19, April, 2016
Europe today is in a Manifest Crisis of Democracy. That term — Manifest Crisis — relates to an article in the treaty founding Europe’s first supranational Community. Without the will and the consent of the people, nothing lasting can be achieved. Yet the public will is manifesting itself more and more powerfully against the arrogant attitude of the self-appointed ‘Top Politicians’. These Top Pols, a modern Politburo, think they know better than Robert Schuman who patiently and wisely created Europe’s democracy system. Their opinions and too often their corrupt practices ‘top’ the rightful voice of the public.
Do they know how Schuman brought Europe’s first real peace in 2000 years? If so can they bring peace to other regions like the Near East?
Do they have any memory of their history, Europe’s astounding recent history? On 18 April 1951 — 65 years ago — leaders of Western Europe signed the Great Charter of Democracy. This document, that Robert Schuman compared to the Magna Carta of 1215 in Britain, encapsulates the foundational principal of public assent to government, European democracy. Schuman called it the Charter of the Community (Pour l’Europe, p146).
General de Gaulle, who was not known for his humility, took power in France a few years later. He despised the party political system, ‘the regime of parties‘. He was also openly hostile to the Community idea. He sought by all means to destroy it and replace it by his personal autocracy. Pro-European and pro-democratic ministers resigned from his government. The Charter was buried in the archives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for six decades. At the request of the Schuman Project the Charter was sought out of its Gaullist burial place. It was again reproduced and published.
In 1951 Western Europe was under threat by the USSR. In occupied Central and Eastern Europe, it had created a Bloc of fraudulent ‘People’s Democracies’ where people regularly voted and even held referendums. But it was just a veneer. The system was controlled by the Communist Party’s Politburo — sometimes using the names of Christian Democrats, Liberals and Socialists as front organizations.
How could the West demonstrate it was committed to real democracy? That is what the Charter defined. It is a principle that will one day or other be tested in the European court of Justice. The West’s fraudulent democrats today had better beware.
The Charter says:
This Europe is open to all European countries that are able to choose freely for themselves. We sincerely hope that other countries will join us in our common endeavour.
The same day the Charter of the Community was proclaimed, the six leaders of France, West Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries also signed into force the Treaty of Paris. It created the democratic principles of the Community. It is defined with FIVE democratic institutions. They cover
- individual democracy and freedom,
- organizational freedom and democracy and
- freedom of the national State and its government within in a supranational Community
- the democratic rule of law and most important of all,
- unfettered Freedom of Conscience.
To indicate how these principles should work experimentally on a restricted scale in one sector, the leaders created a European Coal and Steel Community.
- The individual was represented democratically in an Assembly, later a Parliament.
- Freedom of association was represented in the Consultative Committee with its three representative sections, workers, enterprises and consumers.
- Freedom of States was represented in the Council of Ministers.
- The Rule of Law was institutionalized in the Court of Justice.
- The concept and practice of Freedom of Conscience was institutionalized in the High Authority. Its members were not allowed to represent their national States. They could not adhere to any political party or other interest group. They were experienced in the sectors but they could not have links or interests in the coal and steel industries. Nor could they, after leaving office, assume any position whether paid or not for three years. Their independence and conscience helped define the meaning of supranational in article 9 of the treaty.
The Community had as its declared goals:
- Create a new entity called Europe
- bring lasting peace to Europe after 2000 years of continuous war,
- make war ‘materially impossible‘,
- unify true democracies of the Continent based on supranational principles, leading to World Peace,
- end the East-West division of Europe,
- create a Single Market in the Community,
- create monetary unity based on supranational principles.
The European Coal and Steel was highly successful in its democratic goals. Instead of the war that most commentators expected, Europe expanded on an unprecedented wave of prosperity and peace. Additional Communities were created in the fields of a customs union (Common Market) and a nuclear energy and non-proliferation Community (Euratom).
What did the Gaullist and neo-Gaullist politicians do? As soon as possible after the fifty year trial period of the European Coal and Steel Treaty they refused to renew it for a further period. They did not ask the public. They called for no referendum. The Community had protected the coal and steel industries through periods of boom and also crisis. Its budget amounting to a one percent tax on production was carefully monitored both by those who supplied it and those like the workers and consumers who benefited. There was no need for a Court of Auditors. Workers in these industries were guaranteed employment. When inevitably mines were closed as unproductive, the miners were re-trained for new industries. There was no cost to the national budgets.
Coal mines and steel-makers benefited also from a greatly expanded marketplace. Cartels were forbidden and dismantled. They were able to specialize and innovate. When there is over-supply in the steel industry the Community could declare a ‘Manifest Crisis‘ to deal with its causes on a Europe-wide basis.
After 2002 what happened? Prices of steels rose inexplicably, somewhat like a phantom cartel was acting. There was no longer supranational consumer control on the industries. Then businesses got into trouble. Foreign buyers took over many industries.
Today Europe is in a manifest crisis not only of its steel industries but also its democracy.
Steel is suffering because of Chinese overproduction. Speaking at a Politico event on 18 April, French Minister of the Economy, Emmanuel Macron, said that the USA rapidly imposed 300 percent tariffs to protect its industries while nowadays it takes nine months for the EU to react. The Chinese overproduction is equivalent to two years of steel production in Europe.
It is not only steel that is in surfeit. Politicians have created treaties galore, each abandoning the fundamental principles of targeted supranational communities and public consent of governments, individuals and organized civil society. The arrogant attitude of ‘We know best’ is ever more blatant and manifest.
When Denmark voted against the Maastricht treaty in 1992, the Top Pols, instead of binning the treaty as it broke both supranational principles and democratic assent, tried to ‘fix’ it. Sure, the Danes under pressure voted later in favour, but the other countries had no opportunity to say whether they too agreed with these later amendments. That is not a conscientious democracy. Having got away with this fiddle, the Top Pols tried other ploys. They amended treaties in parliaments. There they could force self-serving measures through using their party parliamentarians as voting fodder. The public was not able to participate or protest.
They then created a European currency based on flawed principles of economics. When the European Court of Justice reprimanded France and Germany for ignoring their own rules, the European Council thumbed their nose at the Court.
In other cases like the Fiscal Pact the Top Pols of the Council decided they would grant themselves complete immunity from legal action in Court. They decided repeatedly to defy the Ombudsman’s request to reveal documents about its mechanisms.
Then of course there was the ridiculous and illegal Constitutional Treaty. The turgid and undemocratic system granting politicians further unfettered powers was roundly rejected both by the French and more emphatically by the Dutch. Other countries such as the United Kingdom who were about to hold a referendum were told they would not be allowed to.
So was the treaty as dead as door nail? Not on your life! The lookalike Lisbon Treaty is the same text. It shed only the articles on the twelve-star flag and the European anthem, (Hadn’t you noticed the EU has obeyed and banned the flag?).
To become the Lisbon Treaty the whole of the Constitutional Treaty was written into the existing treaties. How? As a long list of amendments to their articles! What a fraud! Don’t the politicians have any shame?
So what about a people’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty for the public to confirm they had changed their mind and now agreed to what they previously rejected wholeheartedly? No chance! The book-length list of meaningless amendments was voted by force through national and even the European parliaments. Some parliaments had not even read the amendments. Nowhere was an official text of the whole treaty produced before voting. That would make the fraud totally manifest!
Nothing could be more designed to destroy public confidence and trust. How did the French — those great revolutionary democrats — deal with this tricky fraud? Did their political leaders call for a second referendum? Of course not. They merely changed the Constitution so they would not have to have one! What sauce! it is not surprising that nearly every country now has ever-growing “anti-Europe” skeptic parties.They may soon grab the levers of power in Brussels.
So what does M. Macron think about this deceit? Was it a good idea not to take the first referendum NON into account and then purposefully prevent the French people from having a voice on it again?
“It was a mistake,” he told me.
Europe won’t get much further out of its manifest crisis until a majority of politicians also have the humility to say: “It was a mistake!” and mean it. It would be useful for the European institutions to start remembering to celebrate the anniversaries of the signing of Europe’s founding democratic treaty.
David Heilbron Price