UK has been fighting up-hill against a Gaullist wave since the 1950s.
Currently the UK and all Europeans are facing a Politburo takeover of the institutions that continues de Gaulle’s efforts to block the supranational democratic principles written into the Treaties by Europe’s Founding Fathers like Robert Schuman.
Britain’s first application to join was made in July 1961. UK only managed to join in 1973. Instead of applying Schuman’s Community principles of the Common European Interest, the negotiations were dominated by the anti-British Gaullist French. In negotiations led by arch-Gaullists, Great Britain saw its agriculture, fisheries and industries turned upside down.
Robert Schuman wrote that Democracy is not reserved to republican States.
“I would regard certain monarchies, such as Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands, just to speak of our near neighbours, as more openly and more traditionally attached to democratic principles than some republics. In republics the people have only a little direct influence on the orientation and the political decisions of the country. But we do not have to discuss the choice that a democracy has to make among the different forms of of government. We should limit ourselves to avoiding those which are obviously anti-democratic.”
Maurice Couve de Murville squeezed UK’s negotiator Edward Heath as if he was minutely defending only France’s Gaullist voters. How do I know? He told me so when I interviewed him in his Paris apartment. “It’s was just a negotiation like the others.”
That meant to grind the “opponent” and take every advantage, fair or foul, that you can. Couve was an expert. A European journalist described him in another context as :
“a man who would have taught Machiavelli’s Prince much about the art of diplomacy.”De Gaulle humiliated the UK’s membership application as much as he possibly could. He used a ‘casual’ question at one of his press conferences to veto it. This he did not once but several times. De Gaulle preferred having dictatorships like Spain’s Franco, join rather than democracies.
In the late 1940s Couve de Murville was a Director General at the Foreign Ministry. He did his utmost to sabotage Foreign Minister Robert Schuman’s policy for European reconciliation. Later he tried to destroy the Community system.
Couve insisted on closed doors at the Council of Ministers. By twisting the arms of the ‘small nations’ he made Germany’s industries and the other States pay for French agriculture and thus bribe its voters to vote Gaullist. This corrupt use of the EU budget is still a constant problem.
This background should be borne in mind. The Brussels institutions, meant to be impartial, have never been reformed since the Gaullist distortions and blocking of the democratic clauses in the European treaties. Too many politicians have acted as little de Gaulles, insisting on closed doors still and secretive package deals.
With this background in mind, here is some advice about how all Europeans should proceed. The following was published two years ago.
31 March 2014
BREXIT: FIRST Build Supranational Counter-Instruments! (Part three of series)
What would be the nature of the instruments that UK would need for the negotiations? Here are some of the issues needing action BEFORE the UK Government sends its letter of withdrawal. The strategy requires implementation as soon as possible, even before the referendum.
If not the institutions may make implementation more and more difficult for serious negotiations. The eventual goal must be borne in mind. The negotiation has to provide honest and fair solutions.
A bitter barter deal won’t cut it. It will be subject to endless renegotiations like the British rebate and the common fishing policy. Iceland has always maintained that sustainable fish stocks were the rock of its policy.
Not the EU. Secret political deals in Council ignored scientific assessments. Fish stocks were wiped out. Britain needs sustainability or it could be decimated by secret attacks at the Council of Ministers like the fish stocks.
How can UK negotiate with Brussels when the institutions are not impartial? Take the Commission as an example. It has to act for 27 Member States plus the UK at the same time. Which side will it Commission favour since one member will leave and 27 will stay? How can it be impartial? Can the UK trust it?
The Commission should provide an impartial overview of UK’s needs within Europe’s needs and interests. It doesn’t. How then can it be impartial when later it represents interests of States who are trying to displace UK and assert its supremacy?
In a recent outburst against the British Conservative group, President Jose Manuel Barroso said that unless they conformed to his idea of pro-European policy, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) would become the ‘first force’ in British politics for Europe.
Mr Cameron retorted the Commission is not respecting the UK’s government party and lecturing it. The strategy must counter the negative proclivity of the Commission thinking that it alone is right. It must do it before and not try to change the highly political Commission during negotiations.
Then there is the Council. Britain has Europe’s strongest banking and financial sector – which many would like to see moved to the Continent. How can British multinationals be assured that they have fair and open access to the European Single Market without being coshed again?
The Council takes its instructions from the European Council of heads of governments. So what lessons are to be learned their about impartiality? After the 28 June 2013 summit, P.M. Cameron denounced as ‘unacceptable and ‘frustrating’ the one a.m. ambush on the UK rebate issue, supposedly finalized in February. “I just think this is no way for an organisation to conduct itself.” he added.
The atmosphere could become far worse. The UK should not forget the de Gaulle’s NON. He refused Britain’s entry. Not once, but twice. He caused havoc to international negotiation. He did not discuss it in the Council of Ministers. Or his own Cabinet! Nor by formal letter or in an international conference but at a press conference! He ran the Community like it was his own backyard to exploit for agriculture and bribing politicians and voters.
Then there is the European Parliament. De Gaulle considered it a cipher. Today has gained powers with major financial powers of codecision from the Lisbon Treaty. This could wreck a carefully sculpted negotiation made with the Council. Anyone watching the debates in the EP can scarcely believe that it will take the negotiation lying down and with a benign smile. The Council’s Legal Service concluded that the Financial Transfer Tax was not legal. This did not seem to deter MEPs.
One political group declared in a press release:
Appealing to governments to stick to proposals for the introduction of a financial transaction tax (FTT), despite ‘cynical’ legal manoeuvring, Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias said the EU has a clear choice:
“Either we rescue politics and our society from financial markets or we can start to say goodbye to a common European project.”
The Court is another hidden danger. An appeal to a Court that favoured integrationist and ratchet federalism could years later strip off key decisions of the negotiation result. All hard, detailed work would be in vain if, years later, the Court reversed key aspects.
The EU has hardly improved democratically since de Gaulle’s day. The fruit of de Gaulle’s corrupt anti-democracy was the misdirection of Community funds into Wine Lakes, Meat Mountains, and Cheese Bergs. Millions of Europeans’ money were wasted on local politicians’ pet infrastructure projects of bridges and autoroutes that went nowhere.
The entire budget system which takes taxpayers’ money and spends it as the political Politburo decides lacks transparency and control by taxpayers. Today we have airports that have no passengers and other much more expensive wastes of taxpayers’ money.
Even worse the politicians’ ill-founded Euro project (intended by many southern States to get Community funding for governmental mismanagement) costs around seven times the entire EU budget by its European Stability Mechanism ESM, European Finance and Stability Facility, EFSF and other dubious operations of the Fiscal Compact. It is often said that ‘EU is not prepared to make changes.’
It has continuously lost public trust as it has changed from the original idea of a democratic Community of equal partners, equal governments, equal enterprises, unions, consumers and equal individuals. Today it run by party political machines, who are lobbyists for who knows whom. It is a political club run in secret by a politburo in the closed-door European Council and the EuroGroup.
It chooses the Parliament president in secret.
It makes Foreign Policy in secret.
It names the European Central Bank president in secret.
It appoints the Commission president in secret from among its own, ignoring 98 percent of the European population.
But the UK has real Membership leverage to bring reform BEFORE the Exit Letter. How? The second key aspect of the negotiation is the pre-reform of institutions to make them really democratic. Only when the basic conditions are settled for a democratic discussion, should the UK government think about sending its official letter about leaving the EU.