Eurozone Finance Minister, Jurgen Ligi, describes Supreme Court Judges calls for referendum as “pornographic”. The Treaty to Establish the European Stability Mechanism, the one that David Cameron vetoed, goes ahead but has faced a serious rebellion in one of the countries where the treaty was subject to scrutiny by a Constitutional Court – Estonia. Readers of this site will be familiar with events: here and here , that Indrek Teder, the Chancellor of Justice or Constitutional Ombudsman had made an objection to the ESM treaty and called for a Judgment by the Constitutional Court. The headline news was that the ESM Treaty was approved by the court and that passing in Parliament would be constitutional. But there was a large and powerful dissent. There are 19 judges of the Supreme Court and nine of them dissented against the ruling. It was not just the numbers of judges who dissented that is shocking but also the strength of their objections and the language used. Consequently, there is a call for a referendum. At the end of this article are details of how all readers can help. The ESM Treaty was considered by the Estonian Supreme Court en banc, this is the highest body of the Supreme Court, which is comprised of all 19 justices of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court en banc is convened and chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, (Riigikohus), when the case is of too great importance for the Constitutional sub-court. The official communiqué on the judgment of the contested article in the ESM Treaty said that it “limits the financial mandate of Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament), the principle of a democratic country with the Rule of Law and infringes upon Estonia’s sovereignty, but the limitations are justified.” Justified? When is it justified to limit the sovereignty and democracy of a nation’s parliament? How? “Stability is necessary for the Estonian state to be able to meet its Constitutional obligations, including guaranteeing individuals’ fundamental rights,” the statement went on to say. So there you have it: it is necessary to make a serious breach of the Constitution in order to be able to meet the Constitutional requirements. Is this Kafka or Orwell? No, it’s the EU. The constitutionality of the ESM was considered by the 19 judges. A total of five dissenting opinions from ten judges were submitted with the ruling. The majority carried because one of these opinions was that the Court should not have considered the Ombudsman’s objections at all. The nine dissenting judges expressed themselves in very clear and strong terms indeed. Jüri Ilvest, Tambet Tampuu, Jaak Luik, in their individual statements made straightforward calls for a referendum. Five Justices, in a joint report, Henn Jõks, Ott Järvesaar, Eerik Kergandberg, Lea Kivi, Ants Kull and Lea Laarma are saying “There are doubts whether the ESM itself is not already such a fundamental change in EU Basic Law which requires permission from the people”. In his interview to the Baltic Times Daily, Estonia’s Finance Minister, Jürgen Ligi, claimed that debates over European bail-out programs are beyond the public’s grasp as well as beyond the abilities of Riigikogu. And, in case you have heard that level of arrogance from politicians before, he went on: “Demands that every single person needs to understand everything and that every single person be polled are, in my mind, pornographic.” In the past independence campaigners have been called “Enemies of the State” (by a Justice Minister) British spies working for Moscow (by a Prime Minister) but being called “pornographic” is new but lower. In Baltic Times, he explained that popularity is not the objective of international relations as not all national interests can be translated to the level of individuals. Mr Ligi, the ESM is not about international relations, it is about people being taxed without control by their representatives in Parliament. The Euro is not stability, it is vanity. Constitutional Court Justice Jüri Ilvest in his different opinion in the case said “My position is that The Constitution of the Republic of Estonia Amendment Act (the act that amended the constitution to allow joining the EU) does not give the right to ratify the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM Treaty) without holding a referendum”. Constitutional Court Justice Tambet Tampuu : “As the case has to do with breaching the Estonian Constitution’s basic principles which are listed in the first chapter of the Estonian Constitution, it means that according to Constitutions § 162 these kind of breaches must be decided by the people as a sovereign”.
So, it looks like David Cameron was entirely right to make his “veto”, which was only a British optout in reality. But it must be noted by our British readers that this whole thing has happened without any influence by nor even mention of David Cameron’s action. Perhaps the strongest and most chilling objection was made by Constitutional Court Justice Jaak Luik who actually compared what is happening today with events in 1940. It used to be considered outrageous when a NO-campaigner in the accession referendum made such comparisons with the Soviet occupation but now Constitutional Judges says these things in court: “Because the Estonian Republic law in year 1940 gave to an Estonian President the right to dismiss Estonian Government on basis of special law and also to appoint a new Government it was introduced into the the Estonian Constitution a special sovereign defence clause forbidding giving away the Estonian independence and sovereignty just by norms of competence. .. As the Estonian Constitution § 1 point 2 states: ‘The independence and sovereignty of Estonia are timeless and inalienable’ it means that there is no room for interpretation - the taboo of giving away the sovereignty is absolute for ever and in changing legal space.“ http://www.riigikohus.ee/?id=11&tekst=222548598 Constitutional Court Justice Jüri Ilvest’s different opinion in Court Case said that ” I can not concur to this theory that in a globalised world all concepts - even sovereignty – are having a new revised meaning; that everybody is “voluntarily” giving away or “pooling” every element of freedom and identity created during thousands of years. The objecting judges also noted that this whole process had been rushed through not allowing proper time for consideration nor for all process. It should also be remembered that Estonia commits a higher per capita percentage than any other country. The smaller countries do: Germany 7.45 percent and Italy, 8.05 percent and Estonia 8.52%. Indrek Teder had also questioned that ESM could be imposed by 85% of votes. He said it should be unanimous since the six big countries of the Eurozone controlled 85% and Estonia only 0.186% of votes. In addition to everything else, ESM requires Estonia (population about 1.3 million) to promise 150 million Euros and promises another 1 billion in loans. With every seventh Estonian being in receipt of food-aid and wanting a say on their future, you have to wonder what kind of pornography Jürgen Ligi watches with his fellow ministers. Soldier, businessman and democratic campaigner, Mati Väärtnõu, reminds us that Finance Ministers, like Jürgen Ligi, will have immunity from prosecution under the ESM Treaty – it would rather explain Mr Ligi’s contempt for the opinion if the people and the constitution. Mati Väärtnõu also says ”Estonia, Ireland and everyone will be locked into ESM – there will be no legal way out for any of us.” What you and all Euroscepics can do to help our Estonian friends: Mati Väärtnõu is the initiator of an official petition to parliament demanding a referendum on ESM. Of course sovereignty should not be surrendered even with a referendum, but a referendum is a way of the people stopping what is wrong. Please go to http://www.petitsioon.com/esm_rahvahaaletusele - you are asked, in the boxes, for your first name, family name, town (linn) and country (Riik) and email address. You are asked to click the button to sign (allkirjasta) and asked yes or no (Jah/ei) to your name being visible – best to click “jah”. It has a feature which allows you to say what country you are from. It is also helpful if you click the facebook prompts on that page and also “like” this article and forward it around. Together, Europe can be free of the EU.
On 1 January 2011, the Republic of Estonia will adopt the euro by abandoning its national currency, which has functioned successfully for 18 years. As the culmination of their “Save the Estonian Kroon” campaign, Estonia’s euro opponents will light candles across the country on december 31st in order to protest the liquidation of the Estonian kroon. The euro critics are also distributing their successful posters entitled, “Estonia! Welcome to the Titanic” and “Stop the Euro-rouble”. One poster depicts a sinking Titanic, with stacks emitting clouds of smoke that signify Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
Lawyer and historian Anti Poolamets, who is the leader of “Save the Estonian Kroon” campaign and designer of the poster, explains, “Estonia is like a passenger that got the last ticket for the Titanic. The party is continuing on the upper decks of the ship that was thought to be unsinkable, but the iceberg has already appeared on the horizon. Since the ship does not have sufficient watertight partitions and lifeboats, all the passengers will not be able to escape in case of a collision. I hope that Estonia will be among those that find a lifeboat.”
“Estonia has managed very well for 18 years with its national currency. The euro will not bring stability like the politicians have suggested. For years, Estonia has conducted a principled fiscal policy – do not live beyond your means. As a result our country has the lowest government debt in Europe – 7% of GDP. Bailout projects in the eurozone make Estonia’s no-debt policy absurd – Estonians will have to pay the bills of banking machinations in other countries” says Poolamets.
“I think that national currencies work better for the welfare of European countries because they better reflect the economic realities and differences therein. The “one-size-fits-all” ideology of the eurozone is more of a reflection of the dreams of the European bureaucracy for a federal Europe than based on economic reasons. When 23 non-elected officials at the European Central Bank Governing Council make uncontrollable decisions about the common interest rates of the eurozone countries with 330 million people, which can lead to the economic downfall of the member states – this is like the fulfillment of the dreams of the former Soviet hyper-centralist bureaucracy,” Poolamets believes.
Poolamets asks, “How can one trust a system where almost nobody follows their own rules that were set up by the Maastricht criteria and the Stability and Growth Pact?”
In October 2010, 1,524 people were surveyed by Estonia’s leading social and market research provider Saar Poll. In answer to the question, “Do you support the transition from the Estonian kroon to euro?” 53% of the respondents said no to euro, only 34% said yes, and 13% didn’t have an opinion. Little has changed in the last months, as only 25 percent of Estonians support their country’s adoption of the euro, a fresh survey (29.12.2010) by the Estonian Institute of Economic Research finds. The Estonian Institute of Economic Research is owned by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country’s largest business association.
Press release sent by: Peeter Proos
Press officer of the “Save the Estonian kroon” campaign
Further information: Anti Poolamets
Phone: +372-56 91 43 74
About public opinion polls:
Saar Poll OÜ
The Estonian Institute of Economic Research
TEAM, the umbrella organization for 32 EU critical organizations from different parts of Europe can not understand the logic behind the Estonian Government´s decision to replace the Estonian Kroon with the Euro.
Estonia will switch to the Euro during the worst crisis in the history of the Euro - and by joining the euro without a referendum, the Estonian government is not only gambling with the Baltic nation´s economy and welfare but also with its democracy and right to self-determination.
Opinion polls have consistently shown that a majority of Estonians are not only against the Euro but also want a referendum on the issue. However, Estonia´s government has chosen not to follow the democratic example of its Nordic neighbour countries - Denmark and Sweden - who allowed their citizens to have a free and open vote and the final say on whether or not to join the euro.
Instead, the Estonian Government is following the example of those less democratic states in Europe that neglect the political will of the people and refuse to let them have a say on their own future destiny. The tragedy is that the Estonian Government is allowing itself to be used as a propaganda stunt to give credit to the Euro´s future.
The TEAM board believes that the 1st of January 2011 is a sad day not only for Estonia but for all of Europe. The voice of the people is a fundamental element of true democracy, and any power that suppressed the voice of its people does a disservice to all nations that have fought hard to promote and protect democracy.
For more information contact:
TEAM coordinator Patricia McKenna (Ireland) phone: 00353 87 2427049 and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Board member Lave K. Broch (Dennmark) phone 0045 2892 2127 and e-mail: email@example.com
Polls in UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Estonia show a clear No to the Euro
21st of July 2010
In at least five EU countries there is a majority against the Euro. In referendums you can’t vote “unsure” – only Yes or No count. Therefore below “unsure” has been taken out of results.
In June 2010 polls have been carried out in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Estonia all showing a clear No.
In Denmark, Danmarks Statistik made the poll for Danske Bank, showing that 56 per cent would vote No if there where a referendum today.
In Sweden, Statistiska centralbyrån SCB made it, showing that 68 per cent would vote No.
In Germany it was Ipsos who made it, showing that 63 per cent would vote No.
In Estonia, TNS Emor made it, showing that 56 per cent would vote No.
In the United Kingdom, the latest poll is from April 2010, made by YouGov, showed that 76 would vote No.
Out of these five EU countries only Germany has the Euro today. The German government has no intention of calling a referendum on the Euro. The EU has said finally Yes to admitting Estonia to the eurozone from January 2011, and the Estonian government has no intention of having any referendum. In Denmark, it is still the official goal of the government to call a referendum with the view of securing a Yes. The governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden have chosen the opposite position, shelving all plans of a referendum on this issue.
French think euro exacerbates crisis
So far we do not have any polls on Yes or No to the Euro from other EU countries. If anyone knows about recent polls, please send us a link about it to ib (at) folkebevaegelsen.dk. However we have found an interesting poll from France made in June 2010 by TNS Sofres for Europa 1, itélé and Le Monde. It shows that 68 per cent of the French think that euro will exacerbate the consequences of the crisis (read more in Le Figaro)
Source: Folkebevaegelsen mod EU, Denmark
It just had to happen. Finnish, Estonian and Greek parliaments have today proved for the last time before the Irish spectacle that current European national political elites have flown far, far away from their electorates.
Shame on them, shame on us for having such representatives.
A large majority of Finnish deputies – 151 out of 200 – on Wednesday (11 June) voted in favour of the document, while 27 opposed it and 21 were absent, according to AFP news agency.
A little later on Wednesday afternoon, the Estonian parliament also approved the Lisbon treaty. Its vote was almost unanimous: 91 votes in favour and one against. Nine MPs abstained.
The Greek parliament ratified the Lisbon treaty with 250 to 42 votes late on Wednesday, just hours before Irish citizens vote on the document. With Greece, 2/3 of EU states have started or completed the treaty’s ratification.
More on that in EUobserver.
One can ask how a country as small as Estonia relates to the debate on the future of Europe? What kind of role can Estonia play in finding solutions for European cooperation? I want to explain to you that Estonia’s role might be very important for finding solutions for Europe. The accession to the EU is the top priority of the current foreign policy of Estonia.