Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Thursday, 15 November 2007

Your visions of Europe's future

Baroness Thatcher
Baroness Thatcher made her famous Bruges speech in 1998

British politicians - from Baroness Thatcher to David Miliband - have travelled to Bruges, in Belgium, to set out their vision for the future of Europe.

On Thursday, Mr Miliband used his speech to call for an expansion of the EU into the Middle East. Nearly two decades earlier Baroness Thatcher made a stand against an "identikit European personality".

We asked you to come up with your own Bruges speech - setting out how you would like to see Europe develop over the next 20 years - in less than 100 words.

Here is a selection of the most interesting and lively entries, reflecting a balance of the views received.

Friends, Europeans, other countrymen. I come not to praise the EU, but to bury the Common Agricultural Policy. Once this ridiculous subsidy is gone, we can enter a new age of petty bureaucracy together. After all the French are on strike already. P.S. We have far too many accountants - can we send you some, as you seem to need them.

We want a super state in which all the money is burnt by bureaucracy and wasted by initiatives. We want a super state in which legislation is not thought through, and ends in countries being out-competed. We want a super state that believes that capitalism is not the answer. We want a super state that undermines sovereignty in every way and uses its ultimate wisdom to bring power to the people by centralisation. We want this super state and so you should want the EU.
John MH, London

In twenty years, the call for federalism will be ten times greater than it is now - it's a real possibility. We have to set out our stall of keeping a sensible but safe relationship within the EU, maintaining its shape as for what it was intended. Otherwise, we will be thrown into a position where the only choices will be federalism or utter isolation.
Lloyd, Neath, United Kingdom

Europe is not a replacement for NATO or the UN and should not seek to be. Its size should remain as it is for the next 20 years. However we should have significantly increased electoral representation, and decreased power for individual states. All immigrants to the EU should have Beethoven's ninth symphony played loudly on repeat for 3 days, before given citizenship.
Jack Moxley, Brighton

My Bruges Speech: "The United Kingdom has decided to leave the European Union."
Nick Troake, Westerham

Dateline 2027. The third attempt by the US to join the EU has again been thwarted by EU new members Russia and Iran, who argue that Europe will be flooded with guns and Americans seeking free health care. As British FM I would like to point out that once the US has solved their problems with GMO pollution, the US would fit better into the new Super EU than into the Latin American Socialist Economic Union. Venezuelan opposition to US membership of the LASEU may not be permanent. We should act now to prevent further US collapse.
rob brownell, colchester

In 20 years time, Europe will hopefully be a beacon of democracy, a bustling and growing economy and a place renowned for its keen and enthusiastic interaction with the rest of the world. It will be a good neighbour, helping Africa to develop through investment and free trade, spreading the free market values and principles that helped Europe achieve its current wealth. There is one unifying thing that all of these visions of a bright future for Europe have in common - for any of them to come about we must first free ourselves of the EU.
Ed, London

I see a time when we are truly united and EU members will be able to work anywhere within the union. But we must work towards a common language and English being the most widely used of the EU languages would seem the favourite choice for most speakers. Turkey won't be able to join until they stop imprisoning writers who happen to chronicle true history, and when they begin to treat not just women equally, but men, women and children plus animals too. We will close the borders to terrorists and chuck out suspect terrorists. We'll all work together and in doing so we'll prosper. We need a true feeling of being united in Europe. We must forget our past differences, the holocaust and the German invasions of yesterday. We are all brothers and sisters with a common cause, and together we will be great.
Philip Hatch, Maidenhead UK

Take your pseudo-socialist republic and go away. We're offski for a quaint old tradition called democracy (look it up in a dictionary). We will trade freely with every nation on earth giving poor countries a chance to better themselves. You can hide in your customs union and hope it all goes away. Au revoir and bon chance. (You can keep Peter Mandelson though)
Neil, Crichie

The American Eagle, The Chinese Dragon and the European Lion. I see Europe as the perfect counterbalance, a third superpower, preventing a second cold war, and ushering in a new era of co-operation. Europeans have been through so much together, from Austerlitz and Waterloo to Ancient Rome and the Blitz, we need to realise that we have far more in common with our friends over the channel, who we can admire as equals, than our "partners" across the pond, who treat us as subordinates.
Myko, England

Sorry to the people of the UK for forcing you to give up your right to be a sovereign nation and join a bunch of corrupt unelected officials who want to know every detail of your existence and prevent you doing anything which has the slightest element of risk. Thank you for paying for it as well.
Paul Chandler, Winchester

A very short and very simple speech. I envisage a Europe unencumbered by Brussels, where the EU is nothing more than a bad memory and people are able to go about their lives free of its malign influence. This is a wish not just for Britain but for the whole of Europe which has been so badly damaged by the corrupt and undemocratic attempts to 'unite' us.
Richard Tyndall, Newark, England

"Comrades, having refused the British Electorate a referendum on shovelling them into this Wonderful Socialist Superstate, against their will, and in full knowledge that they have never, ever, been asked if they wish to abandon their British Identity, and hand over government of Great Britain to a bunch of foreigners, We now have a Greater Vision. We will create an International Socialiphate, er, sorry, International Socialist Superstate, to encompass the Very Globe, spreading happiness and contentment throughout the Whole World, and especially in Brussels."
Roger Lee, Cheshire

Europe's future will be determined by her fidelity to her political heritage. Further expansion may be possible, but the first order of business is to set out the legitimate powers of government at the European and national levels, the rights of citizens, and most importantly to address definitively the democratic deficit in both the adoption of treaties and the ongoing actions of the European government. Today there is almost no meaningful role for the European voter, and no stable formula for addressing the twin claims of popular democracy and legitimate national interests. Europe could do worse than to have a upper chamber with equal representation for all nations, and a lower chamber based on proportional representation of the European populace.
William Salter, New York

Of course the Westminster Club are going to fight against us becoming truly European. They have a vested interest in our not being a full member. If we also add in all the commercial interests - better standards of living, better working conditions, longer holidays etc., any UK politician worth his salary would be against us joining. I want to see a referendum conducted after a fair and unbiased media campaign to tell the British people what the real advantages to EU membership are, and not what Murdoch and co want to tell us.
UKcerberus, Warrington/UK

I wish that in 20 years the EU has turned into a federation. All this nationalism in Europe seems rather ridiculous to me. For me it is hard to understand why some politicians only see the dividing element in the other and try to corrode the system and undermine this fantastic idea of an integrated Europe. However, I equally wish that those countries, who do not like a more integrated EU will have the courage the leave the Union so that the others can move forward.
Clemens Rieder, Reading, UK

I envision a Europe where continuing prosperity for all its peoples is understood by all its people and politicians to necessitate collective responsibility and action which supersedes narrow national interests. An acceptance that collective action does not diminish individual states nor their distinctive character and that her institutions are built on a meritocracy with the objective of safeguarding the interest of all the people of Europe regardless of race or creed or nationality. Further integration of key institutions including a single integrated European defence force within the NATO alliance with a single European nuclear deterrent. European technology programmes for both fusion and Space technologies. Expansion driven by hard economics and not wishful thinking.
Terence Carlin, London

European unity is essential not only for Europe itself, but also as an example for other regions, like Latin America or the Arab world. This is the only way to save and revive regional cultural identity and self-rule. We can no longer afford mini nations as their sovereignty is nothing but self-deception in the face of so-called super powers.
Markus, Horncastle

The EU is a 'European' institution. It is not an African institution, an Asian institution nor a Russian institution. When you mix the different cultures involved you do not get a homogenous mix, if you doubt this research the history of the Balkans and then consider the modern reality in that region. An enlarged Europe should be the most European it can be, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the shores of the Barents and from the Atlantic margin to the Russian border. Within those bounds we should be the best Europeans we can possibly be and we should be the best Europeans imaginable on the global stage. Anything else is both vulgar and aggressively conceited. Europe has way too many problems within these boundaries to be considering expanding beyond them. Only politicians wish to expand further, only politicians and civil servants are served by further expansion. European taxpayers are not and nor are our military who have to act as policemen in global firefights to clear up the mess the politicians make. In a rational society lunatics and madmen are locked up to protect society as a whole. When next the European parliament convenes we should consider locking the door and throwing away the key.
G. Harris, Glasgow, Scotland

Little Englander I am not, but protector of Europe I will be. I will ensure that the insane ramblings of David Miliband will never be allowed to take root in the minds of the feeble and naive. This man and his idea of bringing Russia, North Africa and the Middle East into the EU will bring about the fall of Europe as any sort of power. Elect me El Presidente of Europa and he will be the first up against the wall to face the firing squad! The rest of us shall move on and set about removing the stain of corruption from Brussels and for once getting the accounts signed off as legal, while ensuring that Turkey remains where it is, part of Asia!
John Gallagher, Battersea, England

The only way a larger European Union will work is if the one-size fits all model is dropped. Every piece of legislation running through the EU should be properly scrutinised by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, and each nation should be able to choose what they get involved in and how far they should take it, as long as there is no possibility of becoming a free-rider. Eventually best practice should prevail and it will all run smoothly. The Commission and bureaucracy also needs out of the political decisions and should focus on implementing policy, and France should give it up and put all the EU bodies into Brussels rather than waste money on the Gravy Train to Strasbourg.
Ashton Cull, Manchester, UK

Europe should be a trading block. Nothing more, nothing less. "Ever greater political union" is neither needed or wanted by the vast majority of people that live in the countries that make up the EU.
Richard Holloway, London

If Europe is destined to be an entity with more influence on what moves the world, it should firstly have a solid democratic base, secondly a philosophy based on shared values and thirdly accountability. A Europe sharply divided along economical, cultural and religious lines makes no sense, but for big West-based companies. So, why not instruct those who represent us to do more to make the UN stronger in order to improve the standard of living for everyone? This probably will take less effort than to get the different unruly societies of this imaginary EU+ in line for a non-existent shared ideal beneficial for mankind. So far the democratic standard of the EU gives no cause for optimism to begin with, and the populace have more reason to feel like 'cannon fodder' than respected citizens. I rather describe myself as world citizen, a peaceful Terran instead of a righteous European.
JJ, The Hague, Netherlands

Maybe one day a united peaceful planet would be great. But in the mean time we should have a set of strict criteria for Europe membership e.g. peace loving nations with tolerance and something to aid Europe with its goal. Not some idea to let people into Europe like a mad sale rush and encourage hate and instability. Europe will need be to ready before new member countries are ready.
James R, Bristol

Britain's future in the EU needs to be reconsidered, and a referendum should be held. The British taxpayers are spending millions of pounds every week, just to have red tape and other EU regulations hinder our Trade, our laws and our ability to run our own country.
Jordan Royal, Newport, UK

Europe is moving towards the creation of a single state with an Eurasian facet and now is the time for the British people to step back from Europe and look towards the sea as our greatest leader, Winston Churchill, long advocated. He saw a state of Europe but one from which Britain remained aloof. Our destiny is elsewhere. We wish you well but we request that you extend us the same courtesy.
Andy, York, England

Twenty years from now Europe should encompass all the continent's secular and liberal democracies of Christian heritage. And if the family is to extend beyond that then it should include countries such as Australia and Argentina, both more 'European' than Turkey can ever be.
Royston Jones, Abergynolwyn, Gwynedd, Wales

The greatest European speech was by De Gaulle. He simply said "NON". Europe in 20 years, or less, will go the way of The Balkans.
John Ball, Bristol

We find ourselves attacked on all sides, both at home and abroad. At home, there is a growing right wing which seeks to destroy us from within; to divide us and drag us back into the darkness of isolation. Le Pen in France, the Nazis in Germany and the BNP in my own; every country in the Union to is slowly losing this battle as more people are dissociated from the Union. So now is the time for action, for reform and change. To bring democracy to the people. No more appointments, no more Commission, only representatives of the people's democracy.
Stephen Clark, Pickering, North Yorkshire

I do not have a vision of Europe in 20 years, I am hoping for the sake of my family that we will be out of it. With respect, when we joined the common market, my parents were told it would create more jobs, but were never told about immigration, so the jobs are meaningless and labour is cheap. So who benefits? Business, Landlords and government.
C Crofts, Blackpool

Europe should look to consolidate its powers by tackling prominent issues such as religious expression, euthanasia, abortion, equality and terrorism by creating strong EU and ECC law on the matters, this way we wouldn't have one law for a strong country and another for a weaker one. In addition to this, it should also set about eradicating the present law of its loopholes and ambiguity.
Joseph Gibson, Stockton-on-Tees

From the enlightenment, to universal suffrage to art Europe has been a leader. Our cultures and ideas have spread to the very ends of the earth and beyond. In the last century after reaching the apex of what the nation state could do we entered into the darkest pages of human history with two devastating wars and our continent divided at the behest of foreign powers. In the last 20 years we have risen in friendship. In the next 20, if we have the courage, we may yet eclipse the accomplishments of the past, but we will be standing, together.
Joe Warburton, Southampton

"We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked, but not combined. We are interested and associated, but not absorbed." These words of Winston Churchill apply more than ever now. The EU is yesterday's idea. Europe as a continent is a great and diverse land, but the EU itself is a waste of money and an insult to democracy. We have EFTA, NATO and the UN, that's enough. Give us our freedom.
Jamie Mash, Northallerton, England

Trade, trade, trade. No superstate, no united states of Europe, no European forces. Our relationship should be focused purely on trade. Employment laws - to a degree and that's your lot.
James, Bristol, England

Expanding the EU to eventually include Russia with it's vast resources would seem logical. They are actually European. However, to try and expand such a conglomeration to Islamic and African nations is plain ridiculous. Only a fool would suggest it. Such would not only lead to vast migration flows in the tens of millions-especially from Africa into Europe,(with all the racial strife that would generate ),but trigger the collapse of the Union. If the Union is just to be "every country" regardless of geography-just abolish passports and border controls and declare a real free trade zone with limited tax and no social benefits.
John Fortune, London

Europe has at its centre one of the simplest ideas of government: We do together what we cannot do alone. It's called subsidiarity, and its simplicity is often missed. The goal of the EU is not just to solve problems, to stop wars, but to find how we, the people scattered over this continent can work together to produce all those things that we agree on. But when we can do it ourselves, in twos and threes and thousands, we need no more organisation. In that case what is most valuable is sharing information, so that we can learn together.
Josh W, Swansea

In 20 years time the CAP should be long gone, or drastically changed. Ideally, the EU should include Turkey, the Balkan states, Ukraine, Georgia, and possibly Armenia and Azerbaijan and, ideally, Switzerland, Norway and Belarus. Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan should join, if the problems in Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhchivan can be resolved. After all the nation states in Europe have joined, and the Lisbon treaty has been ratified, subsidiarity clause and all, the EU can "bed in", and in twenty years time it will be enjoying the stability of the first period in its history without major change - ideally.
Hugh Parker, Birmingham, England

I hope for and EU with an independent Scotland as a fully fledged member state. I'm Scottish and European and reject wholeheartedly "some sort of identikit" British identity.
Scott Telfer, Perth, Scotland

The European Union was founded on principles of democracy yet some citizens are not allowed to have their say on whether or not they want to be within the EU, that is not democracy. An EU that is not a federation but is just an economic or trading bloc would bring together the people of the member States more effectively than enforced integration could.
Stephen Phillips, Southampton, England

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