26 July, 2018

My Letter to M Barnier: Why Brexit will fail! Schuman designed the Customs Union to IMPROVE Democracies


Several months before the UK Brexit Referendum of 23 June 2016 took place, I wrote that any referendum would fail. The UK would remain part of the European Community system. Note I did not say the European Union. The UK agreed by referendum to be part of the Customs Union system of the three Communities. UK never so agreed to the Lisbon Treaty. France and other countries rejected it by referendum when it was called the Constitutional Treaty!
Now it looks like the Brexit operation is not only impossible, but even hardline Brexiteers are admitting it is impossible. There is even official talk of disruptions to food and medicine for UK’s 66 million population in case no agreement can be made.
How did I know about non-Brexit? Wasn’t Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty designed to allow the UK to leave?
I knew because I had studied Robert Schuman’s motive in creating the European Community. It wasn’t about trade. It is about DEMOCRACY. During WW2, Schuman told his parliamentary colleagues that Democracy is the only way to save Europe from itself, from war and destruction.
The Community system replaces nation states’ continual war and violence by debate and democracy. Only an anti-democratic Government would want to leave. Only an anti-democratic EU would even consider it possible to agree that the mother of parliaments leave.
A Customs Union and a Single Market require that both sides come to agreement on mainly technical issues of trade. But the core issue is really democracy. Why? Because trade involves billions, even trillions of goods and services. And customers and above all proprietors of such businesses require that decisions are taken fairly and with the justice everyone can recognize.
At the moment neither the UK nor the Brussels machine passes the Litmus Test. “Are you taking everyone’s interests into account?”
European leaders and the European Commission– supposedly the “Guardian of the Treaties” — have refused to safeguard the heritage of Schuman, They do not keep his memory alive. More specifically they do not let the public know what is the Grand Design for Open Democracy in Europe. It is their responsibility to animate a great public debate on Democracy in Europe. They have failed in their prime duty.
A stark reminder of this refusal is to commemorate what is arguably the most important date in all European history: 20 July 1948.
That is not out of ignorance. I have publicly reminded the Commission several times about the date and its importance. Listen to what the Commission saysabout commemorating this date! “It is just like any other date in history!”
On 20 July I spoke to Michel Barnier about this. He seemed surprised about the uncelebrated 70th anniversary of what could be seen as the greatest French triumph of Democracy, #EU70.
That afternoon I wrote him the following letter.
20 July 2018
Dear Mr Barnier,
Following our brief conversation at today’s press conference {at the Council of Ministers}, I am enclosing the assessment of the Liaison Group of European Historians that 20 July 1948 represents the real turning point in European history. Schuman’s Foreign Minister Georges Bidault presented the French governmental proposition for a democratic Assembly for Europe and a Customs Union.
It was the first time in all recent European history that a government had made an intergovernmental proposal for a European parliamentary assembly.
After debate with the British, this was created as the Council of Europe. Its entrance requirement was the governmental and parliamentary signature of the Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
This set up the legal order of the Court of Human Rights. The Assembly proposal also created the European Parliament of the Communities, originally conceived as a subset of the Council’s.
Schuman’s government proposal for a Customs Union saw life in the 3 Single Markets of the Coal and Steel Community and the two Communities of the Rome Treaties, 1957
Why was this the great turning point for Europe? Other proposals for integration were made by what Schuman called utopian thinkers (see his speech ‘Nos tâches européennes’ in Strasbourg 1949). This was governmental.
Schuman discussed such a constitutional system during the war, when he escaped from Germany. It would help democratise Germany, France and other member States then under threat of Communists and Nationalists. He said it would be impracticable or impossible for a new Hitler to destroy democracy or to leave. Why? because of the benefits that such a system would bring and the democratic disciplines involved. Hence it would ensure that war “was not only unthinkable but materially impossible” (Schuman Declaration). Germany did not attempt to leave or want to, but the UK is now trying to. It would appear that Schuman’s proposal is stronger.
I also enclose a link to an article I wrote about this anniversary year in January this year.
Knowing the origin and purposes of the democratic Customs Union would prove a valuable asset for both the EU-27 and the UK negotiating teams. I have described this in detail in my book — which you should have seen, I hope— Brexit and Britain’s Vision for Europe. If you do not have a copy I would be happy to present you with a copy.
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With best regards,
David H Price
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