The HISTORY, PURPOSE and FUTURE of Europe
|The intelligent person's Guide to European Treaties|
Directed by David H Price.
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News and Research on Europe highlighting Robert Schuman's political, economic, philosophical contribution from the independent SCHUMAN PROJECT
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.
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
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
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
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.
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,
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
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?
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.
Schuman designed European Democracy to work
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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