "The good thing about not calling it a Constitution is that no one can ask for a referendum on it." — Giuliano Amato, former Italian Prime Minister and Vice-Chairman of the Convention which drew up the Constitution, speech to the London School of Economics, 20th February 2007
  • "The substance of the constitution is preserved. That is a fact." — Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, speech to the European Parliament, 27th June 2007
  • "For Austria it was important to keep the essence, to keep the institutional side of it intact, and also to keep the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is the essence, and we were able to safeguard that." — Ursula Plassnik, Autrian Foreign Minister, BBC 10 o'clock news, 7th September 2007