15 December, 2010

Proliferation4: The coming Mid-East War to 'cut the Head of the Snake' will paralyze Europe unless it fixes energy independence goals NOW!

Three lessons should be clear to Europe's policy-makers from the WikiLeaks affair.
The Saudis strident warning against Iran to diplomats is now seen by all and sundry: 'Cut off the head of the snake' That message from the Saudi king says the snake is Iran. The nuclear bomb is its fangs. The Saudis recently signed a $60 billion arms deal with the US -- one of the biggest ever. Saudi Arabia is to buy 84 new F-15 fighter jets and three types of helicopters: 70 Apaches, 72 Black Hawks and 36 Little Birds. Upgrades for 70 other F-15s already in the Saudi Air Force is included, as well as Saudi purchases of HARM anti-radar missiles, precision-guided JDAM bombs and Hellfire missiles.

This shows a resumption of the close relationship of the defence communities that was frozen after the 9/11 attack on Washington and New York by Saudi suicide-jihadis. This huge deal is all the more extraordinary because leaked cables reveal that Saudi donors remain chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like al Qaeda. The Gulf state of Qatar, that has hosted the American military for years, was called the 'worst in the region' in counter-terrorism efforts.

The Jordanians call Iran an octopus. Why? 'Iran is of an octopus whose tentacles reach out insidiously to manipulate, foment, and undermine the best laid plans of the West and regional moderates. Iran’s tentacles include its allies Qatar and Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, an Iraqi government sometimes seen as supplicant to Tehran, and Shia communities throughout the region.' explains a US diplomat.

Zaid Rifai, then-president of the Jordanian Senate and former prime minister and foreign minister, is quoted as saying to US diplomat, 'Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won't matter.' The diplomatic cable continues, 'while Rifai judged a military strike would have "catastrophic impact on the region," he nonetheless thought preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons would pay enough dividends to make it worth the risks.'

Are the Saudis preparing for war or is the arms deal merely a token encouragement for others to do so? Will the holders of Mecca attack the followers of the Twelfth Imam? They would prefer other people's blood is spilt first. The Saudis told the Americans that the USA should go to war to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons.

The Israelis are curiously mute about the Saudi arms deal. They see the immediate threat of a holocaust-denying, nuclear-armed regime that would like to wipe the Jewish State off the map as more urgent than the corrosive but persistent diplomacy of the Saudis to undermine it. The Saudis let it be known that for a considerable period they have been in talks with the Israelis. They have held meetings in Jordan between the highest security officials. Compared with the real danger they see with Iran, clearly the fear of being seen talking to the Israelis, Zionists and Jews is of little consequence.

Iran with its skilled media manipulation has made the Palestinian issue the hottest emotional issue, regardless of facts on the ground. It is the means to distract world attention from its own plans. The emir of Qatar is reported as saying that, based on his over 30 years of experience with the Iranians, we shouldn’t believe but one word in a hundred that the Iranians say.

Next year with the continuing hard winter in Europe may be an even greater danger for Europe. For the first time in 36 years, Iran will assume the chairmanship of the oil cartel, OPEC. The cartel controls the price of oil by determining the supply rate and shutting the oil spigot. That is another element to factor in as the world passing into peak oil is now facing accelerating demand from oil and gas from booming China.

Disclosures from European politicians in the released cables show that the danger is widespread -- but secret. There is little public debate. Some leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel, have, however, spoken out in public. Iran with a bomb 'threatens the entire free world,' she told the US Congress. Are other leaders being as frank with their public AT HOME?

There is one stark exception. Israel has consistently spoken out to its public and abroad about the danger to all. Iran is still a far-away country for Israel but it experiences the effects of Iranian support to terrorist organisations in Gaza, Lebanon, its own heartland and Jordan. Tens of thousands of rockets and missiles have been launched from Gaza, many of them Iranian imports. Gaza has a stockpile of 5000 and Hizbollah in Lebanon many more, some 50,000 to 80,000 due to ineffective UN 'peace-keepers'.

Israel has shown that it has valued world safety and ethics more highly than any other country in the region. When Saddam Hussein of Iraq was building an atomic programme with the aim of launching a nuclear bomb on Israel, Israel acted although it seems the world said 'Don't do it!'

That courageous action gave the world a breathing space from a nuclear Mid-East war. Only after the act and after a little more reflection did the world's diplomats agree that Israel had saved their own hides.

Much expertise and equipment from Saddam's Iraq was secreted into Syria, say the cables. Israel bombed that plant which potentially threatened its own existence and that of much of the West. Europe looked dumbly on.

Why are Arab states so anxious about Iran, nominally a fellow-Islamic nation? Three reasons spring to mind, religion (shi'ites versus sunnis), race (Persians versus Arabs) and politics (control of the Gulf with its choke point on oil, and the expanding terrorist network to Hizbollah in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza with increasing interference in Egypt). At the core of this is the revolutionary, expansionist ideology of the twelfth imam of Ayotollah Khomeini who wanted world religious revolution. For thirty years the crowds have been yelling Death to the Great Satan, meaning the West, USA and Europe. The success of the industrialized West puts to shame the barren outcome of Islamic development. So extremists feel the only way to show Islamic society as superior is to destroy or undermine the West. 'We will export our revolution throughout the world ... until {Islam} is echoed all over the world,' exclaimed Ayatollah R Khomeini. Osama bin Laden said the same thing as the founder of his faction: 'I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah and his prophet Mohammad.' Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al warned Europeans on the Danish cartoon affair: 'Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world. This is not a figment of the imagination but a fact. Tomorrow we will lead the world, Allah willing.'

Europe is in great danger. Firstly such threats attempt to undermine the supranational or universal values on which Europe is built. Forcing religious belief by the sword, bomb and blackmail is a power given to no man. It is illegitimate. Freedom to choose, and especially freedom of religious choice, is a fundamental value written into Europe's great Charter of Interdependence. The freedom to hold a religion or not and to change one's religious belief freely is written into the Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, initiated by Robert Schuman and other Founding Fathers. That should make it abundantly clear that Europe is a zone of peace where all debate, political and religious, is open. All views may be analyzed. Violence and the threat of violence is excluded.

What are Europeans leaders doing about the physical danger of a Mid-East war? What would happen if the Persian Gulf is blocked in this seemingly inevitable war between Islamic factions? Despite decades of warnings dating back to the times of the Founding Fathers of the European Community, European leaders have made little progress to the goal of energy independence. Only by saving energy and providing the maximum amount of its own native energy can Europe have an independent foreign policy, rather than being on the hook of its energy suppliers.

We must learn as Schuman said that Europe's salvation must come from itself and those resources given to its citizens, material and spiritual.

05 December, 2010

Truth10: Hungarians, Show Courage Again! It's 60 years! Publish the Community's democratic Magna Carta of 1951!

The 18th April 2011 represents the 60th anniversary of the founding of the European Community and signature by the Founding Fathers of the great Charter of the Community, laying down the democratic principles on which Europe should organize itself. The Charter has not been published since the 1950s.

Why? Because de Gaulle's subsequent rise in France, his seizure of power and his war against Community democracy buried it deep in the Foreign Ministry's archives. De Gaulle is long dead. Secrecy, anti-democratic practice and political cartels remain.

Over the ensuing decades the European Commission has refused to publish Europe's Charter. It still does. Many recent requests have been turned down. A complaint is presently lodged with the European Ombudsman.

Is the Commission afraid that the shade of the French autocrat will haunt the Berlaymont? Are they scared that the democratic principles of Europe's foundation will expose their double-dealing and the cartel party politics that now subverts the institutions?

The Great Charter of the European Community should be published next year. The public has a right to know that supranational democracy is the 'true foundation' on which that the founding fathers and Member States agreed to build Europe as a Community. It is not intergovernmentalism, a neo-Gaullist process where matters like raising taxes and spending is conducted behind closed doors and without any participation or control of public opinion or taxpayers.

The following letter was sent to the Hungarian Permanent Representative to the EU with copies to the European Commission, all Member States and Presidents of the European Parliament, Economic and Social Committee, Committee of Regions and European Council.

Schuman Project
The origin, purpose and future of
Europe’s supranational Community

2 December 2010

H E Ambassador Dr. Péter Györkös
Hungarian Representation to the EU

Dear Ambassador,
Many of us remember the courageous action of the Hungarians, not only in 1989 in bringing about the collapse of the Berlin Wall, but also the heroic action of 1956, when many gave their lives to establish the principle of a people’s and nation’s rights and their freedom to choose.

Next year, 2011, not only brings the Hungarian presidency of the Council meetings, but also the 60th anniversary of the major positive event in modern European history. That is the signature of the Charter of the Community on the day the Founding Fathers also signed the Treaty of Paris, establishing the first European Community, that of Coal and Steel.

The Charter of the Community speaks in legal and lyrical terms of Europeans’ right to unite in freedom. It held out hope to the countries behind the Iron Curtain.

It states clearly: ‘the contracting parties give proof of their determination to call the first supranational institution into life, and are consequently creating the true foundation for an organized Europe.

This Europe is open to all European nations that can decide freely for themselves. We sincerely hope that other countries will join in our common endeavour.

For decades this momentous, historic document about the foundation of Europe has lain gathering dust in archives.

Is not the date 18 April 2011 the day to bring this again to the knowledge of the public and reaffirm the living principles it encapsulates for our future?

I request that the Hungarian Presidency will seize this opportunity to make an exhibition of this and other documents of Europe’s foundation in the Council building in Brussels, prior to a tour of the 27 Member States.

Yours etc,

30 November, 2010

Truth9 Mr Ombudsman: Where is Europe's Magna Carta, guaranteeing everyone's freedom to choose?

The European Ombudsman
Against the European Commission

What is the decision or matter about which you complain? When did you become aware of it? Add annexes if necessary.

The complaint is about the continuing failure of European Institutions in particular the European Commission to publish the full text of the Schuman Declaration (and publishing an edited version as allegedly the Full Text) and refusal to publish the Charter of the Community of 18 April 1951. The full details of the complaint are in Complaint 1200/2010/ RT.

I have made numerous appeals, written and otherwise, over a period of two or three decades, including letters to the Commission President and other institutions. Some letters were also published on the Web on 30 November 2009. http://democracy.blogactiv.eu/2009/11/30/commission-debate18-open-letter-to-new-commission-on-europes-foundational-declaration-of-interdependence-and-supranational-democracy/ and http://www.schuman.info/truth7.htm

I am here replying to latest letter of the director general of the Commission’s Communication DG of 5 July 2010.

What do you consider that the EU institution or body has done wrong?

Following my earlier complaint, 1200/2010/RT, I would like to expose the fallacies in the response I have received from Commission Director General Mr Sørensen of the DG Communication. These answers seem to have been accepted at face value by the Ombudsman. I was not allowed to reply before the Ombudsman closed the case. Following the subsequent recommendation of the Ombudsman, I am therefore renewing my complaint.

The Commission is supposed to be guardian of the treaties. This function requires that the Commission have a clear understanding of what the treaties are, where they are kept and also how to discern the truth and veracity of documents. Unfortunately the Director General Sørensen makes some elementary mistakes in his reply. The officials do not know where to look for the original (which is clearly stated in the treaty) and they have chosen an archive that is obviously the wrong one. This would indicate that the Commission officials do not take their major public function seriously.

(1) The Director General says that he verified the Schuman Declaration with the University Institute of Florence. He need not have gone so far abroad; the answer is near at hand. It can easily be shown that the real Declaration is not the document at Florence, and that the problem document was presumably provided during the Monnet presidency of the High Authority. The Florence archive of Commission documents was only set up by Commission Decision in 1983. Officially it only deals with documents deposited since the European Coal and Steel Community started. Its archives started in 1952. The archive contains a dossier labeled the Schuman Declaration but obviously this does not contain the original of the Declaration. Nor does the archive contain important originals such as the Treaty of Paris, signed on 18 April 1951 or other foundational documents like the Charter of the Community (‘Europe Declaration of Interdependence’). These were apparently never in the Commission archive. (Monnet did not like the word supranational, the foundational, legal term for the Community. 'I do not like the word supranational and never fancied it.' Mémoires p 352.) At best the DG’s alleged Schuman Declaration used so frequently by the Commission and other institutions is a shortened copy introduced by the Monnet team who have been proved to be unreliable when it comes to historical fact.

(2) (a) Where is the original of the Schuman Declaration? The original Declaration is the text of the actual speech that Schuman made on 9 May 1950 in the Salon de l’Horloge of the Quai d’Orsay, the Foreign Ministry building in Paris. Where is it? As might be expected, it is deposited at the French Foreign Ministry archives. Is it a secret matter, kept out of public view? Possibly. However, the Commission has at hand an authentic copy of the original text. It is annotated with corrections in the handwriting of Robert Schuman. It contains the full text of the introduction that set the geopolitical context and describes the importance of the initiative. These vitally important paragraphs are always omitted from Commission publications. They are reproduced in colour facsimile in the book, ‘Un Changement d’Espérance’ published only in 2000 (fifty years after the event) by the Jean Monnet Foundation (JMF). A copy is to be found in the Central Library of the European Commission in Brussels. The book says that one copy of the important introductory paragraphs of the Declaration is to be found in the archives of the Jean Monnet Foundation, which also holds important private papers of Schuman. The last words are ‘Voici cette décision, avec les considérations qui l’ont inspirées.’ According to this book, Schuman’s corrected text of the rest of the Declaration is to be found at the French Foreign Ministry. It should be noted that the pages of the typescript are numbered and that page 3 starts with the phrase ‘La paix mondiale …’ (That is the part that the Commission uses with some changes on http://europa.eu/abc/symbols/9-may/decl_en.htm .) That page numbering would indicate the full text with Schuman’s corrections in his own hand is probably in the Ministry. The JMF copy of this first part of the Declaration is typed on a different typewriter and the book says that this is to be found at the JMF at Lausanne, Switzerland.

(2b) Mr Sørensen says that in 9 May 2010 celebrations a reconstitution of the Schuman Declaration took place at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of celebrations. He did not say if this and the ‘re-lecture of the Schuman Declaration’ at Paris included the full text. If not why not?

(2c) The list of events he supplies supposedly for the sixtieth anniversary of the Schuman Declaration includes many events having nothing to do with Schuman (Chopin, Nikowitz, cocktail parties and discussions of Gaullist ideas like ‘Franco-German engines’, which Schuman opposed. Why is the Commission spending money supporting anti-communautaire ideas? ) The letter fails to say how much money was spent directly on the Schuman Declaration celebrations (not Schumann Declaration as was written) compared with the fraudulent 50th Birthday campaign of 2007, called ‘Together since 1957’. That PR event, aimed unsuccessfully to try to make people like the Lisbon Treaty without its being published, was in total contradiction to the Community Charter. In the Charter the Founding Fathers declared that 18th April 1951 should be commemorated as the day creating ‘the true foundation of an organized Europe’ and Europeans should be free to choose.

3 (a) The French Foreign Ministry is also the Depository of the original text of the Treaty of Paris. According to Article 100 of the Treaty there is only one authentic copy and that is held in Paris. Certified copies of the Treaty are to be sent to Member States.

(3b) The French Foreign Ministry is presumably the legal Depository of the Charter of the Community, the Europe Declaration of Interdependence. This document is of primary importance as it represents a signed agreement of all the Founding Fathers, the plenipotentiaries of the Six. It defines the spirit and purpose of the European Community. However it is not clear whether the French Ministry sent copies of the Charter of the Community to Member States. It is hard or almost impossible to find. After Schuman left the Foreign Ministry it came under even stronger Gaullist control. The Charter is printed in books about the Treaty and is in newspapers of the time. This Charter is, by some considerations, more important than the treaty itself as it describes the principles on which Europe should unite, such as freedom of thought and the free and wholehearted action of the people. In it the Founding Fathers defined the federating principle for organizing Europe as supranational democracy. Schuman puts the Charter in the category of the Magna Carta for Europe.

What, in your view, should the institution or body do to put things right?

The European Commission has refused over decades to publish its foundational documents because presumably the documents insist that all treaties should be democratically agreed and not forced through against the wish of the people.

(1) The Commission should publish a full apology for not having published these documents in more than half a century (when de Gaulle took power). (2) The full text of the Schuman Declaration with the introduction and the corrections of Schuman should be published prominently with an explanation. (3) The Charter of the Community should be given major prominence and presented to the public by the Commission itself with a full explanation of what is meant by supranational democracy, how it provides the true foundation for Europe, how the five supranational institutions are to work together in this democratic system, which is ‘open to all European countries’ and where people are ‘free to choose’. (4) These documents should remain the major documents in all publications explaining the astonishing introduction of peace in Europe after more than 2000 years of continuous warfare and the creation of a true foundation for organizing Europe for works of peace.

Please treat my complaint publicly

15 November, 2010

Budget6 Fiasco as EU's Budget egotistical talks fail. What happened to the taxpayer?

'A fiasco!' 'A kindergarten.' That's what Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski called the failure of the Council of Ministers and Parliament to agree in the Budget Conciliation Committee. It broke up soon after midnight on 16 November 2010. It became a dialogue of the deaf, the politics of the 'kindergarten'. Each was claiming the budget is my toy. Yet the budget is taxpayers' money. Guess who was excluded from the meeting? Yes, the public!

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek kept repeating his question about how to make the budget less crisis-prone in the future, but the Council refused to answer. It was not able to do so because some Member States would not discuss the matter. They claimed the budget was THEIR money. Whose money is it really? Who should decide how to spend it?

It is an expensive mistake to plan a crisis when the financial markets are scrutinizing the EU's political will on financial matters and testing the euro. The honesty and integrity of governments is under the microscope. This crisis could easily be avoided if the European governance system put the citizen at the centre of its affairs rather than marginalizing him.

The Council wanted the EP's agreement on the 2011 budget according to their whims. The Parliament which initially asked for a 6 percent increase rapidly changed its tune and agreed to accept the Council's 2.9 percent. Why? That way Parliament could concentrate on a matter they considered a priority. Control. It wanted to establish clearer rules for the longer term to avoid the knock-down-drag-out discussions every year. A flexible mechanism under the new treaty was needed for the future finances, the Parliament maintained. Commissioner Lewandowski said it was a legitimate request of Parliament. But the Council refused to respond.

Instead neither party got what it wanted. The budget now moves into crisis mode with the possibility that next year's budget will be fixed at the present level and doled out in monthly packages.

The Parliamentary delegation told the Council it had lost its position of trust. Never before said the Budget committee chairman, Alain Lamassoure, had the Parliament simply accepted the Council's budget figure. However the removal of this financial point of contention only exposed more to daylight the Council's lack of political interest in creating a new working relationship on the budget which would treat the Parliament as co-partner. The Council -- or at least three or more member States -- refused to discuss the subject. Their intention is simply to retain their governments power as the sole decider in budgetary matters.

Council President, Belgian Minister Melchior Wathelet told the Conciliation Committee that the lack of agreement would 'hit the citizen'. Really? The citizen was the main interested party left out of the whole discussion. The whole of the budget process involves a system that tries to shut out the citizen. Why? Because money is involved, the plaything of politicians. The citizen is incidental to the process. The budget involves taking taxes from the citizen, and spending it for the citizen. It was all done behind the citizen's back and with the public being excluded wherever possible.

What was the scrap about? One so-called democratic institution was at loggerheads with another. Each had 27 delegates in the meeting. Both sides claimed (somewhere in the past) that they were representing the citizen either via his national government or via his parliamentarians. If they were both representing the citizen accurately and faithfully, why then was there such disagreement? Why was there a crisis? Who was the advocate for the citizen? Were neither?

It can easily be proved that none of the three institutions involved had the citizen's welfare at heart. How? The citizen is totally excluded from the meetings and all the debates of the Council and the Conciliation Committee. The secret committees are the places where the politicians decide how much they will take out of the pocket of the citizen. The Conciliation Committee was a closed door affair. The so-called democratic institutions are ASHAMED to show their real behaviour on television.

This is all the more extraordinary when both institutions were quoting the Lisbon Treaty at each other. One Article they did not quote was article 15. It says: 'The Union institutions .... shall conduct their work as openly as possible. The European Parliament shall meet in public, as shall the Council when considering and voting on a draft legislative act.'

The Commission, which is supposed to represent all the interests in the Community and is guardian of the treaties, said nothing at this travesty.

The Council's own meeting was advertised to the public as 'Public debates and deliberations'. In reality it was not available to the public because the Council opened it for public viewing for one second on the internet. Then someone pressed the PAUSE button. Nothing was seen or heard until the final moments several hours later when it was clear that no agreement could be made. Not even on a simple text of a couple of sentences that was to represent their views on how exactly the Council and Parliament would work together.

The whole debating process would have been of major interest to citizens because it would show how their governments advocated, or failed to advocate, common action on the budget when they meet and talk to other European governments. Any voter would like to have this information. So would the media. It would provide means to analyse political ethics in action on raising and using tax.

The 27 members of the Council, finance ministers or their representatives of the 27 Member States, then left the Council building to attend the joint meeting in room 5G3 of the European Parliament.

The Parliament had worked with commendable openness on the Budget question until the Conciliation Committee. It then fell in with the Council's bad habits. The Conciliation took place in Parliament but Parliament immediately shut the doors to room 5G3 when the Council and Commission entered. Why? Who authorized this?

Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski characterised the whole affair as 'self-centered and egoistical'. This was to be expected from the people who brought Europe the Lisbon Treaty (Also Known As the Constitutional Treaty) in spite of its rejection by the citizens. In the Parliament's library a few days before, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the author of the Constitutional Treaty, addressed a meeting about Europe 2020. He explained that after it had been soundly rejected in referendums, the politicians purposely thought of a way to pass the same text by making it unreadable. It was reproduced in the form of a list of amendments to the existing treaties. (A few non-controversial matters like the the European flag and anthem were left out -- it was then called a simplified version.) The Council refused to publish the cut-and-paste list of amendments as a complete text.

That conjuring act was designed to try to fool the citizen and obliterate the citizen's rights. It was immoral. So it is unlikely that anything moral will result from a method so ugly and in favour of a political cartel acting against democracy. That is proving to be the case. 'Self-centered' and 'egoistical' are clearly descriptions of institutions that have forgotten they are servants of the citizens not the bosses.

The citizens were rejected and ejected out of the system. And now the citizen-rejecting politicians (both Parliament and Council) want to speak for the citizen. In reality they are only speaking for themselves.

It bodes ill for future and those who wished to replace the supranational Community system by the inter-governmental Lisbon Treaty system.

12 November, 2010

Budget5 Letter to European Council President Van Rompuy on moral and legal requirement of open, public debate on taxes

The following letter was sent to Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council about public access to discussions inside the European Council on public money.
Schuman Project

11 November 2010

Mr Herman Van Rompuy
President, European Council

Public access to Budgetary draft legislation meetings

Dear President Van Rompuy,
At the European Council press conference on 29 October 2010 in reply to a question about the Budget, citing the Lisbon Treaty Article 15.2 (TFEU) the Commission President, Mr Barroso, replied that ‘I think we should keep full respect of the Lisbon Treaty in all the co-decision procedures.

The treaty says in Article 15.2 (TFEU) The European Parliament shall meet in public, as shall the Council when considering and voting on a draft legislative act.

He added that historically 'the European Council has never met in open format.'

In your reply you said: And will not do {so}.

However the European Council is now an institution of the Lisbon Treaty, not an informal arrangement. The closed-door format seems in contradiction with Article 15.1 which says that: In order to promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society, the Union institutions, bodies and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible. Parliament has its debate on the Budget in public. Other articles stress the need for uniform open procedure. How can civil society participate and debate with secrecy in the European Council? Decades of bad financial governance have been aggravated by secrecy.

Public access is the fundament of democracy. It is essential to have open, public sessions of all institutions when it comes to draft legislation on tax and public money. Today is both the time of austerity and of grave suspicions of fraudulent practice in high places. Openness is a moral imperative, as well as a legal requirement.

As confirmed by government leaders, the European Council discussed the budget in detail, (that is ‘considered draft legislation’ ). They did so with the President of the European Parliament and among themselves with the Commission. May I ask for an official reply as to why the meetings of the European Council on public money were shut to the public, television and the press? On what moral and legal basis was it decided that the public and press should be excluded?

Many thanks for your help in this matter.

11 November, 2010

Budget4 How EU's leaders can prove they are democrats, not kleptocrats

Seventy years ago Europeans fought a war about theft of property. The Nazis were kleptocrats. The gang stole from everyone they could. It became a planetary war. In Germany Hitler disenfranchised many of his honest citizens. He stripped them of their wealth and then sent them with any persistent supporters, Jews, Christians, journalists or politicians, to the gas chambers and death camps. Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland and subjugated lands that were not his own. He then stormed into Russia to steal its petroleum. Western democracies united to free themselves from oppression by these gangsters.

Europe's Founding Fathers helped fight and win that war. They then established a new democracy for the whole of Europe. They did not do so to AGAIN subjugate Europeans to another form of political kleptomania.

Today, to have a position in the main European institutions, you have to be a member of a political party. That puts you in 2 percent of Europe's population who have a party card. Fully 98 percent of the population are excluded from representation. This is the greatest act of discrimination in modern times. Both Hitler and Stalin had far more party members. (Their enlightened enemies compromised critics who refused to join the party for cultural, religious, ethical, racial or political reasons.)

Party political leaders want secrecy to divide up Europe's wealth. Should today's political leaders of Europe impose taxes on Europe's citizens IN SECRET? Should excluded citizens submit to any amount of tax that Eurocrats designate behind closed doors? Who decides what money is raised from the population? Who decides how it will be spent?

Imagine a Court case. If honest citizens do not know HOW and WHY taxes are formulated in secret sessions, how can they go to Court to say the leaders were all unjust? How can the Judge know the motivation of the leaders?

It should be remembered that Hitler was also voted into power in democratic elections. That did not make him a democrat. He was antichristian and a corrupter of democratic power. With slick propaganda he immediately misused and overturned democratic controls to install his Fuehrertum.

The lesson is that we can only judge what is a democratic, fair-minded and just government by its action. We cannot judge it by its words. Hitler's propaganda ministry under Dr Goebbels was powerful in persuading the German people and many in other countries, including Britons and French, that he was doing something right. It was all lies. Some were subtle lies. Others were blatant, repetitious lies that people believed out of weariness. Or that was what Goebbels hoped would be the outcome of his PR campaigns.

Lies contain the seeds of their own destruction. Schuman gave grave warnings about pseudo-democrats and political fraudsters.

How does anyone tell if a government is democratic? A key test involves MONEY. What are they doing with the people's money? How are they collecting taxes? Above all, how are they spending taxes they collect? Who gets this money? Is it fattening the governors or feeding the governed needy? Consultation and democratic assent are required on all money matters.

No taxation without representation! That was the battle cry throughout the ages of democrats against autocratic regimes. It led to the revolt of the British colonies in America in the 1770s, even though their taxes were minimal by today's standards.

The Americans based themselves on ancient British laws. In 1215 the British declared the principle when King John met with the barons at Runnymede. The result was the Magna Carta setting out democratic principles. Articles 12 and 14 laid down that taxes could not be raised 'without common counsel of the realm.' In other words no arbitrary taxation by the king. The Charter specified the categories of citizens, moral and secular, from bishops and abbots and barons, who had to be consulted in the process. This allowed the larger part of the population to be brought into the consultation. The key concept was that taxes could not be conceived and imposed in secret by the king or leader.

The principle goes back thousands of years before the Magna Carta. Ancient civilisations such as the Celtic nations proclaimed before all meetings that truth was the foundation of all civil society. Truth requires open assemblies, more than representation. Why? Because there was no guarantee that the representatives would not seize the opportunity to fatten their own face before they really cared for those they were supposed to represent.

Today the European Union is ruled by party machines. It is not governed by non-political civil society. Non-political citizens do not get a look-in. Politicians have taken some autocratic Gaullist ideas and applied them to milking the fattest milch-cow in sight, the EU budget. The Gaullist strategy was closed meetings, package deals, arm-twisting and blackmail in private.

His first target was the Council of Ministers which he attempted to exaggerate in importance to make it the decision-maker of the Community system. It isn't. The Council still discusses in secret. The European Council more so. At the core of the present day system are not representatives of civil society but three main parties, the left middle and right. (That sort of categorization makes no sense to many people).

The Commission which is supposedly by treaty law independent of all such associations is now exclusively composed of card-carrying party members. This party cartel violates the spirit and the letter of the treaties. The action of the parties and their fiddling of the parliamentary results has resulted in ever declining voter turn-outs. More people say 'None of the above' when looking at the ballot paper.

However, the Lisbon Treaty, the party-imposed version of the Constitutional treaty, does demand open sessions of the institutions. This, as discussed previously, was introduced by non-party civil society organisations. They revolted against the Meat Mountains and Wine Lakes that Gaullist and Italian corruption encouraged. The present action of the party cartel to close doors as they did in the past has no legal standing. It is also immoral.

The Lisbon Treaty includes the principle that: The European Parliament shall meet in public, as shall the Council when considering and voting on a draft legislative act. The Budget is a primary legislative act.

THREE institutions are involved in the conspiracy of closed doors at the Conciliation Committee. Three bodies violate the treaty and also democratic morality. The Parliament usually has open sessions on the budget has succumbed to this secrecy. The Commission, supposedly the Guardian of the Treaties, did not speak out. It was represented by a Commissioner at the Conciliation Committee on the Budget. He helped shut the door. The Council was present in the person of the acting Belgian Prime Minister. No one seemed concerned about the public's rights, the public's money or public accountability.

They all need to explain why the doors were closed when they discussed how much they should collect of the citizen's money in the form of tax and how THEY would spend it. Some money will go on EU programmes. Other money goes on pet party projects. The budget also increases the salaries and allowances and expands illicitly the subsidies given to the party machines. Money given to the party machinery and buddy infrastructure has not had the approval of the people because it was the politicians in and of the party machines who decided that they wanted more taxpayer's money for party purposes.

I have therefore sent the following letter to Mr Buzek, the President of the European Parliament.
Schuman Project

10 November 2010

Mr Jerzy Buzek
President, European Parliament

Public access to Budgetary draft legislation meetings

Dear President Buzek,
The Parliament has public meetings to consider the Budget. At the European Council press conference on 29 October 2010 in reply to a question about the Budget Conciliation Committee, citing the Lisbon Treaty Article 15.2 (TFEU) the Commission President, Mr Barroso, replied that ‘I think we should keep full respect of the Lisbon Treaty in all the co-decision procedures.’

The treaty says in Article 15.2 (TFEU) The European Parliament shall meet in public, as shall the Council when considering and voting on a draft legislative act.

Public access is the fundament of democracy. It is most important for open, public sessions when it comes to draft legislation on public money. Today is both the time of austerity and of grave suspicions of fraudulent practice in high places.

However, the Conciliation Committee on 27 October and subsequent meetings were shut to the public and the press. The highest representatives of the Parliament, Council and Commission participated in the meetings of the Conciliation Committee to consider draft financial legislative act involving public money.

May I ask for an official reply as to why these meetings were shut to the public, television and the press? Who decided that the public and press should be excluded?

Many thanks for your help in this matter.
Similar letters were sent to European Commission President Barroso and Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme.

03 November, 2010

Budget3 Who will take the Council to Court for plotting to pinch public money and bringing European democracy into disrepute?

Can the Council and the European Council be taken to Court for illegal action on the budget? The question was raised following my last commentary. Billions of public money are involved in a time of austerity and financial crises.

The European Council, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament could all be potential offenders and taken to Court. Why? because they are raising taxes and attempting to increase taxes in secret. Further they are considering how to decide on the use of the tax money in secret. They do not only refuse to tell the public what is going on but they physically exclude the public and the press from meetings. This procedure is illegal. Right of entry or observation is involved. Legal action could be taken at this starting point.

Politically the exclusion is also neo-Gaullist. It is completely against the democratic principles of the supranational Community system where every cent could be accounted for -- democratically.

A good prima facie case can be made for bringing a case for illegal action. Firstly, to exclude the public and press from the Conciliation Committee is illegal. This clearly falls foul of Article 15.2. All official institutional consideration of even draft legislation MUST MEET IN PUBLIC. The Conciliation Committee agenda describes exactly the offending action: to consider financial draft legislation. Considering draft legislation is its purpose and that exactly falls under article 15.2. The Treaty paragraph says that an institutional consideration of draft legislation by Council or Parliament must be open. It was closed. It is illegal to exclude the press and the public. The press and any member of the public has the perfect right to complain to the Court.

The European Council was also considering draft financial legislation. They claim that are not covered by 15.2. That is dubious. They are definitely covered by the article 15 as a whole. The previous line, 15.1 demands they should reform their past habits and adopt an open format. They 'shall conduct their work as openly as possible.'

But there is much more to take into account. The Treaty section starts with Title Two called 'Provisions having general application'. The first article, Article 7 demands consistency between policies and actions. Thus the institutions should have consistent rules on open sessions and open formats.

As to the European Council's 'consideration of draft legislation', there is no doubt. We have also definite proof in the handout signed by the 12 government leaders that the budget increase should be held to 2.9 percent. They had a long discussion, that is, a consideration of draft financial legislation. They got deeply into details. We have the evidence of the financial discussions initiated by the President of the Parliament and the long discussion with him as further proof. He told the press afterwards he had never had such a long and detailed discussion with the European Council before. He told the press some of the details. This meeting should have been completely public as I have argued for many years based on Schuman's statements and principles.

Thus far more than 'General principles' mentioned by Mr Barroso is involved. In this case whatever the 'general principles' were, they were the same as a consideration of draft financial legislation. Even if they were only 'general principles' it is even more important that the session be open. What if the 'general principles' included how we can bilk money from the public without them knowing about it? What if we later found out that all the discussants were Mafiosi or were subject to inter-State blackmail? Should not the public know what the 'general principles' are and how they are arrived at? General principles mean the initial consideration of draft financial legislation. So the European Council's case of innocence is well-cooked if not burnt to a frazzle.

Outside the raw discussion of euros and cents, the European Council also discussed matters of mega-fraud. This involves the sum of more than 500 billion euros for a rescue operation. It sparked a lot of criticism. Are the government leaders solving the problem or compounding it? Are they partners in crime? Is there a question of collusion in crime? That is not only my question but one lying before the German Constitutional Court. The topic came up because one Member State (at least) fraudulently changed national statistics. Secondly, the State then misspent public money. Thirdly, when the chickens came home to roost, other States helped out that fraudulent State. Why did the other Member States bail out this fraud and possibly those of other Member States who did the same thing. Was it legal? The German Constitutional Court is considering aspects of the matter at the moment.

That is the reason why Treaty changes are necessary -- because the bailout may well be illegal as it is based on supporting and committing fraud in support of other fraud. Some governments feel that stronger measures against fraud should be written in a Treaty. No one denies Treaty changes were also discussed. As a general principle, should not the public know about this? Why should the fact be secret? The public has another reason for insisting on openness, a procedural one. That is to expose political fraud when governments do the opposite to public referendum results and put in place an unpopular, undemocratic treaty (such as the Lisbon/Constitutional Treaty).

Let us confine ourselves to the financial question of next year's budget. It makes no sense to have lower 'technical' financial committees open (even if they were) and the 'top people's Council,' who dictate the 'general principles', closed. That is like blaming bureaucrats and not the politicians who demand certain things are done. Or blaming soldiers and not the generals who order them to commit atrocities. The 'lower' Conciliation Committee was in fact attended by the Prime Minister of Belgium, the Parliament President, and the Budget Commissioner. Not exactly lower. That meeting of the Conciliation Committee should be open without doubt. And therefore so should the European Council on which the Belgian Prime Minister sits, and the President of Parliament comes to discuss exactly the same matter with the other 26 government leaders.

The moral argument is also important. There is case law. The public has a right to know everything about the raising of taxes and the use of its money. Representatives of the public should not close the doors on the public at any whim. This is especially the case when they are dividing up public money and deciding how much they should tax the public. It is not their pocket money.

The European Court has upheld the legal necessity of proper consultation before all legislation. Without proper consultation previously legislation was thrown out and voided. One important ruling was in the Isoglucose case in the 1970s. On the basis of this Parliament insisted that direct elections should take place. They were in the Treaties but had been refused for decades. European Parliament's members were nominations of governments in national parliaments. Nominations were the Gaullist way to keep democracy down.

The case was won by Pierre-Henri Teitgen arguing the case in favour of the power of a democratic Parliament and its prerogatives. Pierre-Henri Teitgen was a close friend of Robert Schuman in whose government he was a key minister. He was an eminent lawyer. He was later judge in the European Court of Human Rights, an institution that he was instrumental in creating. The Court said full procedural consultation was necessary before legislation could be declared valid.

Consultation with the public in the budget discussions was denied by physically closing doors. An official had a list of those who were allowed to enter. All others were refused. The treaty says it must be OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. This exclusion of the public at 2.30 pm on 27 October 2010 was an illegal act. Any other repetition at a Conciliation Committee is also illegal.

Anyone interested in how their taxes are being collected and spent should attend what the Treaty says is a meeting that must be held IN PUBLIC. The public is therefore welcome to come in great numbers to try to attend the next Conciliation Committee meetings. The dates are the 4, 8 and 11 November.

For details journalists should contact the Parliament:
Telephone number : (+32) 2 28 34018 (BXL)
Mobile number : (+32) 498 98 13 36
E-mail address : budg-press@europarl.europa.eu

Telephone number : (+32) 2 28 44659 (BXL)
Mobile number : (+32) 498 98 35 88
E-mail address : budg-press@europarl.europa.eu
The public should contact their MEPs or the Commission or the Council of Ministers.

The public is more than a partner in the legislation. It is the owner of the money and the boss of the people inside and running the institutions, such as European Council, Council of Ministers, Parliament and the Consultative Committees. It is therefore like the servants plotting how much they will take from the master's purse and deciding how they will spend it. The closing of the doors is an act equivalent to piracy, taking other people's money by a plot and physically excluding them from the plotting process of the theft.

That is the significance of the explicit articles of the Lisbon Treaty. What is common sense about the public's money is now written in Treaty law.

It is no small matter. Improper raising of taxes is the cause of centuries of parliamentary struggles, wars and regicide. It led eventually to much of modern governmental law and legitimacy. It is fully a question on the correct functioning of a democracy, where all decisions, according to Schuman's definition, have to serve the people and be agreed by the people. This issue with the 2011 budget is an open and shut case.

The question only remains: Who will take up the case?

02 November, 2010

Budget2 European Council President Van Rompuy and Commission President Barroso declare they refuse to obey the Lisbon Treaty on public money and open access

With breath-taking frankness, European leaders admitted in public that they had no intention to make European 'democratic' institutions open and responsive to civil society. They want them to remain closed and in the hands of a small cartel of politicians and their party machines. But this is ILLEGAL. Their admission flies in the face of both the letter and the spirit even of the Lisbon Treaty -- which the party machines voted into effect, sometimes without even reading the text. One principle that escaped their notice is that public money requires an open public debate. The treaty insists on open debate, not secret conclaves.

The Lisbon Treaty was not ALL dictated by politicians who wanted more power and more money for their careers. Initially it was called the Constitutional Treaty, with which it is largely identical. (It was never a constitution but merely another treaty as Mr Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, its architect, said many times.)

The drafting of that goes back about a decade. Among the groups that were asked to participate were a few who represented organised civil society. There were also a few who remembered some of the democratic principles before the politicians got on their hobby-horse of the power-accreting Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice (MAN) process.

One of the main principles still remains in the Lisbon Treaty. It is called Transparency. Transparency is fundamental to democracy. The principle of Transparency is written in Article 15 of what is called the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Let me quote:
In order to promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society, the Union institutions, bodies and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible.

By their own wish and will, the European leaders decided that the European Council should now be classified as a European institution. It should therefore be open, far more than in the past. Before it was not under the Community system. It was an informal organization and not an official institution. It involved dainty dinners, fine wines and private invitations. Held in exotic locations they were formatted to discourage any thought that the public or the press could gatecrash the exclusive party of would-be power-brokers. The succulent cuisine was contrived to please and pamper egos. If there were any fireworks between the guests, they were private.

Times have changed. The European Council must now respect the joint rules of democratic discourse. It must be open as much as democratically possible. The Leaders must arrange it that every door is open to ‘promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society.’ It is not a pious wish but a legal obligation of the Treaty that they signed. It is part of a compact between the 27 leaders and all the people.

It does not take a great deal of effort to open a door. To close, bar and lock it takes much more muscle. It also takes an act of will. Why? Because when anyone enters the room, the door must be open. That person then has to will to close it. So any closing of doors has to be explained and agreed by the people in authority — that is the 500 million people who are in charge in a democracy. It is not a matter that is in the hands of the leaders as if they had a privilege to do so. They have no privilege of privacy on public affairs until it is granted by the people.

Secondly the people are quite often most concerned with public money and taxes. That is why they elect representatives to manage fairly and justly their money. There can be no legitimate taxation without fair representation.

Money is collected by democratic legislation from the public by the people’s representatives, in agreement with the will of the people. Money is spent by democratic legislation in agreement with the will of the people. Do the representatives of the people have a right to close the doors of a debate about people’s money? No. The only possible exceptions relate to questions of national security and aspects where it is in the people’s interests that security should not be compromised. Nonetheless reputable democrats should ensure public and democratic control even on security matters.

Public control over public money is why the formulators of this main section on governance principles wrote in the next paragraph (15:2):

The European Parliament shall meet in public, as shall the Council when considering and voting on a draft legislative act.

As recorded in the first commentary, the following facts are apparent.

· Parliament has open sessions on the Budget in plenary and in Committee.

· When there is a disagreement between Council and Parliament, a tripartite Conciliation Committee meeting takes place between the Council and Parliament with the assistance of the Commission.

· This meeting according to the clear words of the Treaty should be open. Instead the doors were closed on this meeting on the collection and use of public money.

At the press conference following the European Council meeting on 26 October 2010, the following question was put to Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission:

[The European Council] has spent a considerable time considering the budget. There was also a Conciliation Committee meeting during the week with Parliament. Under the new Lisbon Treaty it says that
The European Parliament shall meet in public, as shall the Council when considering and voting on a draft legislative act.
I was wondering why public money should be discussed in secret both in the Conciliation Committee and in the Council. This seems to be in violation to the Treaty. Perhaps you can clarify?

Both Commission and European Council representatives replied.

Commission President Barroso: Regarding the Parliament it is better to ask the Parliament The European Council is one institution and the Council is another. The European Council does not meet in open format. The Council, yes. Today what we have discussed in European Council is reflected in the conclusions.
I think we should keep of course the full respect of the Lisbon Treaty in all the co-decision procedures. The European Council is discussing very general principles that are reflected in the conclusions … so it was not appropriate to have this discussion in another format.

By the way I think that the European Council has never met in open format.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy: And will not do {so}.

It should be recalled that the Founding Fathers such as Robert Schuman wrote that the 'Councils, Committees and other bodies must be placed under the control of public opinion,' Pour l’Europe, p145.

That is why some legislative procedures were enunciated with infantile simplicity in the Lisbon Treaty. Things which were considered understood by all or taken for granted had to be spelt out because government leaders took advantage of silence or ambiguity.

The section on Transparency in the institutions was added because the government leaders — who called themselves democrats — have since the time of Mr de Gaulle reinforced the secrecy of their deliberations on ‘package deals’. Closed room deals lead to corrupt practice like meat mountains and wine lakes at the citizen's expense. Thus certain transitory arrangements have become semi-permanent.

They stayed because lifting them was also in the hands of ministers. Instead of democratising, they used them as toys for political games of power and influence. Transitory measures like closed councils were necessary at first before the various nations of Europe trusted each other to have meetings in public like grown ups. It is a question of political maturity. Have today’s leaders advanced as they should? Have they returned to neo-gaullism or national selfishness? Does TV time rule or public interest?

Equally consistent, they stopped organised civil society from electing its own representatives in its democratic institution.

De Gaulle also refused to have parliamentary elections to the European Parliament. Elected parliamentarians would be a distraction from his dominating presence in the media. He did not want to be a democrat like the practically unknown but less authoritarian Swiss president! (The Swiss have a better historic record of resisting autocrats and enemies.)

Today government leaders refuse to implement the second part of that oft-repeated sentence in the treaties that the elections should be pan-European and based on a single electoral statute. That legal obligation has been around and ministers have ignored it for nearly sixty years.

Transparency remains a prerequisite of democracy. Schuman wrote that democracy will only work if it is based on Christian principles. 'Democracy will be Christian or it won't exist. An unchristian democracy is a caricature which sinks into tyranny or anarchy,' he wrote. One of these principles involves the correct understanding of human nature. Politicians, like all human beings, cannot be trusted not to err. Hence meetings should be open. Soviet atheism with its millions of victims in the gulags had closed meetings. So did many of the former regimes of now democratic Member States in both the East, Centre and West of Europe.

Three further meetings of the Conciliation Committee between Parliament, Council and Commission will take place. The next meeting is on Thursday, 4 November.

The day after, 5 November, is known in the UK as Fireworks Day. It is the day that the people burn effigies of the traitorous bad guy on a bonfire.

28 October, 2010

Budget1 European Parliament fails its Lisbon test. It submits ILLEGALLY to Council Secrecy on Citizens' money.

The European Parliament conducts its plenary Budget debate in public. It is obliged by Treaty articles, even if did not want to. Its Budget Committee is also open to the public. That is defined by the Rules of Procedure. There are many other meetings that Parliament holds, all usually in public.

Parliaments feel that they have a responsibility to have their meetings openly. It is the basis of democracy. They also feel like the local tennis club that everyone has a right to see that money is collected and handled properly. The EU should be based on the same principle.

The Lisbon Treaty FEU article 15.2 says: "The European Parliament shall meet in public". Why? Because the other party to an open debate is the public. If any meeting is open it means that the public, even if it is represented by one lonely journalist, is also present. That is healthy when it comes to public's own money.

The Council on the other hand likes to do things in secret. This is especially the case when it comes to money. Whose money? Not their own money but the public's money. Why should the public's money be a matter of secrecy? If ministers are doing nothing improper, what motive would they have to close the doors? Should not public servants -- government ministers (minister means servant) -- be open and frank about other people's, that is, their master's money?

So which attitude do you think is correct? The Parliament where the budget is discussed in public or the Council's where they do what they like in secret and tell the public what the Council are doing with the public's money?

Under the Lisbon Treaty we have a new situation. Both institutions have a say in the EU budget. If there is no agreement, the budget is discussed in what is called a Conciliation Committee.

So whose rules will succeed? Will the Parliament make the Council be more democratic? Or will the Council force the Parliament to close the doors of its committee room and cut a deal away from the eyes and ears of the public and the cameras and microphones of the press?

Are Parliament's democrats strong enough to stand up to such obvious undemocratic practice?

Today, 27 October 2010, we found out. Parliament's President Jerzy Buzek and Alain Lamassoure, chairman of the Budgets Committee, met with Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme plus a score of other officials, including those from the Commission.

The Parliament closed its doors of room 5G3. Parliament officials patrolled the corridors to see no one from the public snook in. Shame on them! Any journalist asking entrance was refused. He was told the meeting about public money was private.

The Council faced out the Parliament. And the Parliament blinked.

It is worse than that. Both the Parliament and the Council are bound by the same Treaty law. They are bound in the same sentence to be open and have open sessions on the budget.

Let me now quote article 15.2 in full: The European Parliament shall meet in public, as shall the Council when considering and voting on a draft legislative act.

If the Budget is not a legislative act and the Conciliation Committee is not involved in drafting that legislative act, what is the Treaty talking about? Money is the source of nearly all legislative acts.

At this time the public is undergoing vast programmes of austerity, cut backs and reforms. Thousands of employees are being thrown out of work. Why? because of budget mismanagement and plain fraud in high places. Massive demonstrations on the streets have rocked several European capitals. Acting in almost total oblivion of this, the Council and Parliament want massive increases in the budget. The public should be fully a partner and at least an observer of the draft legislative acts of the budget. It is its right.

Who is thumbing their noses at law of the treaty? Whose money is it any way?

21 October, 2010

Lobby2 : If enterprises controlled the EuroParliament could they initiate an economic revival? What is really needed?

If the largest industrial and financial lobby controlled the European Parliament, what would they vote as their Resolutions? Second question, if they overwhelmingly agreed on priorities, could they make it European policy? Would such priorities revive the European economy?

Let us assume it was a measure that would reform the whole financial system, create masses of new jobs, revolutionize the economy, provide the most optimum conditions for innovation and produce a booming economy that would knock Silicon Valley into a cocked hat. Would a Resolution help the EU in its present state?

Well, the European Chambers of Commerce went a long way to do that when as we previously recounted they took over the Parliament's Hemicycle on 15 October 2010. They sat in the Deputies' seats and voted using the Deputies' own voting mechanisms.

What did they vote? Let's consider just one of their Resolutions. It was voted YES by a whopping 85 per cent of the entrepreneurs present. That resolution was the creation of a new European company statute. It would be designed for help the creation of a European company as distinct from having multiple companies in all Member States, trying to establish themselves in each of the States and absorb and obey the confusing laws and tax systems. The present system is obviously a major hindrance to realizing the potential of the European Single Market.

Properly conceived it would provide a simpler accountancy structure, allow sounder finance, better employment conditions and a well-recognized European identity that anyone in the outer reaches of Africa or Asia would recognize as a just and equitable way of doing business. It would be an alternative to a mass of red tape and strangling bureaucracy.

If Europeans of every shade had an alternative option to create a new form of company law, company tax and employee relations, based on the combined and collective wisdom of all Member States (as well as best practice of countries outside the EU) wouldn't the EU be able to provide a powerful springboard for renewal on a scale never known in its history? It would allow various areas of expertise to work together. This would not only allow Europeans to create new major companies to act on a world scale. It would also allow some of the smallest companies to really make use of the vast internal market and also become global players. SMEs could globalize more easily.

In fact the Eurochambres are just re-inventing the wheel. That is a sad reflection on the wasted talent and frustrations that remain a feature for more than sixty years. They probably do not even know it. That is a sadder reflection on the state of European education. The European Commission has a responsibility by law to propagate Europe's factual history. Instead the public has been bamboozled by unfair and undemocratic governments who squelch a proper debate.

Sixty years waste that must have cost the European economy TRILLIONS of Euros! We are all the poorer. That happened because of the vanites of politicians. Today we can see that a Single Market is difficient if it does not have European companies.

Yes sixty years! The first resolution and agreement of a proper democratic parliament (not a so-called European Parliament of enterprises) was made in August 1950. This was part of a Great Debate on the future of Europe based on supranational principles. It took place in the Council of Europe. It got a whole lot further than the last debate. The Statute of a European Company was drawn up by the Legal Committee in conjunction with the Economic Committee. It was aided by experts from the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law. This preliminary Convention for both European public or private companies was drafted after a full inquiries with business circles, employers and workers' associations. They agreed and defined the statute. It was then presented to the Member State governments in the CoE’s Committee of Ministers (as the Council institution is called).

That's where it stayed. The governments did not want anything to challenge their tax base. Governments have a tendency to act irresponsibly, not in favour of the people, but their own interest. They loved their own cranky, complicated incomprehensible ancient systems. Hardly any of them were fit for the twentieth century never mind the twenty-first. The ministers then did not want a European Companies Office making comparisons between worn out national systems with a unified European system. They did not want to expose to public ridicule the chaotic tax and legal systems that had evolved over centuries.

At least that is the obvious conclusion. The governments did not give a hang that the European economy would be greatly improved. They were more keen on beggaring their neighbour than to help the European economy. They were not convinced by the European Community argument that everyone, including themselves, would gain in a Single Market. Today I hope we know better. But we haven’t put the lessons into effect.

So 60 years after the legal proposals were refined, Europeans are further back than in 1950. What should be done?

It obviously makes no sense for European enterprises to suggest a European Company in total isolation with the other sections of society that are keenly involved. That includes above all, the employees or independent workers and the consumers. Europeans have no taste to return to a fascist corporate State, a workers' paradise or be subject to cartels abusing the consumers.

That is why the Founding Fathers created the Economic and Social Committee, one of five key institutions. It has three main sections: enterprises, workers and consumers. It is exactly what is required. It is the real parliament for the economic actors -- and it has never really been used as it should have.

The main problem since the time of Mr de Gaulle is that this key institution has not been allowed to develop. He froze it. Today we should ask: How should it begin to acquire the influence that the treaties define for it? That is relatively simply. It only takes a bit of altruistic leadership. Let’s say civic courage that the ministers lacked then.

The conditions have remained the same since the time of the 1951 Treaty of Paris or the Treaty of Rome. Let us take the article in the Lisbon Treaty. It is practically identical in conception.

Article 301 TEC says ‘The Council, acting unanimously, on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt a decision determining the Committee's composition.’ First note that it is not the Council that can dictate the composition of the EcoSoc. In fact it is the EcoSoc itself that can propose its own internal membership and then the Commission must make a Proposal.

What should be the composition? Should it be composed of a rag bag of personalities friendly to the NATIONAL political masters in in the Council, as Mr de Gaulle wanted? Or should they really be representatives of EUROPEAN enterprise, labour and consumers? Obviously they have to have European expertise with a connection to a network of national experts in all States.

Compare that with de Gaulle's system. It makes no sense for the democratic legitimacy of the Committee to continue the farce of having the politicians pick as its members their buddies as prizes for party loyalty. No member should be there for party political loyalty. They should be there to represent organized civil society on a EUROPEAN scale.

The Commission has the right of initiative. The Commission has simply to ask the EcoSoc to begin the exploration about how they can have and adequate European representation to give adequate advice and counsel -- after all that is the purpose of the institution. The first step would be to collect the names and addresses of all European associations in the three categories and determine criteria for acceptance as representative and well-run organizations.

The Founding Fathers wanted to chase the lobbyists out of the Parliament. They wanted to chase Lobbyists out of the corridors and clubs that ministers frequent. They did not want lobbyists pestering the Commission. It should not present unbalanced and unfair proposals. They wanted to be sure that cartels did not continue to try to grab political control and fleece the consumers.

That is why they said no single company should be heard as a lobbyist. The only valid group that can be heard in a democracy is a well founded democratic association or trade union or consumer organization. That is true whether it is the European chemical workers' union or the European shoe manufacturers association. The EcoSoc has full treaty rights to engage in the most technical debate they need by creating its own sub-committees for the purpose. Then an open debate can be conducted so there are no hidden lobbies. All debates are open. A record is kept. Everyone has an in-depth view of the challenge, the problems and the advantages.

The legal and political power is languishing in disuse. When the Commission is about to deal with a problem or after it has made a proposal, the EcoSoc has the legal duty to debate amendments. All legislative proposals of a certain type MUST be sent to the EcoSoc. That is the treaty law. That means companies in their professional associations can have a far more powerful influence than vague resolutions. The Treaties give organized civil society in this tripartite form as much power as Parliament to influence the legislation that governs them. That is only fair.

If for example one industry wants to introduce a new product which they say is helpful, then the workers who help manufacture it should have adequate information about the process, transport and other aspects and the Consumers should have adequate information about all aspects of its preparation, manufacture and use and disposal.

The Founding Fathers, contrary to the bright sparks who dreamed up the Lisbon Treaty, had rather intelligent proposals and created the means for them to be fully implemented.

It is up to the present generation to have the courage to do so.

14 October, 2010

Lobby1 : Businesses take over the EuroParliament. It is OFFICIALLY debased as a House for Hire!

Quite often in the last years, going through the European Parliament is like entering a bazaar. In the spacious hallways you are faced with many companies, NGOs and interest groups each with their stalls. Quite often they hold major exhibitions. They show off what each group considers useful propaganda films. Enthusiastic 'sales assistants' press leaflets into the hands of MEPs hurrying to vote. Journalists and others are waylaid. Free gifts are pressed on the unwary walkers in the corridors of power.

This lobbying is not confined to European entities. This week there was an exhibition in the entrance hall by a major North American power. I have nothing against the Canadians. I rather like them in general. But would Ottawa open up the hallowed halls of its Parliament to an EU exhibition pubicising its anti-seal-killing policy? Yet the European Parliament has made its ample space available for distributing material on Canadian Arctic policy.

The Canadians are also more careful about corrupt parliamentarians using a revolving door with lobbyists. The Canadians have brought in rules that forbid any former MP from becoming a lobbyist for FIVE years after leaving parliament.

All this is rather paradoxical, when the European Parliament is holding a series of meetings and discussions on the Lobby Register, now called the Transparency Register. My, oh my. Under questioning from concerned groups it is clear that the register system is totally inadequate to deal with Lobby activities.

The Canadians apart, what other parliament in the European Union would tolerate such open lobbying inside the House? Is there any parliament of the 27 States that is run like this Brussels bazaar?

On 14 October 2010 the shameful and disreputable state of lobbying in parliament was affixed like a brand on its forehead.

'Businesses take over the European Parliament' was actually the title of a meeting of some 800 businessmen and women. They literally took over the Brussels Hemicycle, the main debating chamber. I was more than a little surprised to see such a brazen poster in the Parliament. It shows a shocking thick-skinned attitude to constant news items about corruption in today's politics.

Did they do all this surreptitiously? Not at all. The meeting was addressed by the Presidents of the main party political power-brokers: those of Parliament, the European Council, and half a dozen assorted European Commissioners. The Belgian Prime Minister came too. That proves one thing. Europe's political cartel is all in cahoots.

So all the European politicians are in agreement that business lobbyists should joined hand and foot to the parliamentary process. And have the same House. This concept used to be called the Corporate State. The fascist dictator Mussolini was a proponent of that contorted idea. He said that what was good for the big corporations must be good for all Italians. The Communist Russians, on the other hand, thought that what was good for the workers was good for all the world and would lead to paradise.

Both were wrong. They made a prostitute out of parliament. Parliament requires independence from interest groups. Democracies do not have a Hire House. It is the slippery road to a governmental whore house.

The meeting was nominally organised by Eurochambres -- that is European chambers of commerce. But in the debate the delegates spoke of their own companies. The entrepreneurs included property dealers and bankers. This is its second shameful appearance of the EuroBusiness Parliament in the Brussels Parliament. It is no accident.

With the full PR spin that businesses can muster, they called it: The European Parliament of Enterprises! Yes, really. They seem oblivious of the arrogance and impudence of it. They wrote that with a Euro-style logo on the session papers. They know about money.

The euro-entrepreneurs sat in the parliamentarians' numbered seats. Each of them stuck their own electronic voting cards in an MEP's voting slot. And they voted for their own resolutions. Fittingly they had sessions on such topics as conditions, resources and markets. They watched as they saw the results on the screens that the MEP's use in plenary sessions. What sauce! What audacity! Who gave them the means to make their own electronic voting cards?

Do the voters or the general public want the Parliament to be taken over by businesses? Do voters approve of such a take-over while parliament is still at work? That day a number of Committee meetings were in session.

What sort of message does this House for Hire give to other governments around the world?

Enter the United States Secretary of State. That day, with business interests actually sitting in the deputies' seats, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Parliament to talk to its president and parliamentary group leaders. What were her impressions? I wonder. She has already visited some tinpot parliaments abroad.

With all their powerful lobbyists, would the Americans let their Congress be a convention centre for their business meetings? Could barons of industry enter the moment the senators left? Could the oil lobby take over and run a session in the Senate for all to see on public TV? That would be a bit rich.

How did European parliamentarianism sink so low? The answer is simple. In their hearts, European MEPs aren't proud of what they call democracy. With their ever-increasing salaries, perks and privileges, the don't care a hoot if the public thinks such deals stink. They have a bad conscience at what they see around their ministers get up to. The Council gets away with worse, behind closed doors. Secrecy and lack of accountability devalue the whole environment. The MEPs have never fulfilled their primary obligation to have a Europe-wide election as written in the treaties over fifty years ago. Power lies with political party machines, not the people. European democracy was designed to give a voice to organized civil society, not only political parties.

What about governmental systems that are supposed to be run by political parties? Would such business meetings take place in the House of Commons in Westminster, London? Would the chairman of the Confederation of British Industry bang his gavel while sitting in Mr Speaker's chair?

That would be a dramatic sell-out of the centuries-long traditions of the House that likes to call itself the Mother of Parliaments. It made its own noble rules including shutting out the monarchy from its premises. They told kings and queens they had no business in the Chamber. That also goes for any outside interest. The whole Chamber is cleared if one member yells out 'I spy strangers' at any intruder. No businessmen use the MPs' seats. That has remained so in unwritten law for the best part of four hundred years. Many hard and difficult centuries of struggle preceded it.

Even when the Lords are about to summon the Commons MPs to the House of Lords to hear Queen Elizabeth II in crown and robes deliver the Throne Speech at the State opening of Parliament, the Commons rebuff any intrusion. They deliberately shut the doors on the nose of the royal messenger known as Black Rod. He has to strike three times on the great doors with his staff and request their presence in 'the other place'. That is why the independence of parliament and defence of democracy is a common feature in Commonwealth countries.

The Black Rod tradition dates 'only' from 1642 when parliamentary independence was already well understood as necessary. King Charles I tried to have his men enter Parliament. They were shut out. When a few years later Charles went too far again, Parliament tried him in Court in its great hall and decided to chop off his head for treason.

Would the British public stomach the sight of banksters lolling on the red leather benches of the House of Lords? Could property speculators take over the Woolsack, the seat of the Lord Chancellor?

In spite of the recent scandals about expenses, British MPs would be ashamed to hire out the Westminster Parliament to sectoral interest groups. Many still feel they should represent all the people. They would not let the Houses be taken over by the traders, bankers, trade unionists, industrialists or consumer groups either.

The business of government and parliaments should be separate from the business of interests groups. It should also be seen to be separate. And reinforced by law as required.

However, Europarliamentarians feel that standards that brave leaders have over a couple of thousand years fought for with blood, reasoning and fervent appeals for justice may be all right for an off-shore island. Maybe also for some other national parliaments of EU States. But not for them. They feel they are above such common European values. When it comes to the main European levers of economic, financial and democratic control of the Parliament of the world's largest trading power, the EU, different rules apply. NO STANDARDS ARE NECESSARY.

The European Parliamentarians, apparently, feel no shame at this wanton display. Parliament is a House for hire. They seem to have lost any concept about having FIVE independent democratic institutions. The MEPs have lost their way. They should show the businesspeople where they should go. Unfortunately they do not seem to know.

03 October, 2010

20th Anniversary of German Reunification. It was announced 63 years ago. Can today’s Statesmen plan long-term democracy?

In 1989 leaders of the European Community were shocked and worried about what they considered the dangerous consequences of the fall of the Berlin Wall. German unity --the 1990 reunification of West Germany, the Federal Republic with East Germany, the DDR, the so-called Democratic Republic of Germany was inevitable. It would create the biggest Member State in the European Community. Germany would become far bigger and far more powerful than France. British leaders were also worried that Germany would now control Europe, not vice versa.

The DDR was one of the satellite 'People's Democracies' of the Communist Soviet Union. Schuman called these counterfeit democracies. A handful of Communist leaders held power and defined policy in a secret Council of Ministers in East Berlin. They defined international policy with similar Communist ministers in Soviet satellites in conjunction with the Big Brother comrades in Moscow. Their great instruments of international propaganda, their publications, radio and television, published subtle, craftily forged LIES.

For the shocked European leaders the USSR seemed to be a permanent fixture in all their lifetime. Its continuation was hardly in doubt, even if the Cold War was in thaw. But now they had a big problem in the centre of Europe.

For many non-German leaders, German reunification was a nightmare. This was the result of a couple of decades of Gaullist anti-Community propaganda, his false reading of history and his attempted destruction of Schuman's work and memory. Some of these Western leaders tried to block German re-unification. Others were worried about a Fourth German Reich. Germany had been at the origin of three wars in a century: the Franco-Prussian war and two World Wars.

The leaders wildly proposed a confederation of western European states or a vague 'federation of nation States' whatever that is. It amounted to stronger intergovernmental powers for the leaders themselves. That was a bit stupid. It was equivalent of creating a great European 'people's democracy' where the people also had no power. Only the leaders had.

The only way to create real security is in a powerful democratic system, not a technocratic one. All sections of society should have their voice under a system of democratic law. That can prevent the rise of militarism or the rise of abusive cartels, whether industrial, ideological or financial. It is precisely what the supranational Community system of democracy is designed to do.

The second principle is important too. Only a democratic institution under democratic law can correct the mistakes of democratic leaders. Otherwise this guardian will inevitably head to become a new form of autocracy, oligarchy and instrument of subjugation of the people.

That is why Schuman and the Founding Fathers insisted that the European Commission should be both elected and composed of fully independent persons. The treaties say they should be without ties to political parties, or other interest groups. They are legally forbidden from receiving the instructions from governments. The Council is responsible for creating a fair electoral system open to ALL Europe's citizens. It has signally failed to do so. The process of election according to the spirit and letter of the original treaties should be started IMMEDIATELY.

Nationalist and self-serving politicians have tried to block and chloroform the five key Community institutions -- except for the secretive Council of Ministers, where a cartel of politicians want to seize power and hold all power. They seem to want to ape the secret councils of East Germany or the other satellite States. That is dangerous.

The Soviet and East German experience shows that a dictatorship of the people -- a political cartel -- through such a council is doomed to fail. Any system that is based entirely on materialism, such as dialectical materialism or State atheism, has the roots of its own destruction excavating its weak foundations. Marxism is a self-blinded god. Its godless vision, void of a moral code, has failed. It spawned the many corrupting people's dictators with their greedy hands and its nomenklatura, its privileged class.

A lasting Community can only be based on eternal supranational values like justice and truth. Any healthy society must be open to peaceful criticism and reform. Its concept of Community is a far more satisfactory way to deal with the problems of rich and poor than effete Marxism.

In the DDR the politicians built a wall to stop people leaving. It was knocked down by the people. They tried to control religious opinion and expression -- and failed. The State tried to ban a spiritual interpretation of history. Church leaders and their congregations helped put atheistic materialism in the dustbin of history. The Soviet Union repressed the Jews. They were often the most critical and sharpest refuseniks. The Soviet Union refused to let them leave. When the USSR collapsed they left in droves.

The 'people's leaders' tried to control freedom of expression and stop all non-State publications of individual authors, like the samizdad. They failed there too.

Modern democracy owes its origin to the Judeo-Christian revelation, said Schuman. Christianity has a long record of deposing of empires -- including the binning of the once powerful and pervasive gods of the Roman Empire. Mars is binned with Marx. Both are responsible for the blood of millions of victims.

Political ideology is NOT an innocent game. It tortured brave people, bereaved families, miseducated children. It would fill a sea with the blood of its errors.

In the twenty years since the Berlin Wall fell, have politicians learned anything about the supranational European Community? The Community was actually designed as the guarantee that Germany would not be able to go to war against its neighbours EVER again. That is what the founding fathers said.

Have the leaders then or today ever asked why Europeans are now experiencing the longest period of peace in Europe's history? Is it an accident? Or do they think it happened against all odds simply due to the colour of their eyes?

Robert Schuman and others gave the highest profile speeches about it forty years previous to the events of 1989-90. Why were these speeches not republished by the European institutions? Why were they not republished by the French, German and other Governments? Were the institutions asleep?

Let's look at the speeches given by Robert Schuman in 1948 and 1949 to the United Nations General Assembly.

On 28 September 1948 -- three short years after the massive destruction and hate of World War 2, Schuman told the UN General Assembly that the unification of Germany was inevitable and he, as Foreign Minister of France, was going to make sure that the unification of Europe was also inevitable because this was the guarantee that all could live in peace:
‘A renewed Germany will have to insert itself inside the democracy of Europe. The dismemberment of this old continent, so often and cruelly torn by war, is a relic of times past. ... Now, however, our times are those of large economic units and great political alliances. Europe must unite to survive. France intends to work on this energetically with all its heart and soul. A European public opinion is already being created. Already concrete efforts are taking shape that are marking the first steps on a new road..
He continued.
'We are, of course, only at the start of what is a great work. … Let us hope, God willing, that those who are presently hesitating will not take too long to be convinced about it. An economic union implies political cooperation. The ideas of a federation and a confederation are being discussed. We are happy to see such concepts being taken up, and studied in numerous international meetings in which personalities most representative of European public opinion are participating. Now is the time for such ideas to be analysed and supported by the governments themselves. In agreement with the Belgian Government, the French Government has proposed to follow up suggestions to call a representative assembly of European public opinion with a view to prepare a project for organising Europe. This assembly will have to weigh all the difficulties and propose reasonable solutions which take into account of the need of a wise and progressive development’
The next year on 23 September 1949, after he had laid the foundations of the Council of Europe, an institution that would guarantee Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms for all Europeans, Schuman reported to the UN General Assembly on progress in Germany and Europe:
‘The first President of the new Federal Republic has just been elected and the first Chancellor designated. The destiny of Germany is again conferred on the Germans themselves. Facts will show if they are in a position to face up to their responsibilities that are restored to them and to prepare their future in an orderly manner and in freedom. The rhythm of developments that follow will depend on the results of this experiment. Our hope is that Germany will commit itself on a road that will allow it to find again its place in the community of free nations, commencing with that European Community of which the Council of Europe is a herald.’
Europe's peace would be based on a supranational democratic European Community, not a classical federation or a confederation. This was the year before the Schuman Declaration. This speech besides clarifying how Schuman was to guarantee a permanent European peace, also exposes the mistake or vain boast in Jean Monnet. In his Mémoires Monnet says that he invented the term, European Community, on 21 June 1950. Schuman used the term in many major speeches before Monnet ever uttered it. He also explained what it meant.

Thus the European Community was the key that would ensure lasting peace, not only for Germany but for her neighbours. Schuman gave speeches in Germany about the reunification of Germany. He gave them in German so there would be no misunderstanding.

But let us quote another witness, Robert Buron, who records in a diary what Schuman said to him on 10 July 1953. Schuman described the options: Germany might make a secret deal with the Soviet Union or it could develop a real democracy inside a democratic European Community. Only the latter would safeguard the peace.

'Sooner or later, wished for or not, the reunification of Germany will happen. It may be in a climate of détente between East and West that would help the development. It may occur in a rapprochement of Germany alone with the Soviet Union, after elections favourable to socialists for example. The balance of the world will then be thrown into question.'

Schuman told him that the existence of the European Community had already caused the Soviets to stop and think about a less aggressive policy than world revolution. In Schuman's opinion, he recorded, 'the pursuit of a European policy is one of the causes for the decision of the new Russian rulers to move towards détente.'

Schuman was no longer in office as minister and, he said, Europe required a well informed governmental spokesman to speak out about the European Community. He would give 'a frank explanation between French and Russians about the policy of European integration.' Gaullists, nationalists and the large Communist party made this as difficult as possible. After WW2 Gaullists thought the only way to control Germany was the permanent removal of the Ruhr and annexation of the French zone so that the Rhine was the border. Then when the Community had been set in motion with its design to make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible, the Gaullists had no faith in this idea. They pooh-poohed it. They wanted their own Realpolitik. That meant, when de Gaulle seized power in 1958, that de Gaulle and France would always dominate Germany as much as possible. People called it a Franco-German axis.

It was not what the supranational Community is about. The Community involves the democracy of nation States as much as organized civil society and the people. It also involves a well-conceived concept of the rule of law, not the power politics that de Gaulle thought was the only way. Power politics have failed Europe over the last several millenniums because the conqueror of one day becomes the oppressor. The conquered foe of one day becomes the victim then the liberator of the next. And so on.

The Community started the thaw of the Cold War when Germany chose democratic and religious freedom. It joined the Council of Europe which legally guaranteed the human rights against another Hitler stamping on them with his jackboots. Today we need not only someone to speak to the Russians but to our own European citizens about the real meaning for them of a supranational, democratic Community. The Commission no longer seems to be acting like the independent guardian of the treaties or telling the truth about its origin and purpose.

We should be thankful that the Founding Fathers including men of long-term vision. Schuman said: 'If I believe profoundly in détente and in peace, I believe equally deeply that the strategy that we have traced is only realizable in practice if Western Germany remains solidly anchored to our European construction.

'It is necessary to progress at the same time with European integration, the improvement of East West relations and German unification. Everything lies in the art of progressing simultaneously.'

Schuman and others foretold that the Soviet Union would collapse before the end of the century. He told many people that this was a certainty. Adenauer, with whom he spoke on many occasions, said the same thing. The CIA and the other intelligence services were not listening. They did not make the same analysis as Schuman. They were shocked when the USSR collapsed on schedule. Other politicians at the time were not listening. They buried Europe's founding document, its Magna Carta of democracy.

None of today's politicians seem to be listening either. They still haven't published it. Nor have they understood or applied Schuman's definition of Democracy. Instead they imposed a Constitutional /Lisbon Treaty that the peoples of the Nation States had rejected in referendums.

Welcome to the People's Democracies of Europe! Wait for the fall of the next political cartel!