Falsification of Europe’s Constitutional history is DANGEROUS
Dear President Barroso,
It is highly commendable that the European institutions should devote time and resources to inform Europeans and the wider world about the origin and functioning of the European Community and the European Union. It is also their responsibility. It is also the duty of Member States that should not be neglected. They and their populations have consented to this process and great experiment in peace. But, in a democratic system, all such campaigns must conform strictly to the truth, without fear or favour. It would obviously be a great disservice to the population if taxpayers' resources and the efforts of civil servants (who should be impartial) were used to propagate falsehoods and reinforce prejudice, not truth.
Many people who actually worked to unify Europe and others who read history books are shocked that the European Commission has launched a multimillion-Euro, Orwellian-style disinformation campaign. It aims to rewrite Europe’s constitutional history by saying it began in 1957. George Orwell's hero in his novel “1984” had the job for “Big Brother” of rewriting the real dates and events in the historical archives. Marketing cannot change historical facts.
It is simply not true that the EU started with the Common Market and Euratom treaties of Rome in 1957 as a new mass media campaign is saying. European officials first organized a Logo Competition for the “50th Birthday of the origin of the EU” for 2007. Now they are spending around 10 million Euro on a huge programme throughout the next year. “Together since 1957”. The German Presidency taking office in 2007 wants to propagate this mischief among the German and European young people. They say it could gain support to resolve the problem of the failed “Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe”.
Celebrating frauds or counterfeit European history is not only unethical. It is playing with fire and thus creating a smokescreen that will make current problems worse. It will deepen the referendum impasse. Why? Because it attempts to bury the most important achievement and the principles of European democracy in a celebration of dangerous materialism.
The major founding purpose of the European Community was announced well in advance. In May 1949 Robert Schuman, then French Foreign Minister, described it as a “a vast and durable supranational union” that would “put an end to war and guarantee eternal peace” amongst its States. He repeated this in the Schuman Declaration a year later. He said the Community would “make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” Thus this mission announcing an enduring European peace was repeated in London, France, Belgium and in North America. Few people believed him at the time.One writer had described Europeans as those who were preparing for war, fighting war or recovering from war.
What greater task could be imagined in an area where, from before the time of the Romans two thousand years earlier, nearly every generation had known war! Peace has now happened. In October 1953 Schuman told an audience of the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium: “I can say today without fear of contradition that this result (of making war impossible and unthinkable) is presently acquired.” Today it is obvious. Sixty-one years of peace. There is no comparable period of peace in western Europe since the so-called Peace of Augustus around 2 BCE and that was extremely shaky and only lasted a few years. This epoch-changing event happened just a few short years after Hitler's horrendous war of blood, hate and attempted extermination of races, religion and real understanding. The Second World War 1939-45 was the third war that had occured in the lifetime of a Frenchman or a German, born in or before 1870. The European Community embodies replacing revenge by reconciliation. That is among the greatest achievements in all mankind's history.
So why did the Commission and the Germans (of all people) come up with a silly idea that the Common Market and the Euratom treaties were the “Birthday of the EU". This is quite frankly nonsense. The governments and officials who came up with it would have got failing grades in any European history examination. What sort of confusion and deceit will this multi-million euro campaign sow among Europe's young people? They are the third generation who for the first time in history have never known war.
Warlike Common Markets
Did peace come through a customs union or a common market? In 1870 Bismarck's Prussian Customs Union process plunged Europe into war! Hitler too wanted a Common Market across Europe -- but under Nazi German control and aimed at fulfilling his evil, destructive plans. Unscrupulous industrialists also wanted to support Hitler's Common Market! So why celebrate the 1957 Common Market? It was NOT the “Birthday of the EU”! The real “Birthday” created a European Community whose aim specifically was to block forever Hitler's vile ideology of master race and his evil action.
What we should celebrate is how a just European system provided a means to govern all Europeans by themselves in liberty and equality and justice. Clearly the European governance system which brought peace not war is the event we should be celebrating. The birth of Europe's governance system occurred not with the treaty of Rome but SIX years earlier. Obviously the 1957 Common Market under the democratic rule of law would never have existed unless this first Community had worked in the first place to everyone's satisfaction. It created Europe's first Common Market in February 1953 for the coal and steel sectors. Celebrating Common Markets and thus avoiding this major historicial event of a new democratic system for Europe is an irresponsible and dangerous act. By 1957 nationalists had already reduced the democratic potential of the European Community.
Changing centuries of history
What is astounding and unrecognized by materialist politicians is that a European peace system could be designed and planned in theory and then brought into practice. But it was! In early 1950 Americans at the Marshall Plan emergency aid concluded that attempts at economic unification had been a failure. Europe's national democracies refused to integrate economically. Economic unions and common markets were too slow to develop and strewn with obstacles, Schuman said. “Other forms of economic unification had failed,” Schuman recalled at Bruges. Europe was in crisis. The idea of building Europe through a Common Market or general Custom Union was a key hope of the US massive and generous Marshall Plan activity. Integration had failed. If the mighty USA could not help Europe in building a single market, who could?
“No power on earth can remedy Europe's impoverishment as a result of two world wars,” concluded one American think tank, the Foreign Policy Association in March 1950. An epoch had ended. Europe's five centuries of glory and power following the discovery of the New World were finished, it said. Germany was the object of growing tensions between the West and the Soviets. A certain future of poverty and wars was foreseen. Hate and broken lives were a more severe post-war problem than the material damage. They were the seeds of the next wars.
The prognostication had been realistic but wrong. Something quite extraordinary happened. The first European Community changed all that. Two months later on 9 May 1950 the Schuman Declaration was made. Its purpose? “We had to attack the causes of the evil,” Schuman told the young people and professors at Bruges, “above all to bring an end to the antagonism and the exhausting rivalries. We had to substitute permanent cooperation in their place.”
Europe's birth dates from the 1951 Treaty of Paris. It applied five democratic and supranational organs to assure peace by managing together the most vital national interests: coal and steel. Coal as the main source of energy was equivalent to petroleum today. These two products were judged as the most essential for war and also for building peace together.
Governments could not have made such a bold step without the reconciliation first forged by courageous pioneers in all walks of life right after World War 2. As Robert Schuman, French Prime Minister and the founding father of our modern Europe, said: these pioneers, applying Christian principles, not only agreed to forgive others of the horrendous crimes committed during war. Surprisingly, he said, for those who were not aware of Christian principles, they also agreed to work to construct together the Europe of the future with former enemies. (Pour l'Europe, p44) Schuman was made a prisoner of the Nazis. The Gestapo interrogated him and threatened his life. Yet he worked more than others for real European reconciliation with Germans and all the peoples of Europe.
The pioneers' sacrifice and vision brought Europe its longest peace and today’s great prosperity. Europe's birth was not a Common Market. It occurred years earlier based on this spiritual dimension of reconciliation. Historically materialist common markets and customs unions have often encouraged envy, covetousness and competition without this moral basis. Schuman confirmed Europe had a more solid foundation, something he called a scientific discovery in the field of politics.
The Constitution Morass
Falsifying history does the pioneers and us today a great disservice. It will make problems for us all. Following the French and Dutch No votes in their referendums, creating a firm and improved democratic constitutional basis for the Europe is among the most important and delicate tasks that the European institutions are facing. Without a clear understanding of the fully democratic origin of the European Communities, it is difficult for the European public to understand what damage the anti-democratic opposition to European institutions has caused over the past half century.
Democracy, said Robert Schuman “is at the service of the people and acts in agreement with the people.” As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, he faced massive opposition in trying to reconcile Europe’s warring factions. Communists, Gaullists and nationalists combined with other opposition, often within his own political party. He warned of counterfeit ‘democrats’. Many ‘democratic’ leaders, for self-serving political reasons, tried to destroy or incapacitate the young, democratic European institutions. National democrats acted in a highly suspiciously undemocratic way of their democratic neighbours.
Fifty Years of Democratic Delays
It took ‘democratic’ ministers nearly thirty years to agree that to elect the European Parliament's 'representatives' by universal suffrage. And only after British MPs boycotted it. Yet this demand was written into the founding and constitutionalizing Treaty in 1951. Voters are still waiting for the promised single, fair and just electoral statute for all in the founding treaty's article 21.
Schuman said that sessions of Councils, Committees and other institutions should be open to the public and in fact be “under the control of public opinion.” What sort of democratic Council still excludes journalists and the public? The Soviet-style Popular Democracies -- Schuman called them “counterfeit democracies” -- imposed such “hypocritical disguise” to stifle democratic debate. North Korea still does. Today in the EU, the European public is still waiting for access to around 1500 'comitology committees' whose deliberations often affect their individual livelihoods. Why is such exclusion made against the obvious interests of the people? This is clearly not done "at the service of the people and acting in agreement with it."
“In a real democracy,” he said, “there is only one limit to freedom: the institutions of the State and Society must remain sheltered from violence and destructive intent. Every reform and each personal claim can be the subject not only of free discussion but moreover of an individual or collective action to the public powers in the way defined by law. There is no place in a democratic State for dogmatism that assumes it has absolute and inchangeable truth. God only is the Master and Judge of our consciences.”
The EU's Consultative Committees (and what should normally be their sub-committees) should be subject to democratic control of civil society. This ingenious and original institution for democratic ‘representatives’ of civil society was created by the Treaty of Paris. Civil society had major influence on all legislation and was the legally required. Yet what the Treaty called 'representatives' for civil society have never been democratically elected. Why? The original Consultative Committee was subject to illegal manipulation by ministers. Schuman and his legal colleague, Prof. Paul Reuter, who drafted much of the founding treaty and the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950, said so in a book. In the Rome Treaties, the membership of the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of Regions and the Scientific and Technical Committee is decided by secret, political patronage in closed Council meetings. How useful and critical is advice coming from committees of political pratronage? Having no real democracy for civil society has cost millions of Euros of waste. Patronage and its rigid bureaucracy were among the prime dangers to Europe’s future, Schuman said.
Democratic reform is the only way out of today's crisis. The so-called “Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe” was rejected by referendums in two founding Member States of the EC. They had more experience about what real European democracy should involve. That democratic vote means for French and Dutch citizens the so-called Constitutional Treaty that would have changed the original five democratic institutions is dead as a proposal. For the moment, democratic and representative for civil society is still possible. Morally it is clear that, for any new Treaty to be established, these nations and their sectoral associations will demand a proper voice and further referendums. So will all other nations requiring referendums. Britain too. The next stage must also garner adequate public support in all national populations. Therefore the next treaty must be more clearly democratic than the proposed treaty they rejected. That can only happen if all 27 nations with half a billion people and multiple industrial, associative and ecological interests are convinced that the next development is a democratic and moral improvement. And that means taking an honest look and analysis at the real founding treaty: the Treaty of Paris signed in Paris 18 April 1951 and subsequent history. That was Europe’s real constitution.
At its birth, the Treaty of Paris as a developing constitution for Europe was described as the most eminently democratic system ever devised. It had to be. It was examined as the REAL foundation of Europe by all parliaments and public and private institutions. Nothing could be devised to improve it. But look at the system today!
Today or tomorrow, the Commission and the European Presidency will have to face up to marketing falsehoods. On 25 October 2006 the Commission and the European Parliament mobilized their budgets to give long-term publicity to the slogan “Together since 1957”.This disinformation campaign can only be construed as a willful contortion of history. It tries to make, in the words of the Commission communiqué, “the Treaty of Rome the origin of the EU”. Where are the honest officials who are brave enough to say, “This is wrong”? Firstly, the date is wrong. Secondly, the campaign is immoral. The Common Market was not the start of European reconciliation and unity. Europe was not made with money. The German Presidency of 2007 wants to use “50th Birthday celebrations” of Europe for a Berlin Declaration. As a founder member, they should know better.
The Proof of History
The Germans and other governments have their national archives. Thousands of newspapers of the time and books record the real facts. On 18 April 1951, in order to prevent counterfeits of history, the founding fathers had made this solemn affirmation:
“By the signature of this treaty, the participating parties give proof of their determination to create the first supranational institution and that they are thus laying the true foundation of an organized Europe. This Europe remains open to all nations. We profoundly hope that other nations will join us in our common endeavour.”
This visionary declaration and lucid judgement of the principles creating Europe’s true foundation with its FIVE founding supranational and democratic institutions to develop a flourishing European democracy was signed by Konrad Adenauer (Germany), Paul van Zeeland (Belgium) Robert Schuman (France) Count Sforza (Italy) Joseph Bech (Luxembourg) and Dirk Stikker (The Netherlands). It was made to recall to us, the future generations, our historic duty of uniting Europe based on moral values safeguarding peace, liberty and democracy under the rule of law.
The Commission is Guardian of the Treaties and also responsible (according to a joint declaration with the Council) for the patrimony and heritage of Europe’s founding treaty, the Treaty of Paris. Europe’s five democratic institutions remain the means to build progress based on justice, truth and hope. A number of documents relating to the true origin of the European Community and the EU are on the Schuman website: www.schuman.info/rome50 .
The members of the public look towards the European Commission as being a neutral arbiter among the various interests that make up Europe. As a member of the public and a historian, I look forward to seeing that the Commission services make the necessary corrections to ensure a healthy and truthful debate on the past and future of Europe.
David Heilbron Price
Bron © DHP 20061023
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