Council3 Another power-grab against Democracy! Council and Commission cut Civil Society out of the democratic circuit. The party cartel strikes again!
8, March, 2010
“Civil Society? — throw it out of the decision-making process!” That is the new law of the Commission in cahoots with the Council. A communication of the Commission to the Council and the Parliament deals with this new power-grab under the Lisbon Treaty. It comes under articles 290 and 291 of Lisbon Treaty’s TFEU. Powers to amend and supplement legislation are being introduced without the democratic control of non-party consultative bodies. When documents like these speak of “efficiency“, the citizen should always ask: What democratic supervision are you trying to short-circuit?
Obviously all this is morally reprehensible. It is totally undemocratic. Why? because it leaves all decisions to be concocted between three complicit institutions. They were ORIGINALLY designed to perform separate functions. None of them is now independent of the others. And they do not represent real citizens. They are all dominated by a cartel of politicos. It is a political cartel without any opposition. They are not responsible to anyone but themselves. So they think.
* The Commission is dominated now by political parties. It is a fief of a cartel. All Commissioners are exclusively members of political parties.
* The Parliament is dominated by two or three main parties. The small parties cannot influence matters much. Debate is stifled.
* The secretive Council of Ministers is dominated not so much by governments but by political parties in government. When did they last act like Statesmen?
The founding fathers thought such a concentration of power in the hands of two or three political parties was dangerous. They were right. There is nothing to stop these delegated powers of articles 290 and 291 being used for overt or covert party political purposes. Behind the arcane working of political machines, some hidden industrial or financial cartel may also be milking the public. (I hope I am not giving the rather suspect members of the political class any criminal ideas!)
And it will be the taxpaying citizen who pays again. The founding fathers said that the PEOPLE should decide matters that concern them. NOT parties. They defined the New Europe as one in which the People were FREE TO CHOOSE. And guess what? The political cartel refuse to publish the founding Europe Declaration of the EU.
That menace against real democracy is why the founding fathers specified two restraints. Firstly, the Commission should be independent of parties and also of national governments. Curiously that specification is still in the super-duper Lisbon Treaty! Article 17 of the Treaty on European Union says ‘Members of the Commission shall be chosen on the ground of their general competence and European commitment from persons whose independence is beyond doubt.‘
Don’t make me laugh! How come ‘independence beyond doubt‘ means that they ALL have to be members of a political party. That means they are dependent on that membership. As for ‘beyond doubt‘, NO MEMBER OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC EVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS A DOUBT!! No non-party citizen was ALLOWED to give an opinion that had the least effect! That is the choice of an autocrat or dictator.
To influence the cartel’s choice, you would first have to buy a party card. Then you need years of patting shoulders and flattering. Next you have to find your way into the SECRET, inner chambers of the party headquarters. In some room or other, some SECRET committee decides which salary-hungry, pensioned off/ failed or opportunistic politician is to be designated THEIR Commissioner. That party committee may even be in a tax-paid government building. It is appropriated for party purposes. Commissioners are the products of pure party nepotism!
The politicians who framed this antidemocratic clause in the Treaty of Lisbon deliberately chose an illegal, cartel approach. Note the vague, passive verb ‘shall be chosen’ with no identifiable system defining WHO makes the choice. Nepotism was pre-planned.
Those are tough words. But true. An honest politician would not agree to something that goes contrary to the Law of the Treaties. Tell me if I am wrong! Even this Lisbon Treaty invites dishonesty. Who is going to be the first to say: I resign because the procedure is contrary to law. I have not been properly appointed for this publicly paid-for post. It has not been advertised. There was no Call for Candidates, no Jury at the European level. Not a single independent non-party person was ever considered. Public opinion was gagged. It could not express doubts. My posting is contrary to the Treaty specifications. It was ‘fixed’ in secret. A Court would judge the Commissioners to be illegally ‘fixed’ by a grubby cartel. No government objected to other governments’ candidates. Their silence is eloquent. It is evidence of a cartel. And this post provides a suspiciously big, big salary from the public purse as if I should remember with gratitude who gave me the job. I don’t want to be an object for party nepotism. A big public protest will explode and I don’t want to be seen as another grubby politician.
The three institutions are now being exclusively run by party politicians who refuse the slightest recourse to Public Opinion. What a haughty disdain they have for law — all of them. Who will speak out? Where is the whistle-blower that we have in other cartel cases?
Secondly the founding fathers said that organized Civil Society should have a major role in decision-making. And when I say major I mean a MAJOR, MAJOR role in decision-making. Even though the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions are supposed to deal with geo-economic and social matters that have no specific political content they are largely dominated by party political figures. Even these poor souls, who were nominated and agreed in secret in the Council of Ministers have been cut out of the loop. They are supposed to represent EUROPEAN consumers, manufacturers and workers. Instead they are always national nominees. The treaties say they should organise European elections for organised civil society. They didn’t. They never managed to organise a European election at the EcoSoc in 50 years.
This exposes the further power grab by parties. There is no reason why all categories of Civil Society be restricted to those people holding party cards. It is supposedly a democratic institution, designed to debate technical details of all legislation. They are to expose to European debate all obvious aspects and unforeseen consequences of proposed measures. They are to check that that regulations are not being drafted secretly by lobbyists. A debate on legislative proposals should involve three organised sections of civil society. consumers, producers and workers. Most citizens work, consume and invest. They are the best judge, not parties.
What have the political parties to do with technical matters, like standards in commerce? Are we to have a conservative and left-wing position on what is the length of a metre, the weight of a kilogramme, how to measure pollution or even internet standards? That is highly dangerous. Party politicians can’t be trusted to have standards in book keeping as the present monetary crisis demonstrates. They fiddle the books. By billions.
Now with the delegated powers of articles 290 and 291 this illegal take-over doesn’t matter. The EcoSoc is irrelevant. They are suppressed.
This new anti-democratic “innovation” contrasts starkly with the founding supranational philosophy of Europe.
The big danger with the articles 290 and 291 is that it will provide even more possibilities to fiddle the books. All measures will be initiated and then agreed among party stalwarts, whether of the right, left or centre.
I expect the Commission to throw up its hands in feigned protest. Oh no, they will say, we are only fulfilling the mandate given us by the Lisbon Treaty. What mandate? The only way the wretched articles got into a European treaty was by agreement with whom? Well the same politicos who will benefit from them. It gives them carte blanche. The party cartel lacks public support and whatever support they now have is declining precipitously with every parliamentary election.
And the most ironic of all this. The Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions all gave their full support to the Lisbon Treaty. I had to write to the Ombudsman before they even deigned to write a reply to these letters — ONE YEAR LATE!
The members of the Consultative Committees — that treaties give powers sometimes greater than Parliament — voted in effect to cut their own throats when they supported articles 290 and 291. Where was Civil Society when they agreed to this? Where was the Europe-wide debate that the two Consultative Committees were supposed to have organised to analyse, examine and debate European democracy?? They said the Lisbon Treaty was to be applauded because it made Europe more efficient. Yes, by cutting them out of the picture. What a disaster for democracy!
They supported the message of the Council: ‘Democracy and Public opinion go hang!’
For those brave souls still worrying about their democratic rights, you can check out the new powers at http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/10/st05/st05107.en10.pdf Have a stiff coffee before you start to read it!David Heilbron Price
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