20, September, 2012
European Commission President Barroso, in his ‘State of the Union’ speech to the European Parliament on 12 September 2012 called for a Federation of Nation States. Was he confused or just badly informed? His proposal was to try to solve the EU’s politician-generated woes, both falling trust in politicians and skyrocketing debt mechanisms mortgaging future generations.
On 18 September Mr Barroso repeated this call for a Federation of Nation States to a German audience of his political party, the EPP. We can say that this silly idea of a federation was no slip of the tongue. It is a ploy, a distraction.
I call as witness to my case an eminent lawyer, twice prime minister of France, and its longtime foreign minister. Robert Schuman made a lifetime study of democracy before he proposed Europe’s first Community based on supranational principles and universal values. Schuman called such ill-defined, emotional talk of a federation of nation states an illusion. In his May 1949 Strasbourg speech he called for a supranational union and gave cogent reasons why this great scientific experiment in supranationality must succeed. He cited a thousand year history of such unrealistic ideas of federations and concluded they were all ‘a utopia‘. This analysis was made in one of the greatest speeches on European unity of the postwar years.
Why is the concept of such a Federation not only a nonsense but also a political fraud? The simple answer is that: No federation in the world has anything similar to to an independent Commission. The suggestion to change the European Community system into a Federation would therefore involve elimination of the European Commission. Mr Barroso’s spokesperson assured the press that Mr Barroso is not suggesting that. He is keen, she said, to retain the supranational character of the Commission.
That underlines the FRAUD that the politicians are trying to perpetrate. It is impossible to have a Federation and a SUPRANATIONAL system at the same time. I say this on the highest authority — that of the initiator of the supranational system for Europe, Robert Schuman.
This is how Schuman defined the three terms Confederal, Federal and Supranational. The first two terms follow the definitions well known in international law, in which Schuman was a world-renowned specialist.
No other term (but supranational) is able to express as well the significance of the new idea that it is necessary to explain, in distinguishing it from all the traditional terms of juridical categories.
The supranational is situated at an equal distance between, on the one hand, the international individualism of States which consider their national sovereignty as untouchable except for occasional and reversible contractual obligations; on the other side, Federalism of States which submit themselves to a Super-State doted with its own territorial sovereignty.
The supranational institution, such as our Community, represented by the High Authority (or Commission) does not possess the characteristics of a State, but it retains and exercises certain sovereign powers. It is independent as regards the national Governments within the limits of the Treaties; this independence is irreversible as is the transfer of competence of which it is the source.
The Treaty confers on the Community its own function; it does not exercise it as a delegation for the States that adhere to it. The Commission (High Authority) is not responsible to the Governments, but to the institutions of the Community (such as the Assembly and the Court); the Declaration of 9 May 1950 already spoke of these ‘means of appeal’ against decisions of the High Authority.
The vague concept of Federation of Nation States was raised by a previous Commission President Jacques Delors more than a decade ago. But he warned then of ideas of reducing democracy by pushing for qualified majority voting of politicians ‘against the will of the people’. But that is exactly what has happened since then when the politicians chose to ignore the referendums of several Member States who voted soundly against such measures in the Constitutional /Lisbon Treaty. Mr Delors warned then that it would lead to ‘big trouble‘.
The ‘BIG TROUBLE’ has arrived with a vengeance. That is because since the time of de Gaulle, politicians refused to have proper elections for the Parliament and the Consultative Committees. And to this day, sixty years later, NO SUCH ELECTIONS HAVE EVER TAKEN PLACE. De Gaulle and many other national politicians were happier cutting deals behind the closed doors of the Council, than organizing the elections required in the treaties. Democratic control would only hamper their autocratic ways.
Democracy is useful, for example, for controlling budgets and overspending. Politicians are nowadays trying to borrow five to seven times the EU’s annual budget to prop up the misconceived euro. Meanwhile trust has plummeted to historic low points, not only for politicians, but in the EU and also in the European Central Bank, which is bending the rules to buy government debts and offering to substitute it with ‘fresh’ inflation-ridden euros from a central printing press.
That mistake was obvious to the experienced Founding Fathers such as Robert Schuman and Paul-Henri Spaak. Both had to deal with problems of monetary stability after WW2. It was why they said that a supranational Community approach, not a federation, was essential. Nowadays few politicians know or it seems want to know how the Community system is supposed to work. It has FIVE democratic institutions. Some of these same politicians want to reduce that to three main ones Council, Commission and Parliament plus a host of other groups which have nothing to do with a democratic Community system, which are called institutions in the Lisbon Treaty! Thus the Court of Auditors is considered an institution! The Council became ‘more equal than the others’ and now controls the Parliament by selecting its president, and turning the Commission into a Secretariat and restricting it to buddies having party cards.
In a real Community system the accounts are properly balanced and the money is supervised carefully by the five institutions and there is no need to call some accountants in as a separate ‘democratic’ body! Having frozen (temporarily) elections in some of the institutions, the politicians of Delors generation created a single currency without the proper democratic competences and checks. Hence the trillion euro manipulations of the ESM and ESFS are discussed and decided in secrecy, far from the public’s eyes.
Why do I call the jelly-like Federation of Nation States a FRAUD? Firstly, a federation of nation states means nothing. Some States are Republics and many are monarchies. If Mr Barroso was serious, he would have explained how he was going to be the emperor who would rule over such monarchies as the British Queen, the Belgian King, not to mention the Scandinavians, Spanish and the Grand Duke plus the French, German and other Presidents.
Secondly, Schuman said we should be aware of the danger of politicians who expand the bureaucracy and create a COUNTERFEIT democracy. That is exactly what a Federation of Nations States is. It has no real meaning and cannot be defined in terms of responsibility and competence. It cannot be defined as to how the politicians can be SACKED.
Thirdly, if Mr Barroso were sincere about real democracy he would as representative-guardian of the treaties have reminded the Parliament that they had not once in the sixty year history of the Parliament had an election in conformity with the principle in all the treaties that elections should be under one statute for all Member States. There should not be 27 statutes where each biases the results in favour of the government parties. What a strange coincidence!
Fourthly, the proof that this is a fraud and an attempt at counterfeit democracy is clear from last week’s events. On Wednesday 12 September 2012 we had the theatre of the Commission President speaking to the European Parliament in Strasbourg that has forgotten its history and purpose. The Commission still vaunts itself as being ‘Guardian of the treaties’. It is there to see the Treaties are remembered and respected. The ‘Guardian’ did not even remember when it first met as a College!
We have the spectacle of the European Parliament that does not recognize that 11 September 2012 was the sixtieth anniversary of the first meeting of the European representative body. Its president then was Paul-Henri Spaak, after whom the Parliament has its main building named in Brussels. The day following this unmarked anniversary, the President-Guardian of the Treaties, Mr Barroso came to speak to them about the need for democracy and a Federation. Did he mention that they should be celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of European Democracy? Not a word. The silence is deafening. Of all 753 MEPs, not one got up to mention the fact. Why? Simply because all the heads of the main political parties made it clear that this was not acceptable.
Do you know why? After the first assembly of the Community met under the dynamic leadership of Paul-Henri Spaak, he created an enlarged Assembly called the Ad Hoc Assembly with some members of the Council of Europe. They were tasked to draft the European Political Community, a democratic system based on supranational principles. Schuman refers to this European Political Community treaty in the same passage cited above. The legal term ‘supranational ‘ appears in the very first article.
So are both the Commission President and all the MEPs ignorant or less than sincere? Anyone who really wanted democracy would have recalled the early principles of supranationality that was designed to bring to Europe the most democratic, fair and just system that had been conceived.
Fifthly if this approach to a new democracy were sincere, the Commission would have reminded Europeans, like Schuman did, that the Great Charter defined the principles up on which any Community of Europeans must be built. Instead to my knowledge the Commission has yet to publish this Great Charter. It refuses to publish this foundation of European law! For Democrats who wish to understand the principles which notably say that no treaty can be put into effect without the full acquiescence and support of the peoples, they can read the original French or the English translation on www.schuman.info.
David Heilbron Price
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