Danish parliamentarians get ready to adopt a new access law with politically sensitive documents kept secret by definition. Undemocratic and outrageouls arrogant, critics say about the ”Yes-Minister-law”.
Denmark’s reputation as a pro-transparent country is at stake, warns leading expert in media law Oluf Jørgensen: ”This will draw international attention,” he says, pointing at a unique possibility to conceal reports from a minister to a closed circle of parliamentarians:
”This is in clear breach with the principle of division of powers”
Tim Knudsen, a professor in political science has a similar comment:
”Slotsholmen (home of the parliament and governmental departments on a tiny island in Copenhagen) shields itself and weakens democracy.”
These comments are triggered by a proposed new legislation on access to official documents. One single paragraph causes the uproar:
”The right of access does not include internal documents and information exchanged at a time when there is specific reason to believe that a minister has or will have a need for the advice from an civil service and assistance between:
1) A ministry department and its subordinate authorities.
2) Various ministries.”
An agreement culture
In a previous version, tabled by the then liberal-conservative government, this clause was explicitly called exemption for ”services to ministers”. This should not be mixed up with ”internal working papers”, known in many access laws, as the exemption covers documents in their final version as well as document sent to and from different ministerial department and authorities.
As the proposal now has been re-tabled by the present government (centre-left) the provocative and ridiculed term ”services to ministers” has been deleted.
Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov (Social Democrats) argues that the change of words is important, while representatives of the former government fail to see the change in substance.
The urge among Danish politicians to ring-fence correspondence between authorities and ministers can be explained by an established culture where parties enter into pre-legislative negotiations and agreements before proposals are officially tabled.
This is demonstrated at length by how the proposed law has been dealt with.
Behind closed doors
As journalists grew aware of what was in the making they asked for access to documents related to the secretive talks between the former and the present government. This was denied.
Also, suggestions to make the new proposal subject to an official hearing have been rejected.
”This is outrageously arrogant,” says Pernille Skipper, MP of the Red-Green Alliance a leftist party, being part of the government’s political platform in the parliament. Right wing Danish People’s party and Liberal Alliance oppose the proposal as well.
None of the three parties have themselves held governmental positions, contrary to the parties now backing the law.
According to the critics some of the well known political affairs recently would most likely not had been known by the public had the proposed law been in force.
This includes deliberate attempts by the previous government to bypass international conventions on refugees, and a on going case about prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s personal taxes. In this case members of the former government are suspected of having intervened in decisions taken by the tax authorities, with the purpose to discredit a political opponent.
In spite of the strong criticism, it is assumed that the proposal will pass in Parliament later in spring as a majority of the parties already have agreed to adopt the law.
Readers known to the political process in the EU would recognise this as a parallel to the so called trilogs (”three partite negotiations”) where the Commission and the Council negotiate with representative of the Parliament behind closed doors, leaving the public in the dark, and non-participants only to accept a done deal.
Staffan Dahllöf is a Swedo-Danish journalist specialising in EU issues
As far as I am concerned people may eat as much horse meat as they like. As much, anyhow, as they can eat of e.g. cow, calf, chicken or crab. As long, that is, as the animals have been treated properly before setting out for the journey through the abattoir and on to the diming table.
Consequently, concerning the recent horse meat scandal, my indignation is not aroused by the present of horse meat – but by what the scandal reveals: that the EU food control has broken down in the most pathetic way, and that we, the consumers, are left at the mercy of organised criminals and unscrupulous food manufacturers in the sacred name of the Single Market.
In the EU animals are a commodity, alive or frozen, subjected to the unlimited free movement within the Union. Consequently it is not unusual for a pork chop to have travelled all over Europe before ending up on my frying pan. The horses of the recent scandal were slaughtered in Romania, sold to the Netherlands, sold on again to Cyprus in order to be bought by a French company which sent the meat to be processed at a factory in Luxembourg, after which the resulting product was sent by way of Swedish-based Findus to the frozen foods counters in most EU countries. But the EU Single Market is not only a single market for goods, but also for crimes. And during its journey the meat was “transformed” from being cheap horse meat to becoming expensive beef. And the super profit went straight into the pockets of criminals, enabling them to bribe civil servants and politicians and thus become still more powerful. This is scary!
Consequently it is an understatement of the century when highly placed persons in the EU calls the horsemeat scandal a “labelling problem”. Naturally they are right in saying that it is in itself a scandal that what the labels say is not what the packets contain. When the label says “beef” the consumer should as a matter of course be able to trust that the packet contains beef.
But the true scandal is that this has been taking place for months without being found out and stopped immediately. And that there is no guarantee that there is not more of the same out there in the shops. In this specific case the problem was not discovered until the Irish food control happened to test 27 burger products and to find traces of horse DNA in 10 of them. In some cases there was 75 per cent horse meat in a beef burger!
But horse meat is not dangerous, some people will say. And that is quite right: horse meat as such is not dangerous. Unless, that is, it is full of remnants of medicine because it comes from horses who have been given medicine against various diseases. It could be horse AIDS which is quite widespread in Romania.
But if it is possible for organised criminals to swindle over the sort of meat they will also be able to swindle over the quality of the meat. This leads to the harsh fact that at present the authorities are unable to guarantee be it species, quality or health in manufactured foods. The uninhibited travelling of meat products around the EU proves that the market for foods is out of control.
The short term solution would be to establish an efficient national food control which does not give a contract for the task to foreign authorities, mafia controlled abattoirs or private super market chains whose first priority is profit. In the long run we need a fundamental change in the way food is organised. It is, among other things, about bringing an end to the long transports of living and dead animals, ensuring a connection between where the animals are raised, where they are slaughte
In both cases such solutions will clash with the EU Single Market rules. That means that we shall have to make a choice. The alternative will be more scandals discovered – and still more scandals remaining undiscovered.
Søren Søndergaard is MEP for The Danish People’s Movement Against the EU Translation: Luise Hemmer Pihl
Wishing you every success with your annual convention.
The Danish People’s Movement has been an invaluable part the Danish political landscape for many years. Despite the many obstacles, both blatant and subtle, erected by the EU establishment, your movement has managed to survive and remain central contributor to debates on the EU and how it impacts on the key fundamental principles of democracy. However, your impact has not just been at a national level. Throughout all the member states of the EU your effect has been felt and for this we are eternally thankful.
The impact of your organization has been felt right across EU member states. Campaign’s on EU referenda have not only been inspired by you but have also received invaluable and crucial support in trying to defeat further EU treaty changes that have further eroded our democracies.
At this crucial period of EU chaos it is essential that you keep up the good work so that you can help like-minded groups in other countries.
Without your inspiration and support the No votes to EU treaty change may never have happened.
Both TEAM and the EUD have come about as a result of your work and campaign and members of both organizations will be looking forward to working together with you in the crucial months and years ahead.
Denmark is now facing yet another attempt to erode the few democratic protection measures that you have managed to achieve over the years – your opt-outs of Justice & Home Affairs, Military and EURO seem to be once again under threat. Many people across the EU are envious of your achievements and we will endeavor to help you in fighting against the forthcoming attempts to remove your valuable opt-outs.
Sincere best wishes for your future success.
Coordinator of TEAM
President - EUD
Par ALAIN BOURNAZEL
Le septième sommet européen qui s’est tenu à Bruxelles, les 16 et 17 décembre, fut, comme les précédents, consacré à la crise financière. Cette constance du problème suffit à montrer que le mal est à la fois profond et durable. Il paraît bien lointain le temps du rêve idyllique où M. Trichet déclamait ingénument que le Fonds Monétaire International (FMI) n’aurait pas à intervenir en Europe car les pays de l’Union européenne étaient à l’abri d’une crise du fait de l’euro. Aujourd’hui, la crise c’est l’euro et le FMI est appelé à la rescousse.
L’Allemagne dicte sa loi
Avant le sommet européen, Mme Merkel, comme à l’accoutumé, a exposé sa stratégie au Bundestag. Elle a souligné que la monnaie unique profitait tout particulièrement à l’Allemagne. Donc il fallait défendre l’euro. Notre Président de la République n’ayant, semble-t-il, sur ces questions que les idées vagues qu’il faut bien appeler l’ignorance, a immédiatement accepté la thèse de la chancelière allemande. Dans le couple franco-allemand, c’est la femme qui commande.
Et le Conseil européen de poursuivre dans la stratégie qui consiste à essayer de remplir un tonneau sans fond. Le capital de la Banque Centrale Européenne (BCE) est pratiquement doublé ; de 5,76 milliards d’euros, il doit progressivement être porté à 10,76 milliards. Par ailleurs un fonds permanent de secours pour résister aux crises financières doit être mis en place, ce qui nécessite au passage une modification du traité de Lisbonne. Ce fonds que Mme Lagarde qui a décidemment le sens de l’humour qualifie « d’ajustement majeur » a pour objet de rassurer les marchés sur la capacité de résistance de la zone euro ;
Le culte de l’idole
L’Antiquité avait connu le culte des idoles. Cet acharnement à vouloir à tout prix défendre l’euro a quelque chose de pathétique ; les générations futures auront sans doute du mal à comprendre cette vénération enfantine et idolâtre pour un système non seulement inefficace mais malfaisant. Où est-elle la prospérité qui nous était naguère promise par la zone euro? L’austérité imposée par la crise accule la Grèce aux lisières de la guérilla urbaine. Malgré trois plans de rigueur depuis 2008, et des secours financiers importants du FMI et de l’Union européenne, l’Irlande est enlisée dans un déficit abyssal qui atteint 32% de son PIB. Et l’agence Moody’ vient de baisser de cinq crans sa note. Le Portugal est en crise. L’Espagne vends une partie de ses aéroports et supprime l’allocation de fin de droit que touchaient 700 000 personnes ; le chômage frappe 20% de la population active. L’agence Moody’s vient de placer le pays sous surveillance négative. L’Italie conjugue une croissance faible (1%) et une dette considérable 1900 milliards d’euros.
La France n’est pas épargnée
Depuis le passage à l’euro, la France accuse une perte de compétitivité. L’investissement est poussif. La croissance se situera aux alentours de 1,6%. Mme Lagarde annonce une croissance de 2% pour 2011 ; non seulement elle a le sens de l’humour mais elle rêve. L’Europe de Bruxelles enfonce chaque jour davantage les pays de l’Union dans uns catastrophe qui leur coûte cher aujourd’hui, et qui, dans peu de temps, leur coûtera très cher. Bref, les pays européens sont placés à un carrefour décisif. Où bien en finir avec l’Europe de Bruxelles. Où bien affronter des révolutions.
The Sick Europe of the Euro
In this article, Alain Bournazel, president of Rassemblement pour l Indépendance de la France (RIF) and member of the TEAM Board, comments on the situation of the Euro after the December 2010 EU Summit. Alain Bournazel stresses the fact that Germany is the country which profits most from the Euro, but that the common currency is harmfuld to most other EU countries, and that France is among those. The article compares the faith in the Euro with the cult of idols in the Antiquity and continues:
”There is something pathetic about this stubborn insistence on defending the Euro at all costs: probably future generations will find it difficult to understand this childish idolatry and veneration for a system which is not only inefficient but even harmful.”
The article also sums up a number of the well known arguments against the Euro and sums up the situation in these words:
”In short, the European countries are at a decisive crossroads. They must either put an end to the Europe of Brussels or face revolutions.”
A public inquiry is needed into how the Irish people have been turned into indentured debtors of the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF, as a result of joining the Eurozone
Irish people need to know this if they are ever to recover their economic prosperity,not to mind their democracy and politic independence.
They need to know who was ultimately responsible for the disastrous situation they now find ourselves in, trapped inside the Eurozone when they did not need to join it in the first place.
EU Member States outside the Eurozone like Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic are not caught up in the current torments of the Euro. They can weather the economic recession better because they have kept their national currencies and with it control of their rate of interest or exchange rate.
Most Irish economists, this organisation and several non-governmental groups warned at the time of Ireland´s 1992 Maastricht Treaty referendum that abolishing the Irish pound would be the biggest mistake the Irish State ever made. The second biggest mistake ? largely a consequence of the first - was the 2008 blanket Government guarantee of all the debts of Ireland´s private banks
The period 1993 to 2000 was the only period in the history of the Irish State when it followed an independent exchange rate policy and effectively floated the Irish currency. That gave it a highly competitive exchange rate and with it the ?Celtic Tiger? growth rates of over 7% a year.
It is impossible to have a lasting monetary union that is not also a fiscal union, part of one State, with common taxes and a common budget. However Ireland?s Euro-fanatics pushed the country into the Eurozone against all the economic arguments.
They were impelled by their zeal to help build an EU superstate led by Germany and France, without any national democratic control. Such a construct would inevitably lack the mutual identification and solidarity between its members which would sustain transfers from the rich countries to the poorer ones sufficient to compensate the latter for loss of their capacity to run independent budgetary policies or restore their economic competitiveness through currency devaluation.
It was profoundly irresponsible to abolish the Irish pound in order to join a monetary union with States with which Ireland did only one-third of its foreign trade, while simultaneously halving interest rates at the height of an economic boom. That made things ?boomier?, as Ireland´s then Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern put it. It set the country on the borrowing binge that followed, and the catastrophic course Ireland?s Government has since taken with its Banks.
It is the grand panjandrums of Irish Euro-fanaticism: Peter Sutherland of Goldman Sachs, Garret FitzGerald, Alan Dukes, Pat Cox, Brigid Laffan, Brendan Halligan, Ruairi Quinn and David Begg, who ultimately impelled the Republic of Ireland to surrender its political independence and democracy in the Eurozone.
As influential, although their names are unknown to the public, are the “career federalists” of Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Department in Iveagh House, Dublin, who form the policy and write the speeches of successive Foreign Ministers. They are keeping their heads down these days and are happy to let the country´s Department of Finance take the rap for its current economic debacle. However it is they more than any other element in Ireland’s civil service who have steered its ship of state on to the rocks. Cheering them on throughout have been uncritical elements in our media, above all in the editorial office of the Irish Times.
There is deep irony in the fact that their zeal for ever more EU integration has turned Ireland into a bomb inside the “infernal machine” of the Euro-currency, hastening its inevitable demise, and in the process possibly plunging much of the world into the second phase of a W-shaped recession.
Henceforth Irish voters will be more critical of what these people say when they enthuse for ever “more Europe”.
The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre
24 Crawford Avenue
Binding the euro to the krone would make more sense that the other way round, says an American economist Peter Schiff:
”As Denmark is pursuing a financial and monetary policy that is better than that of other European countries, it does not make sense to bind the krone to the euro. In actual fact it would make more sense to bind the euro to the Danish krone. If you want to cheat in an examination you do after all glance towards the cleverest guy in the class – not towards the most stupid one.”
This is the unambiguous message to the politicians and people of Denmark in an exclusive interview at epn.dk with the American economist and president of the investment company Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, who has become well known for predicting the global financial crisis.
The interview can be found (alas, in Danish) here.
From (Labour Movement) CAEF - Campaign against Euro-federalism (in Britain)
To our trade union colleagues in Greece. We express solidarity with the actions taken by trade unions in Greece against the draconian criteria of the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact, and the dictats of the European Central Bank.
It is clear that cuts in Public Expenditure are part of an EU wide onslaught by big capital, the European Round Table of Industrialists, European Commission and Germany in particular.
These interests want the working class to “tighten their belts” and pay for and resolve the ills of the fiscal and economic crisis. At the same time it is an attempt to hand everything to the private sector and remove democratic accountability without any regard for the social consequences.
It is clear that for Greece and other EU Member States, including Britain, in a similar situation that the only rational course is to fully recover the right to self-determination and national independence and democracy.
We wish you every strength in your actions in this crucial period.
CAEF is a member of TEAM
by ANTHONY COUGHLAN (Dublin)
Wednesday 2 December 2009
With the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty on Tuesday 1 December, members of the European Parliament, who up to now have been “representatives of the peoples of the States brought together in the Community” (Art.189 TEC), become “representatives of the Union’s citizens” (Art.14 TEU).
This change in the status of MEPs is but one illustration of the constitutional revolution being brought about by the Lisbon Treaty.
For Lisbon, like the EU Constitution before it, establishes for the first time a European Union which is constitutionally separate from and superior to its Member States, just as the USA is separate from and superior to its 50 constituent states or as Federal Germany is in relation to its Länder.
The 27 EU members thereby lose their character as true sovereign States. Constitutionally, they become more like regional states in a multinational Federation, although they still retain some of the trappings of their former sovereignty. Simultaneously, 500 million Europeans becomes real citizens of the constitutionally new post-Lisbon European Union, with real citizens’ rights and duties with regard to this EU, as compared with the merely notional or symbolical EU citizenship they are assumed to have possessed up to now.
Most Europeans are unaware of these astonishing changes, for two reasons. One is that, with the exception of the Irish, they have been denied any chance of learning about and debating them in national referendums. The other is that the terms “European Union”, “EU citizen” and “EU citizenship” remain the same before and after Lisbon, although Lisbon changes their constitutional content fundamentally.
The Lisbon Treaty therefore is a constitutional revolution by stealth.
A constitutionally new European Union
The EU Constitution, which the peoples of France and Holland rejected in 2005, sought to establish a new European Union in the constitutional form of a Federation directly. Its first article stated: “This Constitution establishes the European Union”. That would clearly have been a European Union with a different constitutional basis from the EU that had been set up by the Maastricht Treaty 13 years before.
Lisbon brings a constitutionally new Union into being indirectly rather than directly, by amending the two existing European Treaties instead of replacing them entirely, as the earlier Constitutional Treaty had sought to do. Thus Lisbon states: “The Union shall be founded on the present Treaty” - viz. the Treaty on European Union (TEU) - “and on the Treaty on the Functioning of the Union.” These two Treaties together then become the Constitution of the post-Lisbon European Union. A new Union is in effect being “constituted”, although the word “Constitution” is not used.
What we called the “European Union” pre-Lisbon is the descriptive term for the totality of legal relations between its 27 Member States and their peoples. This encompassed the European Community, which had legal personality, made supranational European laws and had various State-like features, as well as the Member States cooperating together on the basis of retained sovereignty in foreign policy and defence and in crime and justice matters.
Lisbon changes this situation fundamentally by giving the post-Lisbon Union the constitutional form of a true supranational Federation, in other words a State. The EU would still lack some powers of a fully developed Federation, the most obvious one being the power to force its Member States to go to war against their will. It would possess most of the powers of a State however, although it has nothing like the tax and spending levels of its constituent Member States.
Three steps to a federal-style Constitution
Lisbon’s constitutional revolution takes place in three interconnected steps:
Firstly, the Treaty establishes a European Union with legal personality and a fully independent corporate existence in all Union areas for the first time (Arts.1 and 47 TEU). This enables the post-Lisbon Union to function as a State vis-a-vis other States externally, and in relation to its own citizens internally
Secondly, Lisbon abolishes the European Community which goes back to the Treaty of Rome and which makes European laws at present, and transfers the Community’s powers and institutions to the new Union, so that it is the post-Lisbon Union, not the Community, which will make supranational European laws henceforth (Art.1 TEU). Lisbon also transfers to the EU the “intergovernmental” powers over crime, justice and home affairs, as well as foreign policy and security, which at present are not covered by European law-making, leaving only aspects of the Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy outside the scope of its supranational powers. The Treaty thereby give a unified constitutional structure to the post-Lisbon Union.
Thirdly, Lisbon then makes 500 million Europeans into real citizens of the new Federal-style Union which the Treaty establishes (Arts.9 TEU and 20 TFEU). Instead of EU citizenship “complementing” national citizenship, as under the present Maastricht Treaty-based EU (Art.17 TEC), which makes such citizenship essentially symbolical, Lisbon provides that EU citizenship shall be “additional to” national citizenship.
This is a real dual citizenship - not of two different States, but of two different levels of one State. One can only be a citizen of a State and all States must have citizens. Dual citizenship like that provided for in Lisbon is normal in classical Federations which have been established from the bottom up by constituent states surrendering their sovereignty to a superior federal entity, in contrast to federations that have come into being “top-down”, as it were, as a result of unitary states adopting federal form. Examples of the former are the USA, 19th Century Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Australia. Lisbon would confer a threefold citizenship on citizens of Federal Germany’s Länder.
Being a citizen means that one must obey the law and give loyalty to the authority of the State one is a citizen of - in the case of classical Federations, of the two state levels, the federal and the regional or provincial. In the post-Lisbon EU the rights and duties attaching to citizenship of the Union will be superior to those attaching to one’s national citizenship in any case of conflict between the two, because of the superiority of Union law over national law and Constitutions (Declaration No 17 concerning Primacy). The EU will be constitutionally superior even though the powers of the new Union come from its Member States in accordance with the “principle of conferral” (Art.5 TEU). Where else after all could it get its powers from? This is so even though the Member States retain their national Constitutions and their citizens keep their national citizenships. The local states of the USA retain their different state Constitutions and citizenships, even though both are subordinate to America’s Federal Constitution in any case of conflict between the two. The tenth amendment to the US Constitution alludes to the principle of conferral when it lays down that powers not delegated to the US Federation “are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people”.
Likewise, it is not unusual for the Constitutions of classical Federations to provide for a right of withdrawal for their constituent states, just as the Lisbon Treaty does (Art.50 TEU). The existence of these features in the Constitution of the post-Lisbon European Union does not take away from its federal character.
An alternative source of democratic legitimacy to the Nation State
Under Lisbon population size will in turn become the primary basis for EU law-making, as in any State with a common citizenry. This will happen after 2014, when the Treaty provision comes into force that EU laws will be made by 55% of Member States as long as they represent 65% of the total population of the Union.
Lisbon provides an alternative source of democratic legitimacy which challenges the right of national governments to be the representatives of their electorates in the EU. The amended Treaty provides: “The functioning of the Union shall be founded on representative democracy. Citizens are directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament. Member States are represented in the European Council by their Heads of State or Government and in the Council by their governments…” (Art.10 TEU). Contrast this with what is stated to be the foundation of the present Mastricht Treaty-based EU (Art.6 TEU): “The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States.”
The constitutional structure of the post-Lisbon EU is completed by the provision which turns the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents into an “institution” of the new Union (Art.13 TEU), so that its acts or its failing to act would, like those of the other Union institutions, be subject to legal review by the EU Court of Justice.
Constitutionally speaking, the summit meetings of the European Council will henceforth no longer be “intergovernmental” gatherings outside supranational European structures, as they have been up to now. The European Council will in effect be the Cabinet Government of the post-Lisbon Union. Its individual members will be constitutionally obliged to represent the Union to their Member States as well as their Member States to the Union, with the former function imposing primacy of obligation in any case of conflict or tension between the two.
One doubts if all the Heads of State or Government who make up the European Council themselves appreciate this!
As regards the State authority of the post-Lisbon Union, this will be embodied in the Union’s own executive, legislative and judicial institutions: the European Council, Council of Ministers, Commission, Parliament and Court of Justice. It will be embodied also in the Member States and their authorities as they implement and apply EU law and interpret and apply national law in conformity with Union law. Member States will be constitutionally required to do this under the Lisbon Treaty. Thus EU “State authorities” as represented for example by EU soldiers and policemen patrolling our streets in EU uniforms, will not be needed as such.
Although the Lisbon Treaty has given the EU a Federal-style Constitution without most people noticing, they are bound to find out in time and react against what is being done. There is no European people or demos which could give democratic legitimacy to the institutions the Lisbon Treaty establishes and make people identify with these as they do with the institutions of their home countries. This is the core problem of the EU integration project. Lisbon in effect has made the EU’s democratic deficit much worse.
It is hard to imagine that this EU Constitution by stealth will not make struggles to reestablish national independence and democracy and to repatriate supranational powers back to the Member States the central issue of EU politics in the years and decades ahead.
Anthony Coughlan is Director of the National Platform EU Research and Information Centre, Dublin, and President of the Foundation for EU Democracy, Brussels. He is Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin. He may be contacted at 00-353-1-8305792.
Le blog d’Alain Bournazel
En quelques jours le paysage européen vient de subir une transformation brutale. Elle ne procède pas d’un miracle mais de la prise de conscience d’une réalité que l’on avait cherché à cacher.
Depuis des années, les responsables politiques de tous bords, droite et gauche confondues, de Paris, de Berlin, de Bruxelles et d’ailleurs serinent les peuples que l’Union européenne doit être dotée d’institutions lui permettant de fonctionner efficacement. Tous les moyens ont été utilisés pour imposer ces institutions : projet de Constitution Giscard, rebaptisée mini-traité par Nicolas Sarkozy, propagande à outrance, dérogations accordées (en parfaite violation du droit des traités) à la Pologne, l’Irlande, au Royaume-Uni, à la République Tchèque, etc., suffrage universel bafoué aux Pays-Bas et en France. Et que constatons-nous, après ce laborieux parcours ? Ces nouvelles institutions imposées plus qu’adoptées, subies plus qu’acceptées, non seulement n’apportent aucune simplification au fonctionnement de l’Union mais compliquent encore une machinerie d’une effroyable complexité.
Comme l’ont noté les observateurs politiques, en désignant comme président du conseil européen, M. Van Rompuy, Premier ministre d’une Belgique en voie de désintégration et la baronne travailliste, Catherine Ashton comme Haut représentant pour les Affaires étrangères, les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement ont choisi des personnages qui ne leur feraient pas d’ombre. D’une certaine manière, ils reconnaissent que le pouvoir légitime est celui qui émane des Etats. C’est d’ailleurs ce que nous pensons. Mais on peut s’interroger sur les raisons qui ont poussé les dirigeants européens à mettre en place un système qui aujourd’hui les effraie. Constatons simplement – une fois de plus – que les plus belles sottises viennent souvent des gens intelligents et instruits.
Sottise institutionnelle certes, mais également lourde charge financière. M. Van Rompuy va recevoir à compter du 1er décembre 22.000€ nets par mois. Il aura droit à 22 collaborateurs permanents et à 10 agents de sécurité. Mme Ashton bénéficiera de 275.000 euros par an. Un service de 5000 personne est en cours de constitution pour assurer la représentation de l’Union dans tous les pays du monde, représentation qui doublera celle des Etats membres.
A Bruxelles comme à Paris, on dilapide les deniers publics, alors que la pauvreté progresse dans tous les pays européens.
by Niall, Ireland
To understand the Machiavellian machinations behind the EU Project we must examine the psychological roots of the rapacious centralisation of power. Watching Europe’s political class squirm after Ireland’s No vote, I couldn’t help but feel that some of them know something we don’t: there is an agenda that must be met. Ireland could not be threatened into sealing the nEU Deal, yet it’s business as usual for the fanatical Eurocrats who are adamant nothing will get in their way.
It is evident, for those with eyes to see, that political discord between rival criminal cartels is purely for public consumption. Bread and circuses. Policy is not shaped by party politics. Decisions are made by a few: everyone else adjusts or starves. Weapons of financial mass destruction deployed by Central Bankers and Disaster-Capitalists, under the guise of protecting the markets and improving the efficiency of the system, vacuum the wealth of the nations – the work people produce – into ever fewer hands.
article from Max Andersson (TEAM Board member) published on globalaffairs.es:
It fell! The Lisbon Treaty was rejected. The variegated gathering of Irish no-voters succeeded. On the no-side was everything from Sinn Fein, socialists, trade unionists and green grassroots to peace-lovers, catholics and a think tank with roots in big business. They defeated a yes-side that by and large was identical with the Irish establishment. All the big political parties advocated a yes. The media were on the yes-side. EU itself meddled in the campaign, and the European Commission kept back unpopular proposals regarding agriculture and militarization to avoid damaging the yes-campaign. And yet the no side won.
The broadening of the EU-criticism
The variety of the Irish no-side is certainly particularly Irish, but it reflects an international trend. Once upon a time the EU-criticism would be either rightwing or leftwing in different countries, but this division is seldom seen nowadays. Now the EU-criticism can be found in all parts of the political spectrum. This development can be seen in Sweden as well. The important dividing line in the EU-debate is between those who are parts of the political establishment and those who are not.
During the weeks to come we can expect a lot of articles analyzing the reasons for the no-victory. But while I await these detailed analyses based on hard facts from the opinion polls, I ponder the analysis I heard in a youth hostel last summer from the nestor of the Irish EU-criticism, Anthony Coughlan.
Already at that time he foresaw that the Irish yes-side would encounter great difficulties. The Treaty undermines the Irish neutrality and makes it obvious that small countries such as Ireland will loose influence. And unlike the situation at the previous referendums the yes-side had nothing positive to offer to tempt people to vote yes. He predicted that the yes-side would be reduced to using the European group-pressure as an argument and simply try to make the voters feel guilty. And if that is your best argument, there is no easy way to victory.
The failure of Plan B
The big question is: what is going to happen to the Lisbon Treaty now? All EU-countries must ratify the Treaty if it is to come into force. But the European elite has no intentions to respect any referendum that goes against their plans. What usually happens when a country votes no to continue along the road towards a European Superstate is to make the country vote again, or, as in the French and Dutch case, make it accept the proposal without asking the people a second time.
Before the Irish referendum the EU-leaders maintained that there was no Plan B if the Irish voted no. But the Lisbon Treaty is, in fact, nothing but a renamed version of the EU-constitution, that had already been rejected. We are in the middle of Plan B, and Plan B has failed.
The step-by-step model
We cannot be sure that EU dares to try the same tricks again. It is more likely that large parts of the Lisbon Treaty will be implemented by numerous minor changes under the present treaty rather than by rewriting the Lisbon Treaty and risking new referendums. Those parts of the Lisbon Treaty that cannot be carried through in this way can be smuggled in via a new accession treaty with Croatia, Plan C for Croatia, so to speak.
This is unfortunately a likely scenario, but it will also mean that the EU’s total lack of democratic legitimacy will become apparent to all. The EU-constitution has already fallen twice. It is time for it to rest in peace.
The need for a new Convention
What should be done instead is to appoint a new Convention that, without any preconditions, can work out a brand new proposal for how EU is to be governed, what tasks shall be assigned to it and how the competences shall be distributed between EU and the member states. Of course every member country shall have a referendum about this proposal. And the Convention shall consist of people with independent ideas about European questions; unlike the previous Convention it shall be made up of ordinary people instead of elderly politicians with strong inclinations to constructing the United States of Europe.
MP for the Swedish Green Party and member of the TEAM Board
European political elite is trying to overtake the legitimate results from Ireland. Observers of political life can see “young and restless” politicians like the Finnish Foreign Minister Mr. Stubb who have to exercise the same repetitious subliminal messages in line with “Lisbon is not dead”and similar.
“The treaty is not dead. The EU is in constant crisis management - we go from one crisis to another and finally we find a solution,” Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb told reporters, noting the bloc had dealt with past voter setbacks.
However Europeans defending democracy already respond to such attempts or provocations. In Facebook there are notable shifts to the groups like “Respect the Irish NO: stop ratification of the Lisbon Treaty” with already over 1.200 members.
In such Facebook groups one can find many useful hints on what to do and where to click - for example if you are British citizen your most efficient action for beginning would be to sign the petition…
Europe in action!
…and Margot in turmoil:
Also do check other related videos e.g. “Reaction”.
Statement from TEAM, The European Alliance of EU-critical Movements
The result of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is a triumph for democracy. The Irish voters have rejected a treaty that is undemocratic and militaristic. They have thereby rendered all Europeans an enormous service, opening new possibilities for a cooperation among the European peoples that is democratic, equal and peaceful and respects the sovereignty of each member state.
TEAM, The European Alliance of EU-critical Movements, a cross-political network of more than 50 organisations from over 20 countries, notes that the Lisbon Treaty has fallen and that the ratification process in other EU-member states should be called off immediately.
The German chancellor and the French president claim in their first reaction to the result of the Irish referendum that the Lisbon Treaty is necessary “in order to make the European Union more democratic and efficient”. In other words - in order to make the EU more democratic it is necessary to ignore the result of a truly democratic referendum. This statement reveals the degree of hypocricy in the EU-elite!
The EU-constitutional project has thrice failed to pass its democratic test: in France and The Netherlands in 2005 and, in a slightly made-up version, in Ireland in 2008. The EU-elite should realize by now that the peoples of Europe want a different form of community, based on other values. Its unwillingness to do so, however, makes it the more important that all committed citizens and organisations initiate discussions, create visions and forward-looking proposals pointing out the many possibilities for a truly democratic and peaceful European cooperation.
TEAM shall gladly contribute to this process, and expresses its warmest gratitude to the Irish people for giving all Europeans the possibility of doing so.
Thank you Ireland!
TEAM is a cross-political network of more than 50 organisations from over 20 countries in and outside the EU.
For further information please contact: coordinator Jesper Morville, firstname.lastname@example.org, or secretaries Blaž Babič, email@example.com or Argo Loo, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are links to LIVE RESULTS:
The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre
24 Crawford Avenue
Tel.: 01-8305792 ;
Thursday 12 June 2008
TODAY'S LISBON TREATY VOTE
Whether people vote Yes or No to the Lisbon Treaty today, Ireland’s national interest and the best interests of future generations here and across Europe undoubtedly call for a No vote, for the reasons set out in the article below.
The Lisbon Treaty would endow the legally new European Union which it would establish with a revamped version of the EU Constitution that was rejected by the French and Dutch peoples in 2005.
This post-Lisbon EU would, inter alia, have the constitutional form of a supranational EU Federation, in which Ireland would be reduced to the status of a provincial state from being a sovereign one hitherto. Irish citizens in turn would be constitutionally transformed into real rather than symbolical citizens of a Federal European Union, rather as American citizens are citizens also of their local American states, or Federal Germany’s citizens are citizens of Germany’s Länder. Regrettably, this constitutional revolution which Lisbon would bring about in the EU itself, its Member States and in the civic status of four million Irish and nearly 500 million Europeans has scarcely been referred to in Ireland’s referendum debate.
The main reason for this is the failure of the statutory Referendum Commission to carry out its function of explaining the “subject matter of the proposal” in the Constitutional Amendment, “and its text”, which is what people have been voting on today.
written by Arnaud HERVE
There are those who oppose anything European, those who accept anything European as providence, but there are also those in-between who desire a stronger Europe, while keeping a critical attitude as regards its democratic deficit. For the critical Europhiles, it was very good news indeed when the “European political parties” were created.
They are also labelled “European parties a European level” or “Europarties”. They were were embryonic in the treaty of Maastricht in 1992 (section 41), confirmed in the treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 (Article J.18 and Article K.13), but it is really the treaty of Nice in 2001 (Article 2, section 19) that granted them an autonomous status.
Unlike the Irish, hundreds of millions of other persons in Europe haven’t been enabled to step up to the ballot box with our opinion of the Treaty of Lisbon. This makes me regard Ireland and the quality of democracy in your country with a tinge of envy.
Over the years, we’ve seen many incremental changes made to the EU, from the initial unassuming brainchild of a Coal and Steel Community to arrival at a Customs Union and the EEC, building up eventually to the European Union. Instead of being accidental, a methodical process is being revealed to us.
by Arnaud HERVE, Brest, France
As public life across Europe becomes more politically correct every year, it is becoming more and more difficult to describe the coarseness, wiliness, the mixture of irrationality and lies of real-life historical strategies. It is also becoming »incorrect« to take time to display how far international decisions can be absurd, so deeply absurd. All those things that seem so dignified now, and in fifty years will be described as reckless, last-resort and slightly ridiculous political moves.
You remember the Rome Treaty, supposed to be the foundation of Europe in 1957? Nobody is telling you presently that you should be cautious about that, right? During this campaign in Ireland the general agreement is that such an old treaty shouldn’t be debated any more, right? That it is a decent, basic text that should be left to some academics in some history classes for specialists, and that as modern and responsible citizens you should concentrate on present practical issues.
Well, I can tell you a secret. Try to look on the Internet for videos of the signing of the Rome treaty. You will see decent gentlemen, all so poised in their elegant suits, signing the treaty in a large prestigious Italian building, as decent heads of States should. Take time to rewatch the hands of those gentlemen signing the common document. The secret is, only that precise page of the Treaty of Rome was printed. The rest of the document was blank. It was a blank, white, empty stack of paper. The poised gentlemen signed a treaty that was a fraud.
by Laurent Dauré & Dominique Guillemin
On February 4th, the French Parliament voted in the bill modifying title XV of the French Constitution in Versailles, and three days later, on February 7th, the Treaty of Lisbon was formally ratified.
The Lisbon Treaty, which provides for the reform of the EU’s institutions, was drawn up to replace the draft European constitution, which was first rejected on May 29th, 2005 by 55% of French voters and then on June 1st, 2005 by 61% of Dutch voters.
How did we go from the voters’ refusals to the adoption of the text by Parliament in 2008? Before the 2005 public vote, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, chief author of the constitution, declared: “It is a good idea to have chosen the referendum, so long as the outcome is yes.”(1) And one year later: “The rejection of the constitution was a mistake which will have to be corrected.”(2) In spite of the French and Dutch NOs, some countries did adopt a constitution which had little chance of success, an indication that the initial project was not amendable: “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘On we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘We continue.’ (…) If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said ‘No,’ would have to ask themselves the question again.”(3)
Many unclear and foggy manoeuvres will remain the trademark of this year’s ratification process.
Due to diverse legislation procedures in all 27 EU member-states it is hard to keep track of specific ratification in one member. In this manner Austria only yesterday legally ratified the REUC (Lisbon Treaty) when their President “Heinz Fischer on Monday (28th of April) signed the Lisbon Treaty “after conscientious examination of all the factors,” thus formally finalising the ratification process in Austria.
And EUobserver continues with logical conclusion that “ten other countries have ratified the document.”
What is more worrying is that it’s so hard to find any news on the status of specific ratifications - in Czech Republic and in Germany ratifications are legally and practically still far from finalisations. In Slovenia the Constitutional Court still has not found the time to investigate possible breaches of Constitution regarding holding a referendum. We have seen news from Hungary that individual court cases have been raised.
However if it’s Ireland we have to be worried about - apparently the skies are becoming clearer by the day: “Polls are narrowing”. Also people in Ireland are measurably (62%) under-informed over the gargantuan treaty.
Fact is - we have to prepare ourselves for “the day after”. It will be Friday June 13th and it will be a good day for Europe and the World if this monster of a treaty is stopped.
NEWSFLASH: Quite a charming news came from the Great Britain yesterday (2nd of May). Namely millionaire Stuart Wheeler has succeeded in gaining leave to appeal from the High Court over the government’s refusal to hold a referendum on the EU (constitutional) Lisbon treaty. The proceedings started last month and now two judges have ruled that there is an “arguable case” which warrants of full hearing. This, we are told, is likely to take two days, scheduled for 9-10 June.
Although Mr. Wheeler is considered by many as a man of good fortune it would not go well in the history of the Great Britain and Europe in general if he would be stood out alone with quite enormous litigation costs on his own back. Therefore he did make space for his kinsmen and other European activists to help him in the legal quest for justice, democracy and freedom.
Interesting - on 9th and 10th of June mr. Bush of USA comes to Europe and on 12th of June Ireland tosses the dice.
At the EUDemocrats website this news broke out:
A new scandal was revealed today, Thursday April 24th. Twenty eight (28) leading multinational companies have had their own lobbying office in the European Parliament, with Parliament’s telephone number and address.
It came to our knowledge that certain Chairmen of certain Committees in the European Parliament (ok, it’s Jo Leinen) have become careful beyond regular level. Apparently this has something to do with the “politically sensitive nature of some of the issues at hand”. Since it would be unlikely that they’re talking about Cuban cigars it must be something more serious - like the Renamed EU Constitution.
This morning the EU-court passed a sentence upon the so-called ”Rüffert-case”. The case concerns a legal conflict between the German Bundesland Niedersachsen and the construction company ”Objekt und Bauregie GmbH & KG”.
We have already made two graphs to visualise “representation” of electorate within the EU member-states. First one was published after the ratification in France and questionable statements by Barrosso and we made the second one after the Bulgarian ratification.