10 May, 2022

Europe's Democratic Future: Falsified or Fit?

 

Europe's Democratic Future: Falsified or Fit?

There is a solution

European democracy is entering its eighth decade since the Schuman Proposal of 1950. The Conference on the Future of Europe wound up in Strasbourg today. Will it help the average citizen?

What does the watchman see ahead: fog or clear waters? Where is the European ship of Democracy headed?

French President E Macron speaks; Commission President von der Leyen, European Parliament President Roberta Matsola and in foreground Commission Vice President Suica and Parliament’s Guy Verhofstadt listen.

Nearly four out of five Europeans want more say in decisions of the EU, according to a recent Bertelsmann Report, Under ConstructionCitizens participation in the European Union. It lists seven instruments that the politicians have designed to give an appearance of participation.

None of them are satisfactory.

  • European Parliament elections.

  • European Citizens’ Initiative

  • Petitions to the European Parliament

  • European Ombudsman

  • Public policy consultations by Commission services

  • Citizens’ Dialogues (town hall meetings)

  • European citizens’ consultation online by Council .

The Conference has produced nothing that will make a substantial difference to today’s dismal distrust of Brussels.

How to judge? The core issue is democratic control of laws, money and strategy. Adding more ‘people’s initiatives’ and ‘consultations’ won’t cut the mustard for people’s control of untrustworthy elites. They meet and decide in secret. They can ignore everybody else and invent reasons for actions that suit themselves. Secrecy is vital for tyranny. The North Koreans know this well.

Knowledge is power for leaders; that’s why politicians often enforce ignorance for the public. That’s the way tyrants keep power.

Autocrats’ desire to keep secrets may be the essential reason why the elites have refused to publish the original documents that described how Europe should really work and describe citizens’ rights to information and control. These tools would unzip modern tyranny.

Correcting this abuse is a major challenge. Schuman’s Proposal was a work of supreme genius. Who else could create peace and prosperity after 2000 years of continuous war? There are few people of his metal today.

Can Democracy work in Europe?

Is the EU doomed to failure as a democratic experiment? Not at all.

The facade of many 'dialogues' and 'initiatives' hide and cover up the real duty of leaders to follow the treaties and for honest governance. Even the treaties that politicians invented for their own benefit contain and retain principles of real and effective democracy. They just ignore the parts they don’t like.

Instead of openness, Europe has closed-door Councils ruling the roost, dishing out taxpayers' money according to their own rules. There are no published records of their debates, nor public access. Hence no accountability and no public trust.

What is the solution?

First, blow away the fog. Europeans have legal rights far beyond these inadequate, fig-leaf instruments that have little or no legal effect.

Leaders of three EU institutions pledged on 19 April 2021 to have an in-depth analysis of how the present 'democracy' differs from the original democratic framework and human rights safeguards drawn up at the start of the European Community in the 1950s. What really happened that the public is now so disdained?

Re-publication is an obvious first step to reverse the Democratic Deficit that the public have complained about for decades. Parliament is open; Council is closed.

The symptoms

Distrust is the inevitable result of politicians' disdain. The public in their Referendums rejected government by secretive councils. Each treaty with more secret bureaucracy was resisted time and time again.

Democratic fiascos followed the politicians plans for the Maastricht, Nice, the Constitutional, Reform and Lisbon treaties. Member States had referendums that rejected all these treaties. Public opinion was ignored or the public was told to reverse their vote.

What happened on the first and therefore the most important treaty? No referendum, no public debate even, was offered on renewing the foundational European Coal and Steel Treaty in 2002. It was stopped. Result? Disaster in the steel and energy economies.

And a decade later? Brexit was the inevitable result. The British referendum was actually based on a treaty the British public had never agreed to, and the French had rejected! (compare the Constitutional's Article 59 with Lisbon’s Article 50: they are practically word-for-word the same).

Conclusion: For decades the political leadership has failed the people.

Where are the goods?

The leaders failed to look at the original Schuman design for European democracy. In spite of my several complaints to the Ombudsman they failed even, as a bare minimum, to agree to publish the original constitutional documents. The Charter of the Community outlines how Human Rights should dictate fair and honest institutional development. (See https://schuman.info )

Schuman and the Founding Fathers envisaged, for example:

  1. Institutions open to the public and the press. The Lisbon treaties still repeat this requirement, see TFEU #15

  2. Consultative Committees shall be directly ELECTED to represent organised European civil society (industry, consumers, workers) and Regions. They would have revising powers to the Commission’s Proposals similar to the Council of Ministers (Schuman in Council of Europe, Aug 1950, Reuter etc).

  3. Commissioners should be unbiased arbiters and independent of political parties and lobbies etc. See their Oath in ECJ. Nor are they presently 'selected' properly and openly to public scrutiny as with the original High Authority.

  4. Parliament should be elected on the principle of one person one vote, not by the present system that gives some people 10 or 12 vote equivalents. TFEU 223.

  5. And so on.

How to start?

The same medicine is required in Brussels as in North Korea. The first step is for the public to insist that the Council of Ministers obey their own treaty. Their debates should be published. The press should be allowed to follow all aspects of the debate. The public should see it all on television and the internet. Only when ministers become accountable will a semblance of democracy begin to glimmer through the opaque panes of the Justus Lipsius building.

06 May, 2022

Democratic Deficit Deepens at the Conference on the Future of Europe

How the EU institutions refused to Discuss Democracy.



On 7 May 2021 

I wrote the following contribution for the section DEMOCRACY on website of the Conference on the Future of Europe.  

FIRST TIME EVER! Politicians promise to publish 

Europe's Founding Democracy Charter on this site

07/05/2021 15:31   

Wow!
For the first time our European leaders (Commission, Council, Parliament) promised to publish here the documents showing how Europeans got their democracy. They show how and why Europeans did not fight another war amongst themselves after WW2. Documents on how Europeans should develop their democracy in FIVE INSTITUTIONS with as Guardian Human Rights Court of the Council of Europe were signed 70 years ago, 18 April 1951.
These are the most important documents of modern times.
Astoundingly the five European institutions have NEVER published these vital documents. Politicians refused. Following the request of EurDemocracy.com, now they will be!
1. Full text of Schuman Declaration (including the Schuman Proposal) made on 9 May 1950. It shows how Europeans have avoided WAR for the longest time in more than 2000 years.
2. The Great Charter of the Community signed on 18 April 1951. This is also called the Declaration of Interdependence. It shows how citizens must have FREE CHOICE in treaties and election of the five institutions. Instead treaties such as the present Lisbon Treaty (and its previous version the Constitutional Treaty) were implemented AGAINST the Will of the People as expressed in public opinion polls and referendums. Europe must not develop like the fraudulent 'People's Democracies' of the Soviet bloc. Elitist Politburo imposed decisions from behind closed doors. Treaties say Councils should be OPEN to the public. Treaties ban party membership for Commission.


On 10 April 2022 

I posted the following update of my letter to leaders of the institutions.

Letter sent to French Presidency and Members of European Parliament, Commission Vice President Suica, and Democracy spokesperson.
see full text at
eurDemocracy.substack.com

Dear Conference presidents,
I am a journalist accredited in Brussels and Editor of the Schuman Project.
On 19 April 2021 (the day after the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, founding the European Community) Vice President of the Commission Mme Dubravka Suica, Mme Zacarias of the Portuguese EU presidency and Mr Guy Verhofstadt of the EP held a press conference at the Commission launching the Conference on the Future of Europe.
I asked that the original documents on Democracy agreed and signed by the Founding Fathers be published to facilitate the debate and conference decisions on European democracy.
All three institutions agreed that they would be published for the Conference and analysed.
They still have NOT BEEN PUBLISHED!

Nearly 1000 people said they were following this online

One Comment on this said:

Congratulations Mr David PRICE,

I have followed the EU Conference on the Future of Europe and have never found anything as interesting as your publication.


On 6 May 2022, 

I published the following:

DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEEPENS!

Today I asked Commission, Council and EP officials:

WHY have the foundational documents on Democracy, STILL NOT been PUBLISHED, as promised by Commission Vice President Suica, Council President Zacarias, EP Guy Verhofstadt on 19April 2021??

I was refused an answer as I had asked this earlier in the Commission Press Room. (But had not received an explanation!)

I also asked: why has the analysis of democracy not been published, comparing the original Community system to the present 'EU' system as also agreed by institutional leaders a year ago?

A high Commission official said: We are interested in the future not the past.

Conclusion:

The institutions confirm that for them Democracy is a thing of the past!!

 

25 March, 2022

Russia and WW3: How did Europe's leaders get policy so wrong?

World War Three! 

The EU's economy is burst like a flat tyre. Today's policy repeats the errors of the 1970s when OPEC's Oil Weapon punctured Europe's economy. A decade of Stagflation followed -- a combination of high inflation and stagnant growth

Then, foreigners used oil price blackmail to change foreign policy. They quadrupled oil prices in 1973. They quadrupled them again in 1979.

Today EU's Russia policy is self-inflicted. It is suicidal. World War looms. 



Are leaders abandoning 76 years of peace in Europe -- the longest in all its history?

How did European leaders burn Europe's most precious asset like a candle under a blow-torch?

Let's go back to where and when Europeans gained that peace. 

In 1950, while the Russian Red Army was poised to conquer worn out, post-war western Europe, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman made a proposal, the like of which no nation in history had ever seen before. 

Remember the context. 

The French Communist party was the largest in the French National Assembly. Post-war inflation topped 60 percent. Schuman first reformed the currency base. When in 1947-8, Schuman had been elected Prime Minister, the US ambassador cabled that a Communist coup d'Etat was imminent. Insurrectional strikes paralyzed the country, riots caused chaos, trains were derailed. 

Josef Stalin ruled the Soviet Union and his Red Army controlled the Baltics, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries. Millions were enslaved in Gulag camps. Other millions were executed at his personal behest. But in western propaganda however, he was the benign, pipe-smoking 'Uncle Joe'.

July 1949: French Foreign Minister Schuman points at Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Vishinsky,
watched by US Secretary of State Dean Acheson (left) and UK Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin.

Schuman's analysis was far different from many commentators. He proposed a New Europe by making war 'not only unthinkable but materially impossible.

On 9 May 1950 the French Government accepted his proposal. At 4.30, in a notably strong, firm voice, he pronounced his plan to the press.

'Conditions in Europe are going to be entirely changed.'

'France has acted primarily for peace, and to give peace a real chance.'

'All Europeans, whether from the East or the West, will benefit from this.'

'Europe will be born of this.'

'France has acted and the consequences of its action can be immense.'

They were. They turned the world right-side up. Europe entered its longest period of peace and the greatest prosperity in all its history.

Schuman's proposal envisaged a supranational economic Community, firstly of coal and steel. It had innovative, new institutions: 

  • an independent High Authority, 
  • an elected Assembly, 
  • elected consultation of associations of workers, consumers and enterprises,
  • a Council of national ministers and 
  • a Court of Justice. 

It would create a New Europe based on the hitherto unknown principle of a supranational Community of Coal and Steel.

 All Europeans were invited to join, Schuman declared. 


Russia, of course!

What about Russia, one journalist asked. Can Russia join?

Schuman's answer was shocking to those then. It is shocking to many today locked in boxed thinking.

Russia? But of course! (Mais oui!). 

Russia under Stalin! 

Schuman's grasp of reality and duty was light-years away from many of the leaders today. 

To understand Schuman's design for what he called the European House, we have only to look at his earlier achievements. He helped reform inflated currencies on an international scale. He was instrumental in 1948-9 in creating NATO. It offers mutual defence against any who threaten and invade one of the partner States holding common values. 

What were those values?

Schuman's government had proposed a European Assembly and a common market in July 1948. The Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms listed those values. Membership of the Council of Europe was restricted to States who agreed. Freedom presages the end of tyranny.

Marx's Mistake

Karl Marx had analysed what he called the contradictions and crisis of capitalism. Schuman had analysed the contradictions of atheistic communism. 

How, in God's good earth, would Russia, then Soviet Russia, live in peace and prosperity with the rest of the Continent? For Schuman the answer was the same as would admit post-Nazi Germany and Austria with their horrendous history into a Community of peace. 

He came up with precise predictions. The Soviet Union would collapse before the turn of the century, he told young politicians at the Assembly, although he would not live to see it. Europeans must be ready for that event. They must welcome those freed from its bonds. Politicians failed.

Isolation by former victims leads to repetition of violence. Each nation has innate qualities of culture, resources and geography. Nations should not become intoxicated with their assets to use them as instruments of domination. A Germany that played power politics between East and West was a danger. Post-Nazi Germany, Schuman said, should be welcomed  on the basis of equality by its former victims

The same policy that goes for Germany, goes for Russia. Isolating Russia drives her to work against Europe and into the hands of Communist China. It drives Europe into energy and food penury.


What should be Europe's answer for Russia?

Schuman wrote about a 'durable, organic link' to help nations blossom in freedom 'by mutually beneficial efforts and using their common resources.' That Community method is the best way to serve one's own country.

But any misuse of resources for war must be stopped at its first manifestation. 

'We must remove all reasons for war, and suppress it up to and including any temptation to start one. Nobody, not even the most unscrupulous government, should have an interest in it any more. I will go further: we want to remove any means to start a war, and to remove all temptation to war, and to risk one for gain. The worst of racketeers will be unable to spring a war on fellow Europeans.'


The Council of Europe Convention provided that instrument. The three European Communities with their common management of coal and steel (classical materials of war), atomic energy (nuclear war) and the common market (trade war) provided peace-enhancing infrastructure, aided by international anti-cartel powers.

Hope for Europe's failed leadership

After the collapse of the USSR, western leaders were not prepared to welcome post-Communist Russia at the moment of its great need.  Russia asked. Russia jointed the Council of Europe in 1996. But on 15 March 2022 Russia voluntarily withdrew. 

Western leaders thought they knew better than Schuman. They were less altruistic. Since Maastricht, they created a complex, dense and undemocratic 'European Union' for themselves. 

The Community future beckons. A European Energy and Security Treaty creating a new Community would bring Russia, the Ukraine and the West together. 

Instead of World War III, the participating States would have guaranteed peace and prosperity. 

But are our leaders too proud and obstinate to see it and work for it?

Do they prefer the suicide of civilisation?








27 February, 2022

Are Russians all evil and Ukrainians all Angels?

Ukraine Russia Crisis part 2

Russia is an international bandit, Ukrainians are all angels!

Caution.

Do not get swept up in media hype. For some reasons the EU, probably following the US lead, designates Ukraine as the poor, little victim of evil Russia. Neither State is a paragon of virtue. Ukraine runs private armies as does Russia with the Wagner Military Company.

For eight years those Russian-speakers in the Donbass who refused to conform to the decree that only the Ukrainian language was legal have been punished. For years on end, the civilians and schools are subject to massive destruction of bullets, mortars and 150mm howitzers. From 2014 to May 2021 some 14,000 people have been killed, most of them among the Russian-speakers. 

Belgium has three language groups: Flemish, French and German. Should the Brussels government bombard the communes when and if it changed to a two language State? 

Russians say the USA declared war on Serbia, Libya, Iraq and Syria where US citizens were not threatened on a daily basis as Russian-speakers are in the Donbass. Why were western media silent for those 8 years? 

Are western leaders going to explain the full context now? The reverse! EU Commission president von der Leyen wants to ban all Russian media. On what basis? How does that help EU citizens?

The fact is that neither Ukraine nor Russia are Member States of the European Union. Why then should its leaders be advocating probably the worst possible policy for Europeans? Besides provoking a wider war by taking sides, Europeans may end up with doubling or tripling of energy bills. A flat economy or its destruction may result.

Who gave the EU bureaucrats a mandate to destroy the livelihood of millions of its citizens?  

If the EU proposed a real peace policy, the area from Spain to Siberia could experience unprecedented prosperity and cooperation that it had ever seen. Such a policy could tie Russia to a new form of supranational democracy instead of casting its lot in with China and autocratic Communist codes.

Instead the EU is proposing arms shipments to the troubled area! How does that help citizens of the EU still recovering from Covid mandates?

Who will get the arms?

Most corrupt State in Europe according to Council of Europe, and Transparency International.

Ukraine most corrupt country in Europe after Russia

FEBRUARY 2018

Ukraine most corrupt country in Europe after Russia.

Ukraine ranked 130th among 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017 released by Transparency International. Ukraine improved its last year’s result by one point and got 30 points out of 100 possible. Next to Ukraine stand Gambia, Iran, Myanmar and Sierra Leone. Ukraine was able to achieve a slight improvement due to the fact that in 2017 the Ukrainian anti-corruption authorities (Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office and National Anti-corruption Bureau) forwarded to courts first corruption-related cases where the suspects were high-ranking officials.

The Biden family and other US elites have intimate connections with Billionaire Oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky 

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken banned Kolomoisky and his immediate family from America, citing Kolomoisky’s “significant corruption.” ...

Kolomoisky, who built his fortune during the lawless years immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union, reportedly has a controlling interest in Burisma, the Ukrainian oil and gas company which put President Biden’s son, Hunter, on its board of directors in 2014 at a salary of $50,000 per month. Kolomoisky dispatched his private army to take over companies and destroy a Russian-owned oil and gas refinery in Dnipropetrovsk in 2014, according to reports.

NY Post, March 6, 2021.

Putin is an opportunist and sees post-Afghan USA as historically weak, spineless and corrupt. 

Billions of dollars of aid have gone missing in Ukraine from US taxpayers and from UN agencies. Is the war useful for US elites as smoke and fog? Is it a case of the tail wagging the dog? Special Counsel John Durham has already filed the first criminal depositions of a devastating investigation of widespread corruption of the US establishment. 

 

 

Next:

Could the rise of Russian and Ukrainian nationalism and the present crisis threatening the very existence of the European Union have been foreseen in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union?