30, June, 2011
‘The time has come to start re-aligning EU financing with the principles of autonomy, transparency and fairness and equipping the EU to reach its agreed policy objectives.‘ These are the words of European Commission’s ‘A Budget for 2020‘ — its proposals for a multi-annual financial framework (MFF) 2013-2020.
The proposal was presented by Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso IN SECRET in the European Parliament on 29 June 2011. Again!
So much for TRANSPARENCY. So much for FAIRNESS for citizens. It is a strange idea of transparency for the press and the public to be firmly excluded from hearing exactly what goes on at a meeting of two democratic institutions. It is a bizarre idea of fairness to exclude taxpayers from a room full of people planning to seize their money.
The doors were shut and guarded to stop any ordinary taxpayer from entering the sixth floor chamber of the Paul-Henri Spaak building. In it were assembled, besides Commissioners Barroso and Lewandowski, all the presidents of the political party groups plus legal and other officials. What a sauce! A secret budget meeting would be a major scandal in any national parliament. Here it involves BIG money, European taxpayers’ money.
The Commission has proposed that taxes for the EU should rise from around one percent of Gross National Income to 1.11 percent by 2020. Whichever way you slice it that represents a substantial increase in the taxes or levies that European citizens have to pay. The calculation has also shifted from GNP figures to GNI. GNI is the same thing as GNP but with indirect business taxes deducted. A trillion euros is involved in the budget plan under consideration.
I haven’t seen the citizens massing on the streets demanding a 11 percent rise in money that should be taken from their pockets! I haven’t seen them massing for the projects that the politicians have devised. What is the explanation?
Possibly what the Commission Budget Document meant was not Autonomy, that is free-spending of taxes by the parties machines. That includes setting their own salaries and perks. What they meant was AUTOCRACY of the political class (in the EU and governments) to raise taxes at will.
All the institutions of the Community that were created by the Founding Fathers to express NON-POLITICAL, Organized Civil Society have been suppressed or taken over by the new political class. That is why this autocracy should be referred to as a political CARTEL because it suppresses the free market of ideas and democratic accountability of the parties. It refuses to treat the citizen seriously, making politicians autocrats not servants. Politicians have just two demands of the people: money to run their party machines and acceptance of the policy they hand down to them without proper consultation.
The cartel has distorted the meaning of democratic representation, which involves free-speech and accountability, not party machinery running roughshod over the citizens.
The European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek is reported as saying: ‘The Commission’s proposal on the long-term budget for the EU is an intelligent starting point for negotiations. The next MFF will be one of the most important in the EU’s history. It will set the direction for the Union at an exceptional time when the European project is under pressure from the sovereign debt crisis and from external instability.‘
The sovereign debt crisis is largely a problem of the politicians, by the politicians about money for the politicians and party funding, involving soaring national debts and falsified statistics. The countries that kept their budget books straight and where the parties did not accept ‘funding’ from rich people and associations in return for a tax-free break, are not in a ‘sovereign debt crisis’.
At the core of many of these ‘sovereign debt’ countries is the need for parties to get funds and they are willing to bend the rules to get them for the voters, the public and large corporations. When this dishonesty becomes exposed at the local, regional and national level, Europe seems to them the next level to be exploited. This is an old and growing scam that brought wine lakes, meat mountains in the Gaullist era and useless or non-existent infrastructure in southern Italy thanks to the corrupt regional policy. It was followed by massive infusions of cash to Greece in the 1980s, agreed by Europe’s party politicians, and which ‘disappeared‘
We now have political theatre without legitimacy or substance. The Commission has thrown off any veneer of independence. It is composed exclusively of national politicians. They are apparently in a debate with politicians of the same parties in the Council — representing national governments. The Parliament is also composed of nationally elected politicians of exactly the same controlling parties. They refuse to hold Europe-wide elections as required by the treaties for sixty years.
This is not democracy because the most important element, individuals in civil society and organised civil society who ultimately have to pay are left out in the cold, because the doors are locked. The press is barred. The debate inside is about a fait accompli.
Mr Buzek continued: ‘A system of real own resources would be fairer, more transparent, simpler and equitable. We should also see an end to rebates, exceptions and correction mechanisms that have accumulated within the current system.’
That gives the game away. It is transparent only for the politicians. The citizens — including the non-political majority of the EU — have not accepted or even had a say in the Commission/ Council budget and its assumptions. A democratic budget is supposed to relate to citizens’ demands and citizens’ needs — expressed in fully functional Community institutions. It should not be fixed according to the whims of the political barons themselves. The present procedure — which is inherited from the Gaullist autocratic system — lacks any semblance of real democratic legitimacy. It has more in common to the so-called People’s Democracies of the Soviet era.
The chairman of the EP’s Budget Committee had something to say about secrecy. Not the Parliament’s secret meeting but another institution. He said that ‘a debate of such importance should not be held in the secrecy of ministerial meetings behind closed doors. This should become the subject of as wide a possible public debate, including a conference with full involvement of national parliaments. In the coming days we will make an effort toward realising this.‘
A closed door Parliament is telling the closed-door Council of Ministers not to be secret! Herumph! The Commission’s presentation in secret in the Parliament was illegal under the Lisbon Treaty. This bogus treaty was passed by politicians in spite of citizens voting in referendums that they did not like the system.
Article 15 of the Lisbon Treaty’s TFEU deals with institutional consideration of financial legislation. It states: ‘The European Parliament shall meet in public, as shall the Council when considering and voting on a draft legislative act.’
It also makes clear who should be in control of the budget: civil society, not the political class. The first paragraph of Article 15 states:
‘In order to promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society, the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible.‘
It is not difficult to open the door to one or two reporters or provide a video feed. Yet this was refused — ILLEGALLY.
The Lisbon Treaty generation of politicians is now embarking on a vast misadventure of illegitimacy. They suppressed referendum results. They refused to accept those that took place until the voters were forced to vote again under threats. They have embarked on internal policies without the full participation of non-political civil society. They have established massive aid and development programmes based on political ideologies — without the participation of civil society. And after some sixty years the European Parliament and the Civil Society institutions have still not had the electoral framework for free and open elections.
This dereliction of democracy is compounded by the false road-maps. What the Budget document called ‘agreed policy objectives‘ are anti-democratic policies that the party cartel gave themselves. The participants in both the 2020 and 2030 reports were given strict instructions that they were not to deal with European democracy. The political class are afraid of more referendums. They will inevitably come!
The ‘agreed policy‘ reports said nothing about the ‘Arab Spring, global financial piracy, the Japanese Tsunami, drought and religious strife in Africa and elsewhere and other world-changing events that they would not or that they could not foresee. When such surprises occur the only solution seems to be to throw money at them. Will that work with a nuclear-armed Iran and Pakistan? In many cases the cartel policy of naivety and their pacifistic answer to blackmail may just make matters worse more rapidly. Who is controlling European money going to the wrong forces in potentially violent societies?
The present policy objective of encouraging jihadi and anti-Semitic actors in the region is pure madness! When did the public agree to creating, intolerant Jew- and Christian-free states, giving control to groups that still proclaim terrorism as part of their ‘party policies’??
Why do they omit to say that foreign policy should draw from the positive outcome of Europe’s great democratic experiment that Schuman proclaimed in 1949, his declaration of 9 May 1950 and founding Fathers’ Great Charter of 18 April 1951? Nothing!! It brought peace. The ‘agreed policy objectives‘ applying the parties’ wilfully ignorant ideologies WILL NOT!
No public mandate exists from the people for the EU budget. The politicians may want to try to fool themselves by this dishonest, underhand window-dressing. It does not fool the public who know that the system is unfair and not transparent for democracy. A system that refuses to discuss democracy and improve what they call democracy is not only suspect, it is obviously not democratic at all. Schuman said the test of a real democracy was the desire to improve itself.
In referendums several nations voted into oblivion a Constitutional treaty. A democratic Europe requires unanimity among free democratic States otherwise it is imperialism. Supranational democracy has to unite democracies not compel them by force. The people gave no mandate to the Lisbon Treaty. Proper referendums were refused.
The politicians disagreed with the people. The politicians in a totally disreputable move brought this rejected treaty back with a new name, the Reform or Lisbon Treaty. Who is trying to fool whom? Without democratic control the Lisbon Treaty is an uncontrollable money machine for the party politicians. It exploits the people who cannot yet escape from the main parties because they always act in coalition, a cartel. The EU budget provides money for their party cadres that they cannot get by honest means at the national level.
This self-deceit has serious effects on the politicians themselves. The underhandedness makes it seemingly impossible for European leaders to listen institutionally to taxpayers. They believe in their own ‘smoke and mirrors’ that gives them power to thumb their noses at public opinion and even their own script — the Lisbon Treaty sham.
Supranational democracy could help resolve the euro crisis and set realistic goals for the budget. The politicians however are locked in a vicious downward spiral of declining public confidence, increasing financial black-holes, knowing full well that more democratic accountability will result in them losing control and maybe their political heads too.
In a supranational Community, greed for public money and power is a recipe for disaster.David Heilbron Price
, 2020, Arab Spring, Barroso, budget, Buzek, Christian, democracy, fairness, Iran, Jew, jihad, Lamassoure, MFF, multiannual financial framework, nuclear, opinion, Pakistan, Schuman, terrorist, transparency, trillion