Schuman Project  


The intelligent person's Guide to European Treaties
Directed by David H Price.
Further information Tel/Fax: +322 230 7621. email:            ©Bron 1999- 2007 

News and Research on Europe highlighting Robert Schuman's political, economic, philosophical contribution from the independent SCHUMAN PROJECT













Europe's founding Treaty is NOT the Treaty of Rome!                    

And Remember, there were TWO treaties of Rome

Here are some questions citizens should bear in mind during the coming discussions and debates on the European ‘Reform’ Treaty.

KEY THOUGHT: The surest way to solve the Treaty dilemma is for the governments themselves to apply the present treaties in their spirit and letter. They signed up to them. They should respect them.

DEMOCRACY. Let us start with the founder of the European Community system, French Prime Minster and Foreign Minster, Robert Schuman, and his definition of Democracy. It is at the service of the people and acting in agreement with it’ See Schuman’s book, Pour l’Europe, p55. Now, ask: ‘Is the EU applying this democracy today?’

1.       OPEN MEETINGS. The Council of Ministers still meet behind closed doors like the Supreme Soviet. Schuman called the Soviet system and those of ‘People’s Democracies’ counterfeit democracy. He did not exclude as counterfeit some aspects of Western democracies that use sleight of hand to avoid democratic debate and run the state by technocrats and cliques of interest groups. At the European Councils the most-experienced and clever democratic leaders of 27 EU States meet to discuss in secret the most urgent present problems and the most vital future strategy. Why do these celebrated democrats ban the media and the public so that their national spokespersons can natter with their own national press (off the record) giving their spin about what is happening behind firmly closed doors?  This is upside-down democracy. Imagine a parliamentary chamber behind closed doors where each MP had his spokesman to the public! ‘Europe must have a democratic foundation: the councils, committees and other organs must be placed under the supervision of public opinion.’  The words are those of EU’s founder, Robert Schuman, in Pour l’Europe p145. Why has Europe never had open government for the debating chamber/council of ministers in more than half a century? Why are the doors still closed when the Council and its many, many committees discuss matters of vital interest to the livelihoods of all 500 million European citizens: climate change, energy policy, raw materials shortages and population and immigration problems to name but a few? Is this a service to the people? When did they agree to secrecy?

2.       PARLIAMENTARY DIRECT ELECTIONS. Direct Elections to the European Parliament (EP) are required in the Treaty of Paris, 1951, Article 21. After seizing power in 1958, Charles de Gaulle asked his spokesman Alain Peyrefitte to prepare a plan to 'chloroform' and ‘suffocate’ the two Treaties of Rome and the foundational Treaty of Paris that created five democratic European institutions in the Coal and Steel Community. (C’était de Gaulle, vol 1, pp 66-74). He persuaded the German Chancellor Adenauer and all the other leaders (Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) to block the treaty obligation for direct elections to the European Parliament. European leaders, so-called democrats, blocked direct elections for nearly thirty years until 1979. The European Parliament only forced governments to initiate direct elections when some of the parliamentarians took these ‘democratic governments’ to the European Court and some British parliamentarians created a scandal by boycotting the European Parliament as not being democratic.

3.       SINGLE ELECTORAL STATUTE. All three founding treaties – dating back more than half a century – require that an impartial, uniform procedure for the parliamentary elections be applied, the same for all Member States.  Why have ‘democratic’ governments never introduced it, far less, applied it? Such decisions on who can vote, when, where, and how the votes should be counted to elect MEPs should not be made by party machines to divide up the vote unfairly for their own gain. The majorities in the EP often depend on how some big countries organise their systems to gain the maximum number of MEPs at the expense of other parties. The Single Electoral Statute is a legal obligation to the people, repeated in all the treaties up to the present Treaty of Nice, 2001.

4.       ELECTIONS TO THE CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEES. De Gaulle and the other leaders blocked the independent elections of NGOs and associations to the Consultative Committee, the Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of Regions. According to the present Nice Treaty, the Economic and Social Committee consists of ‘representatives of organised civil society’. Not so. Politicians secretly pick their own members in the Council of Ministers. Why are they not democratically elected? The founding fathers (Reuter and Schuman, both eminent lawyers) said that the secret manipulation of the membership by governments was ILLEGAL. Civil society should have powers equivalent to the Council according to the founding treaties. Today the consultative committees are becoming a useless appendix. These committees were designed to ensure full employment by democratic involvement of labour organisations; stable, strategic investment by direct democracy of services and industrial associations, and environmental and consumer interests by full participation of those associations involved specifically in the sectors touched by the Commission’s proposal. The appointees of the government politicians have never, in more than fifty years, proposed a system of representative democracy for organised civil society, as required by the treaties.

5.       SECRET COMITOLOGY. Having crippled representative democracy for business, labour and consumer associations, the Council created its jungle of secret committees of civil servants. The founding fathers said that civil servants should not rule Europe; they are there to serve democrats. One study on ‘comitology’ estimates there are 1500 comitology committees deciding on every aspect of the citizen’s economic and social life. They are nearly all closed, secret and often with no published agenda. When is the Council going to change from rule-by-civil-servants, whose mistakes have cost the taxpayer millions of euros, to democracy and open government?

6.       HUMAN RIGHTS. The Council talks about including a Charter on Human Rights. Are they serious? The Secretary General of the Council of Europe says that there are about 100,000 cases outstanding at the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Why? Because, he says, governments refuse to provide the budget for lawyers to aid judges. Last year, 10,000 cases from widows, the bereaved, the tortured and abused complained about misdeeds of governments and bureaucrats.

7 How Schuman designed European Democracy to work

The Commission, a group of wise, impartial and experienced, honest brokers (of any nationality), take soundings on current European problems and strategic challenges. They submit what they consider the most impartial solution to deal with this in the form of a proposal. This is sent to the Council of Ministers (representing States who should open up a real national debate, not keep it quiet), the European Parliament (representing the people’s interest) and Consultative Committees (like the Economic and Social Committee) representing organized civil democracy in three sections:  industry and commerce; trades unions and employment organisations; and thirdly, consumer and intermediaries dealing with raising standards and lowering prices. These three institutional bodies debate and vote Critical Opinions about how the Proposal can be improved by taking into account interests the Commission has overlooked. After interactions between these three democratic organisations, the Commission publishes in the Official Journal the fairest version it sees as possible. If any individual, organisation or nation State or European institution considers that their interests are being ignored or being unfairly treated, they have the right to take to matter to Court, either the European Court in Luxembourg, or by making a reference to it via a local court or tribunal. Thus any citizen has multiple democratic pathways (individual, local, regional, national, associative, political and European) to defend his/her interests once the system of five institutions is working properly. 

Questions to ask:




How can Europeans have democracy, if  citizens' elected representatives meet in secret?













How can Europeans have democracy, if governments refuse to allow democratic representatives to be elected fairly?










 How can Europe build an open society with secret committees?








How can Europeans get justice if the governments obstruct the work of judges?




 © Bron, 20.6.07

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