The initiator of modern European democracy, Robert Schuman warned about counterfeit democracy. Are the European voters now being sold a pig in a poke? The answer is undoubtedly: Yes.
Schuman wrote that pure democracy involves the full consent of the people and the obligation of the legislator to inform the people and any organizations affected of the consequences of the initiative. Supranational democracy or the Community system made a major advance to this goal. It marked a new stage in civilization, Schuman said.
On the other hand, a system that is based on a cartel of political parties or a group of national leaders exploiting or victimizing a minority is hardly a real democracy in this sense. Nor is obfuscation or quashing a debate or the expressed view of the people. That is a fraudulent act against democracy.
How can real democracy be advanced? The purpose of the Commission is to make impartial, practical and strategic proposals for all European citizens for their benefit and the deepening of the European peace process. Their proposals, confined to the sectors of the treaties, are then analyzed by all sectors of European society in the several representative institutions provided. Once corrected, the proposal is published as a European agreement. This process requires the Commission be composed of experienced people, realists of stalwart character who will not be suborned by lobbyists working for private interests, or partisan ideologues with distorted views about how the world should be.
The Founding Fathers wisely decided that the Commission should NEVER be composed of national representatives. They should NEVER advocate national propositions. Nor those of any other interest group. The treaties therefore forbid the Commissioners to take instructions from Members States or from any other group or interest. They were forbidden to have membership of any group or interest whether they received money or not. They could not have an interest, directly or indirectly, in sectors dealt with in the treaties, in office or afterwards. Before taking office, all Commissioners had to pledge their independence. After they left office, the founding treaty said, they should not take any related job whether paid or not for three years. That is how objective they had to be.
What is the principle behind this? Why was it emphasized so much? Why have governments, parties and interests sought so much to undermine it? Their action is clearly ILLEGAL, both to the letter and the spirit of the treaties.
Let us consider 27 villagers who have all got varying claims on one large field. It used to be a big open common land. But now it is just a patchwork of smaller sections, because various families claimed it and then they passed on the sections to their numerous descendants.
Some of the families want to graze their cattle, others sheep and goats; some want to plant vegetables, other wheat or barley. Others want to plant fruit trees. There are major problems about access and use of animals, fertilizers, harvesting and planting.
In another village lives a wise old man. Someone suggests that he would be able to solve their problem. The wise man is helpful. Everyone agrees to his brilliant, technical solution, because he acts impartially and humbly as a service to the others. That independent service prepares for the full democratic consent of the 27 villagers.
For a time everyone is happy. The villagers are able to plant, graze their animals, harvest their crops and fruit. Everyone benefits. There is good meat and vegetables even wine with fruit pies afterwards. The village becomes rich and prosperous.
Then along comes a second generation. By now the old man is dead. This next generation have got into squabbles, some because they want to expand. So this generation declares: ‘We need to create a new system.’
What do they suggest? To have a village meeting. That sounds democratic. Because there are so many in the 27 families and their children now, they decide that there should be one person per family to represent them at the meeting. Do you think that 27 partisan representatives will be able to solve the problem any better?
Each representative will have two things in mind: firstly, do not to make the least concession; secondly get the others to make the biggest concessions possible. What will be the outcome? The biggest bully will browbeat the weakest until they make concessions, for eample, on the voting system.
In the end the situation will be worse than the beginning.
Now consider what happens in a Court of Law. On the judges’ bench there may be several judges if the case is important enough. But do all the plaintiffs — let’s say, 27 of them — have the right to have their own lawyer sit on the bench? Of course not. That would just start the same dispute between the judges as fierce as that between the plaintiffs.
How is it that a small number of judges can come to fair and just decisions when representatives too often fail and end up in fights and fisticuffs? Judges are trained in the principles of law and justice. The foundational principles of justice are universal. Schuman called them supranational. They are values that can be identified above various nations, civilizations and across time. Our democracies have a rule. Any judge that might have an interest or bias must recuse himself, that is, refuse to serve as a judge.
Robert Schuman based the Community idea on the progressive building of solidarity linked permanently with supranational values. When Schuman was at university, a number of his professors analyzed how the principles of justice were apparent in court cases described in the newly discovered cuneiform and papyrus records of ancient Babylon, Assyria and Egypt. Others of his teachers made research into the principles of lasting constitutional law and economic systems. Schuman analyzed where these failed and why.
Schuman wrote that he had little faith in the goodness of human nature like Rousseau had. This had been cruelly disproved not least in Hitler’s policies but in centuries of war. The European Community is based on maximizing these common European supranational values to reduce disputes and wars. These include justice, honest statistics, the scientific method.
Supranational democracy is based on treating neighbours, even former enemies, as ourselves. It is far superior than the crude bullyboy tactics of the villagers; superior even to judges transfixed with the letter of the law. Schuman’s Community system provides a democratic solution, both accelerated and in-depth, where everyone can benefit and everyone can have the means to criticise a proposal to make sure that it is fair.
For this reason the founding fathers excluded the idea that the Commission should be composed of national representatives. It would not solve Europe’s problem of continuous warfare. The Community system, still chloroformed after de Gaulle’s attacks, has the full potential to deal democratically with today’s complex and bewildering problems, whether foreign policy challenges, climate change or Europe’s energy dependency. The Commission’s role is a that of referee, an arbitor and an honest broker. Any Commissioner having or retaining national, political, financial, social or other links and bias should recuse himself.
However, Ministers in the Council for reasons associated with their democratic failures with referendums are suggesting we go back to a system that itself is proven to be a failure. They are trying to sell this sham to Europeans as democracy. It is a counterfeit.
To come on www.democracy.blogactiv.eu : Proof that the founding fathers banned the idea that Commission should be composed of national representatives.David Heilbron Price
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