Tuesday, 20 March 2007

50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE TREATY OF ROME – TEN POINTS WORTH BEARING IN MIND


1. THE EU’S MYTH OF ORIGIN: The myth of origin of the EU is that it was a peace project designed to make war impossible between France and Germany. The truth is however that it was the American Government’s insistence on German rearmament to meet the needs of the Cold War that precipitated the European Coal and Steel Community in 1950, which was the foundation of European integration. The pooling of coal and steel under a supranational authority, the precursor of the Brussels Commission, was crucial in overcoming French hostility to rearming its ancient enemy. Jean Monnet, America’s man in the affair, saw it as a way of pursuing the project for a supranational Europe which he had been nurturing since World War 1. It was the Cold War, not the EEC – later the EC and EU – that kept the peace in Europe between the end of World War 2 in 1945 and the end of the USSR in 1991. During that time neither America nor Russia would have permitted a war between the member States of either rival bloc. After 1991 war broke out again in Europe, in Yugoslavia and Chechnya.

2. THE DREAM OF WORLD POWER OF THE EU’S FOUNDING MEMBERS: The six founding members of the original EEC had all been, apart from Luxembourg, imperial powers, with colonies and dependencies in Africa and elsewhere. France, Germany, Italy, Holland and Belgium were defeated and occupied during World War 2. After that war they found themselves in a world dominated by the two superpowers, the USA and USSR. Their traumatised political classes were still nostalgic for world power. They decided that if their countries could no longer be Big Powers in the world on their own, they would seek to be a Big Power collectively through the EU/EC. One formula for understanding the EU is this: Take five broken empires, add a sixth one later – Britain – and try to make one big neo-colonial empire out of it all.

3. THE NEED TO REPATRIATE LAWS FROM BRUSSELS TO THE MEMBER STATES: Two-thirds of all legal acts in the 27 EU Member States now come each year from Brussels. Only one-third originate in each Member State. This shows the loss of national democracy and independence entailed by membership of the European Union. The first step in remedying the EU’s widely admitted democratic deficit is to repatriate policy-making powers from Brussels to the Member States. Any new EU Treaty should provide for this. Despite much rhetoric about subsidiarity from the EU Commission, there is not a single example in the 50 years of European integration of a national power that was surrendered to Brussels being repatriated. What is known in EU jargon as the “acquis communautaire” is sacrosanct. That is why some call it the “doctrine of the occupied field”. What Brussels has once occupied, stays occupied.

4. THE PUZZLE AS TO WHY NATIONAL POLITICIANS WELCOME THE GROWTH OF EU POWERS: Government Ministers and aspiring Minsters welcome the transfer of powers from the national level to the supranational because it means a big increase in their own personal power, at the cost of a diminution in power for their own Parliaments and fellow citizens. At national level if a Minister wants to get something done, he or she must have the support of that country’s national Parliament. Remove that particular policy area to Brussels however, where laws are made primarily by the EU Council of Ministers, and the Minister in question, who is part of the executive arm of government at national level and responsible to an elected parliament, becomes a powerful legislator at EU level – one of an oligarchy, a committee of lawmakers, making laws for 500 million people as a member of the exclusive club of the EU Council of Ministers, which is irremoveable as a group. Simultaneously senior national civil servants, who prepare EU laws in interaction with the Commission bureaucracy, are freed from questioning by their fellow citizens. There is an intoxicating increase in personal power for the politicians and bureaucrats concerned, and a corresponding reduction in the power of their fellow citizens, national Parliaments and countries.

5. THE EU CANNOT HAVE A STABLE DEMOCRATIC BASIS BECAUSE A EUROPEAN PEOPLE, AN EU “DEMOS”, DOES NOT EXIST: Democracy means rule by the people, the “demos”. There cannot be a political democracy without a people, a “demos”, a national community, a “we”, whose members feel sufficient solidarity and mutual identification with one another as to induce minorities freely to obey majority rule. Minorities are willing to do this because they regard the majority as their majority, that is, as belonging to their own people and national community and as having the democratic legitimacy and authority which derive from that. This normally requires that people are able to communicate with one another in a common language, and share the same territory, culture, historical experiences etc. That is why democracy can exist at the level of Europe’s ancient national communities. There is however no European people or “demos” that transcends and is superior to Europe’s many nations and peoples, and one cannot be artificially created from above by Brussels. The EU can therefore never be a genuine democracy. Cooperation between Europe’s countries can only be built from the bottom up, with the free agreement of the peoples, not from the top down at the behest of political and economic elites who aspire to build a European superstate which they see themselves as running.

6. THE EURO CANNOT ENDURE WITHOUT A POLITICAL AND FISCAL UNION; YET THE LATTER IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE THE NECESSARY EU SOLIDARITY DOES NOT EXIST: All independent States have currencies of their own and all currencies belong to independent States. A currency is necessary to enable a State to influence its rate of interest and exchange rate in the economic interests of its people. The interest rate is the domestic price of a currency and determines the cost of credit to citizens. The exchange rate is the price of the currency in terms of other currencies and is a key influence on a country’s economic competitiveness. Abolishing one’s national currency and replacing it with the euro means that a country surrenders control of its rate of interest and exchange rate to the European Central Bank in Germany, which is independent of all government control. The ECB’s prime concern is not the welfare of the country in question, but what it decides is in the interest of the eurozone as a whole. In practice this means the interest of the eurozone’s largest members, Germany and France. The euro is a political project designed to give the European Union one of the key features of supranational statehood, using economic means that are quite unsuitable for that purpose. “The two pillars of the nation State are the sword and the currency, and we have changed that,” boasted Commission President Romano Prodi in 1999. However there is no example in history of a lasting currency union that was not part of one State, and therefore also part of a political union and fiscal union, with the common taxes and public services which all national States possess. The existence of such common taxes and services serves to compensate to some extent the poorer regions of a national currency union for their inability to balance their payments with others by utilizing their own interest rate and exchange rate. Yet there is no possibility of the EU having common taxes and public services because the solidarity that is needed to underpin these – the solidarity that induces richer regions to finance transfers to poorer ones within each individual country – does not exist at the EU level. The euro-currency therefore cannot last. It is only a matter of time before the strains that stem from its member countries being unable any longer to control their own interest rate or exchange rate must force some countries to leave the eurozone.

7. THE EU’S EROSION OF NATIONAL CITIZENSHIP: All independent
States have evolved over generations the right to decide who are their citizens, in order to maintain their labour standards or their social cohesiveness as communities. They are free to decide for themselves the rules they apply for giving rights of citizenship to people born in other countries. But in the European Union such fundamental features of citizenship as the right to residence, to work, to buy property, to receive social maintenance when dependent, and to vote in local elections, are automatically extended by supranational EU/EC law, following a transition period, to whatever proportion of the population of the other 26 member countries decides to settle in a particular country. Thus rights of EU citizenship displace key rights of national citizenship as part of the effort to turn the EU into a supranational State, in which European citizenship and allegiance to a new country called “Europe” will transcend and be legally superior to one’s national citizenship and allegiance.

8. THE PROPOSED EU CONSTITUTION AIMS TO MAKE US REAL CITIZENS OF A NEW EUROPEAN UNION IN THE CONSTITUTIONAL FORM OF A SUPRANATIONAL EU STATE: The Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe proposes to do this by five precise legal steps: (1) This Treaty would repeal all the existing EU/EC Treaties and thereby replace the existing EU and EC with a new European Union that would be founded like any State upon its own Constitution; (2) It would transfer the powers and institutions of the existing EU/EC to this new Union, which would have the authority to decide all areas of public policy for its Member States either actually or potentially; (3) It would give this new Union legal personality so that it could act as a political entity in its own right, distinct from and superior to its individual Member States, whether as regards their domestic or foreign policy. At present it is the EC, as part of the current EU, that has legal personality; (4) It would make the Constitution of this new Union and the laws made under it superior to the Constitution and laws of its component Member States; (5) It would make us all real citizens of this new Union, and not just nominal or honorary EU citizens as at present, so that EU citizenship would be constitutionally superior to the citizenship attaching to one’s own country or State. That is why the proposed EU Constitution or any replacement Treaty based upon it that would seek to replace the existing EU/EC by a new Union with its own legal personality should be opposed by democrats across Europe, irrespective of their views on other things.

9. WHY PEOPLE SHOULD SUPPORT THE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT IN DEFENCE OF NATIONAL DEMOCRACY: The thrust of the EU integration project is to erode the democracy of the nation States of Europe. Internationalism presupposes the existence of nations. The champions of EU integration are seeking in effect to erode the democratic heritage of the French Revolution – the right of nations and peoples to self-determination – in order to clamp a form of financial feudalism on Europe. Hence democrats in every EU country, whether they are on the political centre, right or left, have a common interest in taking part in the international movement in defence of national democracy against the EU.

10. FURTHER EU ENLARGEMENT DOES NOT NEED AN EU CONSTITUTION: Enlargement of the EU beyond the 27 Members provided for by the 2002 Treaty of Nice can be done in the Accession Treaties of the new States concerned, as was done with previous EU enlargements. It does not require institutional changes or a Constitution that would centralise the EU further and make it even less democratic.

These points have been issued by the National Platform EU Research and Information Centre,
24 Crawford Avenue, Dublin 9, Ireland;
Tel.: 00-353-1-8305792;
Please feel free to copy, pass on and adapt them as desired, without any need of reference to its source.