Catherine Ashton, the EU’s high commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy writes in the Guardian that the EU is ready to provide “deep democracy” for Egypt and Tunisia and is ready to help.
The High Commissioner’s article reminds me of what Ronald Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Perhaps “I’m from the EU and I’m bringing you democracy” might be the new most terrifying nine words in English. The Egyptians and Tunisians ought to say to the EU: If what you practice is democracy, give me Mubarak or Ben Ali. I’d rather have true tyranny.
High Commissioner Ashton says that democracy is “…about votes and elections,…” and “much more than that”. She is right; it is about respecting the will of the people. Take Ireland. The Emerald Isle voted in a referendum to reject the Lisbon Treaty in 2008. The press at that time explained it as a dismaying act. EU leaders were upset; here’s the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso:
The no vote in Ireland has not solved the problems which the Lisbon Treaty is designed to solve. The ratification process is made up of 27 national processes. Eighteen member states have already approved the treaty and the European Commission believes that the remaining ratifications should continue to take their course.
The German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said:
The ratification process must continue. I am still convinced that we need this treaty – a treaty that makes Europe more democratic, more capable of acting and more transparent.
The “democratic” EU leaxders began to plot in connivance with the Irish Government to negate the will of the people and campaign for a new referendum. The EU was already working over the Irish Government (all the parties but Sein Fein supported Lisbon in 2008; most European political parties, when it comes to Europe, are Tweedledee and Tweedledum) late in 2008:
Ireland has been under French and German pressure to hold a second vote and Autumn 2009 has emerged as the favoured date among officials and diplomats ahead of the European Union summit on the future of the Lisbon Treaty next month.
The EU had an internal paper, the Solution to the Irish Problem, to neatly fix the issue dividing Europe. This is of course crass intervention in the worst way. According to both Open Europe and former Conservative MEP candidate Zehra Zaidi, Ireland was to be promised, a la Bart Stupak, various “concessions” that are unenforceable:
Ireland will be guaranteed that it will not lose its EU Commissioner and there will be “declarations” setting out Ireland’s right to set its own policies on neutrality, abortion and taxation.
The Irish people fell for it; they voted for Lisbon in 2009. So much for respecting the people’s will. From the BBC:
The legally binding “guarantees” state that Lisbon will not affect key areas of Irish sovereignty, such as taxation, military neutrality and family matters such as abortion – significant issues in last year’s campaign in Ireland. But they have not yet been attached to the treaty.
If the assurances are not attached to the treaty, they are only legally binding until the EU or the ECHR or some other European body says they are not. Just like President Obama’s promise to Congressman (now former thankfully) Stupak!
The EU decided to amend Lisbon in such a way as to avoid another referendum on national bailouts! the Irish Times article is quite delicious in its deviousness:
EU LEADERS are poised this week to agree an amendment to the Lisbon Treaty to create a permanent rescue fund for euro countries, a step they believe they can take without prompting another Irish referendum. * * * While most countries opposed revising the treaty, Dr Merkel has been pressing for change because she fears her country’s constitutional court will take issue with the €750 billion fund which is being used in the €85 billion rescue of Ireland by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.
Let’s not face the people or any sort of court decision. The German people get to bail out the Greeks and are not consulted. Once again, Tweedledee and Tweedledum; all for EU powers all the time. The parties pretend to fight hard but when the cards are down, it’s support Europe, whether “right” or “left”. How is that different from a rigged election in Tunisia or Egypt?
Now this is surely a first: Sandy Sanders, staunch anti-Communist, agrees with the International Committee of the Fourth International (Whittaker Chambers and Ronald Reagan turn your heads for a minute!) but they are right about the anti-democratic nature of the EU:
It is a measure of the undemocratic character of the Lisbon agenda that Ireland’s three million eligible voters are alone amongst the EU’s 490 million population in having been given the opportunity of voting on the treaty.
The Fourth International is also (gulp) right (although their analysis is classically Marxist) on the rise of the EU as a rival of the USA.
Lisbon is designed to strengthen the EU as an imperialist trading, diplomatic and military bloc and global rival to the United States and China.
Want more: Here’s a Q and A with a British attorney who analyzes the interplay between EU and UK law. He tries, Lord bless him, to make it look and sound democratic but he admits it is arbitrary:
Member states are responsible for ensuring that their national legislation is consistent with European law. Where it is not, they must amend existing provisions, and introduce such new law as necessary. * * * By contrast, [EU] regulations have “general application”. That means they are binding on individuals and effectively form part of domestic law as soon as they are made. It is generally only necessary to amend existing national provisions that are inconsistent with regulations, rather than make new legislation altogether.
But even EU directives on member governments must be followed or the nation may be fined:
The Commission can bring infraction proceedings before the European Court of Justice under Article 226 of the Treaty. * * * If a member state fails to correct the breach the Commission may take the additional (and rare) step of bringing Article 228 proceedings. That means a member state might either be charged a lump sum or fined on an ongoing basis until the defect is put right, or possibly both.
Finally, the EU High Commissioner wants a democratic Egypt and Tunisia based on “tolerance, peace and prosperity.” I suggest that any institution that has a regulation on bananas like this, is not one Egypt or Tunisia should emulate:
In all classes, subject to the special provisions for each class and the tolerances allowed, the bananas must be:
- green and unripened,
- sound; produce affected by rotting or deterioration such as to make it unfit for consumption is excluded,
- clean, practically free from visible foreign matter,
- practically free from pests,
- practically free from damage caused by pests,
- with the stalk intact, without bending, fungal damage or dessication,
- with pistils removed,
- free from malformation or abnormal curvature of the fingers,
- practically free from bruises,
- practically free from damage due to low temperatures,
- free from abnormal external moisture,
- free from any foreign smell and/or taste.
If it was limited to bananas, I’d could perhaps live with that. But it’s far worse. There is a clear limit to tolerance in the Europe of today. This draft committee report of a parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe for example condemns creationism and intelligent design in schools throughout Europe. Try this:
Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.
The Assembly calls on education authorities in member States to promote scientific knowledge and the teaching of evolution and to oppose firmly any attempts at teaching creationism as a scientific discipline.
The draft from the committee is concerned that creationism and intelligent design are a “threat to human rights” (I can’t make this up!) and must be resisted in all costs in Europe. Here’s one particularly evil example:
Finally, there are, especially in the United States, a number of aberrations inherent in the denialism practised against evolution and in the accompanying proselytising. A documentary film by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, entitled Jesus Camp and released in the United States in autumn 2006, provides evidence of them. It shows a Pentecostal minister, Becky Fisher, who has opened in a North Dakota forest a holiday camp overtly devoted to the indoctrination of children. In front of the camera, she explains that from the age of 7 to 9 a human being can be made to believe anything and that that remains engraved in their brain for life. Fisher says she found her model among the Muslim fundamentalists. This documentary reveals all the violence and fanaticism of the most radical of the creationist movements and the effectiveness with which they succeed in manipulating human beings.
Thank the Lord (Watch out, Sandy, that might be a human rights violation!) the report was not adopted. But this chilling article shows how what we would call social conservatism has largely been ostracized or even criminalized in Europe today. The ECHR (yes, that court that gave convicted prisoners the right to vote) held that Germany could use Nazi era school laws to prevent home schooling. I suppose prisoners have more rights than Christian kids.
All this is more evidence that Egypt and Tunisia should say thanks but no thanks to the “deep democracy” of the European Union. Remember what I said: The EU is NOT YOUR FRIEND, USA!