29 January, 2010

13 Cyprus-3 How a Community solution can revive Cyprus and the Mediterranean.

1. The lost truck
How do you solve the following problem? A large lorry from a Member State of the EU arrives by ship at a port in Cyprus with goods for delivery. All the custom documents are in order according to EU legislation. Unfortunately the goods were intended for the Cypriot Greek south of the island and the lorry arrived in a port in the Cypriot Turkish north. The truck with a sealed TIR consignment was driven to the inter-communal border but was refused any passage across it.

This incident provoked a crisis between the Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking communities. Both communities discussed it at the highest level. It reached a logjam. A simple truck became high politics. So what happened? The truck returned to the port of Famagusta, it was loaded on a ship and was returned to the European Member State from whence it came. Later it was placed on another ship and sailed to a Greek Cypriot port.

Thus the importer was faced with massive extra costs. And who was responsible? We can judge for ourselves. The importer was under the impression that there was a European Single Market. Apparently the importer did not take the two community leaders to the European Court!

West Europeans today might denounce this sort of thing as kindergarten politics, however, before 1951 and the European Community, the same Europeans were skilled practitioners in this type of difficult, uncivilized and uncooperative behaviour.

Be encouraged! The States of the European Community – before it existed – faced far bigger problems. Even among supposedly friendly countries the complexity of the problem was horrific. In the north of Belgium the border between Belgium and the Netherlands is worse than a Swiss cheese. Not only are there exclaves of Belgium inside the Netherlands, there are even enclaves and exclaves inside these holes in the Swiss cheese. This was paradise for smugglers trying to escape controls of one national government against another.

And that was not the worst problem. Neighbouring countries had been at war with each other – and bred long family traditions of hate and distrust – for CENTURIES. Continental Europe had been turned into a slave society by the Master Race with mass murder as State policy of the Nazis, supported and paid for by major, global corporations. There were millions of displaced citizens. Yet within FIVE short years after the end of the most horrendous and hate-filled war in all European history the problem was solved! The Schuman Declaration was made 60 years ago. Have we learned the lesson?

How did the other Europeans solve this problem with the first common market? How did they solve the problem of centuries-long war? On the face of it, the lorry cargo problem is a small, purely technical question with economic implications. But such incidents become highly political. Bad politics lead to distrust and distrust leads to war. That was Europeans’ experience before Europe’s first Community, the European Coal and Steel Community. When in 1953 the first single market was created, it was at first purely in coal, iron and steel products. But it solved a major problem: war, hate and distrust.

Later the Community experiment proved so successful that the single market was created in other goods and services. (Customs Union and Euratom)

A Cyprus Community solution will provide the means to solve all outstanding issues between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

2. The process
The first lesson: start simply but decisively. This must lay the real basis for a developing Community interest. Thus one particular problem has to be solved at a time. Not all together. Choosing a Community solution will solve all outstanding problems based on the same principles of justice. In 1950 Europeans did not chose a 'Package deal' -- which will all separately unwrap if not based on true principles -- but a single supranational solution that grows organically to make the New Europe.

How would supranational principles avoid a political deadlock in the case of the lorry scandal?

First the small group of people should be created who were trusted by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Such persons do not necessarily have to be Cypriots but they must have experience in Cypriot affairs. They must have the confidence of both parties for their impartiality. They should be able to speak with authority.

According to Europe’s first treaty, such a High Authority should be experienced and independent. Yes, that goes against the grain for politicians. But the treaty is insistent. These eminent people who constitute a ‘High Authority’ should ‘exercise their functions in full independence in the general interest of the community’. It says that ‘in accomplishing their duties, they shall neither solicit nor accept any instructions.’ From whom? Not from any government, not from any other body or organisation, political party, nor any individual. ‘They must refrain from any act incompatible with the supranational character of their functions.’

Supranational means that they have full delegated authority from the governments. Governments, political parties or any other interest will not interfere. Furthermore they should not be members of any interested body. They should resign from any body if they are members.

That is pretty clear. The High Authority acts like impartial judges so that it can come up with an impartial decision. (In later treaties the Authority is called the European Commission.) Like any honest brokers, conciliators or judges, their free will and free judgement must not be undermined. When Schuman was Minister of Justice he said that judges were responsible only to their own conscience.

Thus governments and political parties must exercise self-restraint. That may seem hard for parties and governments that wish to see they have a thumb in every issue. But if governments want sincerely to solve the problem, this is the way to go about it.

So we have a High Authority. It will only deal with one sector. Governments will not lose power. It will deal only with one issue agreed by both communities. In the case we are discussing it will deal only with the free movement of goods across the island and the access of all EU companies to both communities and to all Cypriots as purchasers and consumers, buyers and sellers.

3. How can Cypriots be sure the High Authority acts fairly?
This question was solved in the European Community by creating a body engaging organized civil society. It was called the Consultative Committee. It was a sort of parliamentary assembly – but only for associations, not individual electors, political parties or lobbies. It represented the overall interests of three sections of society: the producers, the consumers and the workers in the sectors in the treaty. The Committee is the specialist, technical agency for the Community. So if the system was to be applied to the fruit market, a third of the consultative committee would represent fruit producer associations (farmers) a third would represent fruit purchasers and eaters (who are concerned with quality and price) and a third would be composed of workers (so that if the price fell they would not be working on slave wages or have to submit to dangerous insecticides).

Ideally the Consultative Committee would be composed of a small number of independent Cyprus-wide associations. It could initially for a transition period be composed of existing associations. One of the first duties of the interim Committee would be to lay down impartial criteria for the definition of a Cyprus-wide association (its democratic and open basis in each section).

With such clear definitions in hand, any association could apply for recognition by the entire Cypriot community. Those associations that fulfilled the criteria would then become the electors for the new democratic body. They would be issued with one vote each, and elect a number of associations that corresponded with the predetermined size of the body. They would have to take into account that not all associations could be present in the Committee. Therefore their task would have to choose associations that were the most impartial and representative of the general interest. Those elected would also have to have excellent network contacts with the local and specialist interests. Why? Because if any question came up the Committee would be charged with finding out how all producers, consumers and workers would react to it. For example, it may relate to how costs should be defined both for city dwellers and for those who live in more inaccessible places. Armed with comprehensive data, they could debate the optimum solution, the best common approach to common problems.

The function of the High Authority would be to make decisions, recommendations or laws, relative to the issues it was designed to solve. The Authority would be in permanent dialogue with the Consultative Committee to see what the main issues were, what sort of solution was preferred and how, when and where to tackle it. The Authority could make decisions when there was an immediate problem like the European lorry that could not circulate across the island, or it could make more long-term proposals to create a healthier basis for trade.

To ensure that a good balance was made, and fair and just decisions are always available, three additional bodies are required to maintain the democratic rule of law. They would also provide the five-institution nucleus for a permanent democratic process in any other sector that needed to be added to ensure peace, justice and harmony.

For example, what happens to the interests of the individual in all this? The Community system installed a parliament with some special features, not always performed in our own parliaments. The parliament was to see that the bureaucracy did not get out of hand. It acted as a supervisor of the whole system. That meant it should review the decisions, recommendations and laws that the Authority had implemented. It should clean out the verbiage, make laws understandable and as simple as possible and should see to it that the overall effect was just and fair. A complex law or recommendation might have the right result but it would be far better if the man or woman in the street fully understood it and saw that it was so.

The parliament would have further special powers in that it could dismiss the Authority if it thought that some corruption of mismanagement was going on. It makes an annual review assessing the positive developments.

Would the existing governments be left out? Not at all. The equivalent of the Council of Ministers could be set up so that it could also give its input. In this example it would require the ministers of agriculture or trade to meet.

4. How it would work
In the system as original proposed by Robert Schuman the following would be the working scenario. The High Authority, in permanent dialogue with the Consultative Committee, (representing entrepreneurs, workers and consumers), would be appraised of the most urgent problems and strategic challenges. It would make a proposal for action: either a decision affecting one case, a general recommendation or a law. It would send the draft of this proposal to the Consultative Committee, the Council of Ministers (in this case a meeting of Turkish and Greek community ministers.) It would also go to the assembly of parliamentarians delegated for the purpose. Each of these three bodies, Consultative Committee, Ministers and parliamentarians need to discuss the proposal to see if it is fair for all. They can suggest amendments but they have to agree on them as a body. Each body would give its own Opinion. Thus the Committee would vote on their Opinion, the Ministers would agree what they thought best, and the parliamentarians would vote on what they thought could be improved in the proposal. It is up to the High Authority to accept and reject these opinions for amendments, as it sees best.

But what if the High Authority did something palpably unjust? Let us say, that the lorry owner, who was a foreigner and not a Cypriot, took the brunt as a scapegoat. He was asked to pay a fine because of the trouble he had caused. That is where the fifth body comes in. That is the Court of Justice. It is there as a last resort, because the other institutions should be able to solve all Cypriot problems. And if the special Court in Cyprus did not give him satisfaction, the lorry-owner could take the matter to the European Court. In fact, everyone in Cyprus, whether an individual or an association or a community could take the matter to Court. This right was written into the Treaty of Paris and subsequent treaties. There is no reason why Cypriots should not enjoy the right too.

To solve the problem of the wandering lorry, this five-institution system may seem complex. But it is not for a lost lorry that it would be created. It would be to make Cyprus the jewel of democracy and harmony and a full and active member of the Community system. The institutions would only involve a handful of people to ensure fairness for all.

5. How to start
What problem should Cypriots tackle first? The easiest or the most difficult? The essential feature of Schuman’s strategy was to build TRUST based on universal, that is, supranational values. Robert Schuman, the founder and initiator of the European Community system, called it a process of detoxification. Once he had established the Convention of Human Rights in the Council of Europe, he chose to start with a question of the most vital interest to all Europeans: war and peace. It was the most crucial issue for everything else, not the easiest one.

Furthermore the system works! No democratic system had a harder trial than stopping war that had persisted for centuries in Europe. Robert Schuman warned that the Community method was designed to prevent such a potential suicide and to make ‘war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.’ All the founding fathers who signed the Europe Declaration on 18 April 1951 agreed with him. So did the general public. Europeans are no living in the longest period of peace in more than two thousand years.

A supranational solution will have extremely positive repercussions for the island of Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Mediterranean basin, all of Europe and for the entire planet. The challenge is now with the people of Cyprus. The world is waiting.

12 Cyprus-2 Should an Asian island be part of Europe?

For centuries Europeans have argued: where are the limits of Europe? Professors and writers have battled on the subject. So have armies. Europe as a political and organisational entity would never exist if citizens had had to wait for experts, academics and politicians to agree.

"The definition of Europe as a geographical entity has long been a topic of academic debate," Robert Schuman told a meeting of foreign ministers and ambassadors in London’s prestigious St James’s Palace. "But Europe cannot wait for the end of a seemingly interminable discussion. She will define herself by herself by the willingness of her populations."

Schuman was speaking at the signing of the statutes of the Council of Europe on 5 May 1949. By their votes and those in their parliaments, Europeans began defining Europe. France, under Schuman’s premiership, had been largely responsible for the creation of this, Europe’s first international democratic institution. It allowed European citizens through their elected ministers and their politicians to express European public opinion and democratically define policies of cooperation.

Thus Europe's ultimate borders are defined in the minds of Europeans and an act of political will about human rights and fundamental freedoms. (See Holocaust2 Human Rights vs Final Solution) The adherence to these principles in the Human Rights convention are the touchstone of being European.

Robert Schuman’s initiative helped break the centuries-long log-jam made by wars, competition and dominating sovereignties. Europe would be defined, he said, through a democratic act of will of its citizens mutually reinforcing humane, moral values for peaceful development.

More than half a century later, some politicians have reopened the ‘interminable’ debate. They insist that states and citizens of the European Union, must conform to their definition of European geography and their concept of history. It is too late to turn back the clock. The Founding Fathers would not agree with the statement of a politician that European "geography sets the frame."

In May 2004, Cyprus became a full member. In its "geographical frame," it is not in Europe. It is entirely in Asia. Up to 1878, Cyprus was part of Turkey's Asian Ottoman empire. Over the thousands of years of its history, Cyprus had been part of the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian empires. When it was part of the Egyptian empire, it did not become African. Nor did its geography change later when conquered by Roman plots and arms. Some argue that because its culture is "European," it is part of Europe. But that would make Australia and the USA equally "European". In 1961 Cyprus became "European" when it joined the Council of Europe. Member States agreed with this definition. It was voted in all parliaments of the European Union. Greece and Turkey together became members of the Council years earlier, in 1949.

Europe's Asian footprint is now irreversible. This is not an accident. 'Europe' has long had irreversibly global geography. The official map of the European Union shows that its legal borders already extend to Africa and the Americas too. The French departments of Reunion (Africa) and Guyane (South America) Guadeloupe and Martinique are internal territory of the EU, as are the African islands of Portuguese Madeira and the Spanish Canaries.

It is the act of will or consciousness which Robert Schuman mentioned that decides the "limits of Europe" in today’s fashionable term. Schuman had a broader vision right from the start. ‘Europe’ is a dynamic project, not an empire or state. It was concerned with what he called Europeans duty to prevent "global suicide."

This may sound a vague and imprecise hope to some politicians and academics but in fact it has a solid intellectual basis which is little discussed today. It has real power. It is stronger than armies. The philosophical and scientific concepts he enunciated in the 1940s are the driving force of today’s enlargement process. He predicted it would be so, based on logical deduction. It created "a well spring of unexploited energies to take advantage of," he told the Council of Europe in 1950. He said that on the occasion he presented to the Consultative Assembly the details of the Schuman Plan, creating the European Community.

Schuman supported the Turkish adhesion to the European values of the Community system. He also made clear that northern, central and eastern European countries, including Russia, must be considered "European" when they embrace European values. These involved supranational rule of law protecting democracy and the human rights and fundamental freedoms.

These include not only freedom of speech but the freedom to hold a religion. Most importantly for any community based on supranational --that is eternal -- values it assures the right to change one's religion without let or hindrance. The Community is focused on a long-term democratic debate on moral improvement including personal values like truth and honesty and society values for physical, mental and spiritual health.

Schuman, together with the foreign ministers of the other European states, signed this Convention on 4 November 1950. The Council established working relationships with other democracies like Australia and New Zealand. And importantly for the future, it sustained and supported democracies under pressure and aspiring for more freedom like Finland and Israel.

The real difficulties of today’s debate arise only when people misconceive Schuman's Community system as a club leading to a super-state or federation. These politicians want to be the leader, whether wanted or not. This is a major intellectual block in discussions; people still talk in terms of federations and confederations while Schuman, a lawyer and constitutional expert, announced in the 1940s that he was about to create a third, system, the supranational, totally new in practice and in the history of political constitutions. Schuman's design was aimed at strengthening the open practice of democracy and the guarantees of the rule of law. He intended the impact of this supranational, democratic revolution to be planetary.

27 January, 2010

11The Holocaust or Human Rights

Schuman’s report on the Holocaust may not have been the only one to be brought to the attention of the Allies in August 1942. At least one other independent testimony of the systematic extermination of Jews arrived at that time. Professor Howard M Sachar wrote:

The first reliable information of the '”Final Solution” evidently reached the West in August 1942, when the American Jewish leader, Stephen Wise, learned of it from Gerhard Reigner, the representative of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva.’

Schuman’s postwar efforts were centred on creating a system that would act as a conscience for the world, instead of destructive Nazism or selfish nationalism. Conscience provides the means for people to live in harmony together.

Without moral progress, technical progress and industrialization had led to industrialized mass murder. One of the most educated and cultured societies in Europe had descended into unconscionable barbarity. The major corporations employed slave labour and even ran death camps. White collared accountants calculated the minimum rations for a slave to work and die of starvation within nine months. A Judeo-Christian society had given itself over to exterminating Jews.

To create a governmental system to act as the conscience of Europe and make positive and irreversible progress in the moral field was an even greater challenge than technical progress.

National governments resisted any agreement that would affect their sovereignty. High officials in the French Foreign Ministry, the guardian of French ‘national interest’ but more accurately often only that of the coal and steel barons and finance, had deliberately sabotaged his efforts at European reconciliation.

If that was true in France, in Germany the coal and steel and other cartels had encouraged the rise of Hitler to defend their interest. Schuman warned that the next time this happened, it would mean world suicide.

The Council of Europe was Schuman's first step. As Prime Minister and Foreign Minster, he made the establishment of this institution a priority. It was founded as a means to render impossible in the future any slide to godless, unconscionable Hitlerism or dictatorship. It made human rights and fundamental freedoms a litmus test for membership of the new entity called Europe.

Presenting the Human Rights Convention to the Assembly in 1949, Schuman’s colleague, French lawyer, Pierre-Henri Teitgen, said:

An honest man does not become a gangster in 24 hours. Infection takes time. In thought and in conscience, he has to let himself be drawn into temptation. He gets used to the fault before he commits it. He descends the stairwell step by step. One day, he finds evil has beaten him and he has lost all scruples. Democracies do not become Nazi countries overnight. Evil progresses in an underhand way, with a minority operating to seize what amounts to the levers of power. One by one, freedoms are suppressed, in one sphere then another. Public opinion is smothered, the worldwide conscience is dulled and the national conscience asphyxiated. And then, when everything fits in place, the Führer is installed and this evolution continues right on to the deadly gas ovens of the crematorium.

‘Intervention is needed before it becomes too late. A conscience must exist somewhere which will sound the alarm to the minds of a nation threatened by this spreading gangrene, to warn them of the peril and to show them that they are committing themselves to a crooked road leading far, sometimes even to Buchenwald or to Dachau. An international jurisdiction within the Council of Europe, a system of surveillance and guarantee, could be this conscience, of which other countries also maybe have special need.

The innovation of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community or the European Commission of the later two Communities of the Rome Treaties was made to create an impartial and independent voice for European democracies. That is why it must be independent, not tied to any interest, whether national, political, commercial or otherwise.

26 January, 2010

10. Holocaust: Schuman's Warning of the Nazi extermination of the Jews. How it led to the new Europe

After Robert Schuman's warning of the Nazi destruction of the Jews,
Why did those who were warned not act?

August 1942
“The Jews are being systematically destroyed. There are no more Jews in the Ukraine. Men, women and children have been separated and taken. Men and women have been transported to concentration camps. Often they are sent with hardly any water and without food. They are left to die of starvation and cold. They are often made to dig huge trenches and they are then shot in front of them. They are set on fire with petrol, then covered in lime[1] and earth. The Polish Jews are often destroyed by such radical methods. They are transported, separating father, mothers and children. When the German populations are transported, the families are transferred. The same goes also for those from Alsace-Lorraine. But they had to leave without taking practically anything with them, leaving their country, and finding themselves in very difficult conditions.”

These words of Robert Schuman[2] are from a recorded conversation around 14 August 1942.[3] Schuman, later the creator of the European Community, had been the first French deputy arrested by the Nazis in World War II. His horrendous revelations were made as soon as Schuman, after having escaped from Germany, reached the Free French zone.

The words, summarized from a long conversation in note form, were recorded by Dom Basset, the Abbot of St Martin’s at Ligugé, near Poitiers, France. The impact of this and other revelations about the workings of the Nazi State were sufficient to determine his path to join the Resistance. In 1948, Schuman as Prime Minister awarded Dom Basset the Légion d’Honneur for his courageous acts.

Was Schuman’s warning to Basset one of the first averting the Catholic hierarchy of the Jewish extermination? There is every reason to believe that Schuman made this information known to many other people, including ministers in the Vichy government, probably Allied diplomats and to a wide variety of other people in mass meetings attended by thousands of people. This message in August 1942 by Schuman that Nazis and their collaborators were perpetrating a vast, systematic and industrialized destruction of the Jews -- the Holocaust -- is probably the first warning to Allied governments by a reliable politician of unimpeachable honesty.

Where did Schuman’s information come from?

The source.
On 13 August 1942, after a number of hair-raising incidents, Schuman had crossed the demarcation line separating German-occupied France and that under control of the Pétain government at Vichy. It was a fortunate moment. Some weeks later the whole border area became firmly controlled with a no-man’s land. Schuman crossed the frontier at Montmorillon, 50 km east of Poitiers. No source says that he had received the information from the French Resistance.[4] He had little time to communicate with them. Like the other extraordinary, strategic information that he brought with him, it seems certain that he had gathered this information while a prisoner in Germany. Dom Basset was the first person across the line of demarcation with whom he had enough time and safety to be able to discuss the war at length. A massive manhunt was in progress for him in the Rhineland, Alsace-Lorraine (incorporated into the Reich) and German-occupied France.

The facts that Schuman presented also indicate that the source of the information was German. The Dom Basset notes indicate that Schuman had little news about what was going on in France. There is no indication of transports from France, Belgium, the Netherlands or the Nordic countries. He concentrated on three main areas: the Ukraine, Poland and Alsace-Lorraine --which had been incorporated into Germany -- and Germany itself. A major killing programme of Einsatzgruppen was occurring in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as well as Belarus. These states were part of Ostland, ruled by Gauleiter Hinrich Lohse. The German-occupied Ukraine was ruled by Gauleiter Erich Koch, both under Reichminister Alfred Rosenberg.[5]

Official or private?
Was Schuman’s information from private or official sources? The fact that killing in eastern Europe, such as Rumania is not mentioned may be because the Basset notes do not write a list of all countries Schuman mentioned. Alternatively, it may be that Schuman did not know about these areas. Historians have shown that the mass murders in the Ukraine were the most horrific and publicly known. ‘Thousands had a hand in these murders -- military personnel, police, native auxiliaries, civilian administrators in the various districts, and representatives of Rosenberg’s Ostministerium. In contrast to the extermination in Poland, ordered by the regiment of the death camps and dedicated to efficient operation, this was a primitive bloodbath -- with the widest circle of complicity anywhere in Europe. In 1953, summing up these massacres, Gerald Reitlinger observed that their naked savagery was unsurpassed even in he history of the Final Solution.’[6]

It is likely therefore that Schuman put the picture together from his discussions with native Germans in the Palatinate where, officially, he was under house arrest. When the war broke out Schuman had been brought into the French Government. As a fluent German speaker (with a doctorate in German law and extensive knowledge of Germany), Schuman had been made Under-Secretary of State in the Reynaud government charged with coordination and refugees. This involved intelligence matters and dealing with anti-Nazi groups. Schuman already had his own vast network of friends and contacts in Germany. He was therefore well-informed about whom to contact. But there is evidence that Schuman got much of his information direct from the highest Nazi officials.

In June 1940, after resigning his government office at the Armistice, he had traveled back to his constituency in German-occupied Lorraine with some returning refugees. The intention was to report back to the French government about conditions there. A further major concern was to burn his correspondence he had had with Germans and with other figures across Europe who might be compromised.

The Germans arrested him in autumn 1940 because of his energetic defence of the local population against the Nazi occupation. This happened at the moment he was about to return to the 'Free Zone' of France. Thrown in solitary confinement for seven months, he was rescued (if that is the term) by a sympathetic German lawyer, Heinrich Welsch[7], on the orders of the Gauleiter Josef Bürckel.[8] The latter, who had been the Kommissar of Austria after the Anschluss, was described as a ‘brutal and efficient autocrat’.[9] The Gestapo wanted to interrogate him about his actions against the Nazi regime in Parliament. He had already undergone Gestapo interrogation, perhaps torture.[10]Bürckel took him to the Gau’s headquarters in Neustadt in the Rhineland Palatinate.[11] He hoped to ‘turn’ Schuman with his vast German and French culture and immense following among Lorrainers to support the Nazi regime.

Bürckel tried to find a point of weakness or means of blackmail. He threatened Schuman with the Dachau concentration camp. That meant death. ‘That decision is now mine alone,’ Bürckel threatened. Schuman did not bend. He parried with an argument aimed at Bürckel's vanity: ‘You can, of course, always send me there, but that is not an argument.

Bürckel, as one of the leaders closest to Hitler, was no doubt well-informed about the systematic destruction of the Jews. It is likely that Bürckel who was involved in atrocities in the take-over of Austria, boasted to Schuman about the "Final Solution" and the bloody means by which it was being accomplished.

To show his usefulness and provide reasons that Schuman would not be eliminated also, the Gauleiter wanted Schuman to publish an article in German. Any article would have probably sufficed because it would be powerful propaganda that the most eminent Lorrainer known for his honesty had supported the Nazi cause. Honesty was one commodity in extreme short supply under the Nazis. By various stratagems, he eventually won from Bürckel the possibility to inform himself of what was going on in Nazi Germany. By subtle means, this also involved an unofficial enlarging of his confinement area. It allowed him to visit various localities, with the tacit complicity of his guards.

Schuman used his qualities as a sympathetic listener. On this basis Schuman was able to collect a great deal of information from the local population and libraries for a statistical analysis of war losses. He was also secretly in contact with the Lorraine and German resistance. Then he escaped across Germany and occupied France. Later the Germans had put a reward of 100,000 Reichmarks on his head -- the same figure as the recently escaped General Giraud.

He told Dom Basset that very often officers and soldiers were anti-Hitler but that they obeyed when Hitler commanded. He described other areas of resistance including religious groups, both Protestant and Catholic. It is therefore a possibility that these were among his sources of information about Reich extermination practices and the results obtained so far.

Schuman obtained information of strategic and military importance. Germany had already lost 1.2 million men with three or four times that number rendered useless by disease or wounds. The immense forces of the Allies together with Russia opposed it. The crimes of Germany could only lead to its downfall.[12] He concluded that it had already lost the war. It was only a question of time.

In 1904, Schuman had been trained in statistics at the University of Munich by one of Germany’s leading state statisticians, Georg von Mayr.[13] He revelled in figures. As a long time member and Secretary of the French parliamentary Commission on Finance, Schuman was able to verify the losses both from the sample of war deaths in his locality and from library data. Germany was also limited by its material resources. Allied victory was a statistical certainty.

Governmental duty
On his arrival in France, Schuman would not stop to rest. ‘Unfortunately it’s impossible,’ he told Robert Rochefort[14] who had welcomed him in ‘Free France’. ‘I have a duty to inform the Government. I have a lot of very important things to tell them, things that they can’t just brush aside. I must meet with the Head of State as soon as possible.’ Allied powers also had embassies at Vichy at this stage of the war. While in confinement Schuman had brushed up his English by making dictionaries on minute scraps of paper.

In 1940 Schuman had refused to take part in Pétain’s government, even though Pétain had wanted him and had reserved him in his absence the same post. Now Schuman judged it urgent to pass on his strategic information, not only to those susceptible of resistance, like his fellow Alsace-Lorrainers in exile but especially the Vichy government, whether they would receive him or not. Laval, for fear of the Gestapo, refused to meet him, though he waited in an antechamber. After a great deal of patience and guile, Schuman managed to see Marshall Pétain, who was then head of the rump French government of the south, still with a fig leaf of independence. Schuman buttonholed him at a dinner and had several minutes with him. It got nowhere.

For the public, however, Schuman’s huge reputation that he enjoyed before the war was enhanced by news of his dramatic escape. This was especially true for the Alsace-Lorrainers. He addressed about a dozen public meetings, some with upwards of 1500 people attending. No doubt he also spoke of matters he had raised with Dom Basset. Germany was certain to lose the war. Schuman proved the matter statistically based on the losses on the Eastern Front that he had collected. The Allied victory was only a matter of time. We have no direct proof that he mentioned the same things that Dom Basset recorded at the time but there is no reason to doubt it. Did Schuman explain to the public meetings what he had learned about the Nazi extermination of Jews and their culture? Lacking the ephemeral sources, it is difficult for the historian to be certain. He brought a great deal of information about the Nazi enslavement of the German and other peoples, military strategy and the certainty of victory. This became public knowledge.

What would have been the impact of news of Jewish extermination on the audiences of the time? The Pétain government had instigated an anti-Jewish policy among its first decrees.[15]

Schuman spoke largely to immigrant Alsace-Lorraine groups in various towns such as Lyon, where he addressed a crowd in the Jeanne d’Arc hall, La Salette, Bourg-en-Bresse, Châteauroux and Royat. His news ‘grave, full of hope, deep and spiritual’ that included the Nazis’ ultimate defeat had a hugely encouraging effect on morale.[16] He met up with old and trusted friends including parliamentarians. There seems no reason why he should not have divulged to his friends and compatriots what he manifestly told a stranger, Dom Basset. The latter was at the time not firmly in the Resistance. Many figures in the Roman church had quite different opinions. Besides the intricate sociological analysis of the Hitlerite tyranny on the population, the exterminations of Jewish, Russian and other populations would have rated only second in importance to his statistical prediction of the end of the war.

An old friend, the priest, Bernard de Solages, recalled that: ‘To my question if he was optimistic about the end of the war, he replied very affirmatively. He told me that his ‘sojourn’ in Germany had allowed him to enquire with sufficiently close exactitude into the enormous losses that Germany had succumbed to. To these losses, he had fixed numbers. He had no doubt about the outcome. Germany could not sustain its effort. It would have to capitulate.’[17] (emphasis added.)
German occupation

This period of comparative freedom in was cut short when the Germans invaded and completely took over the Vichy territory. Now the SS could make more intensive searches. Schuman chose to stay in France, despite a call from de Gaulle (who had also been an Under-Secretary of State in the Reynaud government) to come to London.

For remaining three years of war, Schuman risked his life in contact with the some of the population but moving from hideout to hideout. In contact with other politicians, he spent a great deal of time formulating and researching plans for post-war European unity. His face was too well known to stay in any area where there was likely to be Alsace-Lorraine refugees.

Schuman’s record After the First World War as a young Deputy, Schuman had been largely responsible for the mammoth task of reconciling the body of German law in Alsace-Lorraine with the laws of metropolitan France. This codification is still known as the Lex Schuman. The Lex Schuman provided for the retention of advantages legislated under the Bismarckian period that were not incompatible with French metropolitan law. For example, Alsace-Lorrainers benefited from a superior social insurance system.

With the return to France of the ‘lost provinces’, Schuman energetically defended the democratic rights of the population to chose their religion and education. In Alsace and Lorraine, the three main religious divisions of Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish had been able to maintain their own schools. The majority of the population was up in arms at the enforced secularisation proposed by Paris. Schuman defended vigorously their democratic right to continue to follow their conscience. The centralizing policy was in ‘plain contradiction with the programmes on which seven eighths of the representatives of the affected region were elected. To pursue the introduction of such a programme would not only be contrary to democratic principles, but would be to throw into our region a source of grave trouble for which we can take no responsibility.’ To this day Alsace-Lorraine still enjoys extra freedoms and advantages it had gained from his efforts. From years before the First World War, Schuman had devoted himself to create a system of law and governance that would bring peace to Europe. In 1939, even in that winter of the ‘phoney war’, he made it clear to friends, the need for the reconciliation of peoples after they had won the war. As quickly as possible Europeans should get to understand one another with an aim of putting an end once and for all to such fratricidal and destructive wars that had decimated the population of Europe, not only recently but over the last centuries.[18]

Post-war action
He was re-elected to Parliament after the war and saw office as Minister of Finance (1946-7) Prime Minister (1947-8), Foreign Minister (1948-53) and Minister of Justice (1955-6).

As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Schuman announced the start of a new era following the centuries of war and destruction. Human rights, protected by supranational law was the major instrument, not only in protecting minorities against persecution. It was the definition of the boundaries and borders of the NEW EUROPE. This he announced with the approval of all signatory States at the signing of the Statutes of the Council of Europe at St James's Palace, London on 5 May 1949.

In a series of speeches, conferences and press statements, he stated that the past bloody centuries of the clash of nationalism and nationalities must cede to that of supranational unions of democracies focused on peace. Under his leadership, France created a means to prevent such problems re-occurring. The Council of Europe created the framework for the Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This was directly based on the need to stop a slide to Dachau by such State gangsterism.

His policy went beyond a concerted policy of encouraging Franco-German reconciliation after the hate and destruction of war. In 1949, he announced that a new era must be opened to change for ever the deadly harvest of nationalisms and rivalries. This continual slaughter had lasted several centuries. It had brought the planet to the brink of suicide. He now called for a supranational association or an enduring supranational union of democracies that would ‘make war impossible’. The supranational system was a means to encourage the positive aspects of human development, while developing its moral growth. It would lay foundations for spiritual and political growth.[19] It was a great ‘European experiment’ based on the democratic principle ‘Loving your neighbor as yourself’ writ large for states and peoples.[20]

Democracy was defined by its goals and the means it used to attain them. The goals must start with peace and the means, works of peace. As for the definition of democracy itself, Schuman used a scientific touchstone, more precise than US President Abraham Lincoln’s. ‘Democracy,’ he said, ‘was at the service of the people and acting in agreement with it.’ This, he said, was how it should be understood in a Judeo-Christian context, rather than that of the Hellenistic age. Such a crude democracy based only on majority voting would end up in tyranny or anarchy.[21]

The Community model with its five key institutions was little known at the time. A year later on 9 May 1950, Schuman announced the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. It was based on this new concept that could not be described either as a federation or a confederation. On numerous occasions, he made clear that the European Community could be identified with this, until-then, theoretical supranational structure based on the international rule of law. The European Community was the ‘first example of an independent supranational institution’ in world history. Some of these key speeches have been published in the volume: Schuman or Monnet? The real Architect of Europe.[22]

Now more than half a century afterwards, historians can affirm that the present generation is the only one in Western Europe that has not known internal war for such a long period. Europeans are moving into a new age where no one in their family has lost a loved one in a European war. Without realizing the profound reasons for its existence, states -- from the former Soviet zone to the Mediterranean -- are now queuing to join. The experience of long-term member states indicates that they have not lost sovereignty by taking joint decisions together. Rather they have strengthened democracy and increased prosperity beyond expectation. (Predictions in 1950 --before the European Community was announced-- had considered that Western Europe would remain a powerless zone riven by poverty and internal squabbles.) Today the European Union can embrace about half a billion citizens of cultures as different as Greek and Finnish, Hungarian and Irish. They all seek peace and a stabilized democratic process.

The High Court of History
During a conference visit to Switzerland in December 1952, Schuman stopped at a snow-covered villa above the lake of Zurich. It was for a very special ceremony. In the name of the French government he presented Thomas Mann, the German writer, with the insignia of officer of the Légion d’Honneur. Attached to the correspondence was found his hand-written note: ‘When in 1952 I found out that the French government had not until then given any honorific distinction to Thomas Mann, I was astonished and somewhat shocked. The decree of 16 December 1952 conferring on him the cross of officer of the Légion d’Honneur was one of my last acts as Foreign Minister.’[23] Thomas Mann’s novelist brother Heinrich, also a great proponent of European unity, described his first novel as representing ‘more than himself, a country and a tradition, more than a whole civilization, {it is} the supranational conscience of man.’[24]

Hitler, who both the brothers Mann vigorously opposed, fulminated against the supranational. It was contrary his own egocentric and destructive form of nationalism and to him conscience was a Jewish invention.[25]

For Schuman conscience was the most precious thing for actors in politics and history. A conscience directed by the love of God and the love of one’s neighbor was a guide. It was a belief that Schuman held on to in the darkest days of his captivity. In April 1942 Nazi Germany was at its zenith and at the gates of Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad.

When his friend, Georges Ditsch, a former trainee lawyer at his chambers, met him secretly during his ‘sojourn’ in Germany, he told him: ‘This war, terrible as it is, will finish one fine day and it will finish by the victory of the free world. Might has never been able to triumph over right.’ He then modified a quotation of Schiller: ‘Das Weltgewissen ist ein Weltgericht’ -- The conscience of the world is the High Court of the world.[26] ‘There can no longer be a question of perpetuating hate and resentment against the Germans. On the contrary, without forgetting the past, it will be necessary to rally them and do everything possible to integrate them into the free world. As soon as peace has returned it will be necessary to find out with our allies the cause of wars and think out structures which will render such cataclysmic events impossible.

‘The solutions could only be found in the context of a United Europe. Such a thing had already been attempted in the past but by means of brute force. Only a democratic enterprise would be susceptible of gaining the consent of nations.

This time,’ he concluded, ‘we will need to start off with a clean slate free of the territorial ambitions which are the source of new conflicts and find a union for everybody through co-operation.’ Schuman had no illusions about Germany’s rôle in European history. His description of two thousand years of German history shocked many Germans. His introduction of the supranational system for Europe was done ‘not out of enthusiasm, nor apprehension of its outcome… It was not an end in itself but a necessity.’ [27]

Schuman had spoken out against Nazi injustice and for that he had been thrown into a freezing cell in solitary confinement. Several times he had barely escaped being sent to Dachau and exterminated. He had been hunted like a criminal across Germany and France for three years with a massive reward on his head. Yet his politics before, during and after the war were not based on hate or revenge. He chose to stay in France when his life was at risk every minute to work for the postwar world.
The success, security and prosperity of the European Community is a practical demonstration of his living principle of politics ‘to love your enemy as yourself.’[28] Thus we help ourselves and glorify our Maker.

Edited version of Study first published in 2004 on the occasion of the European Commission's Conference on Anti-Semitism (c) Bron

[1] This seems to indicate that the source comes from an eyewitness. Lime was often used to cover the fallen bodies. Lime is a product of chalk and physically similar. It is made by heating chalk, then slaking it by adding water.

[2] Robert Schuman: 1886- 1963. Politician and Statesman. Twice Prime Minister. Minister in a dozen governments. Born in Luxembourg of Lorraine father, Jean Pierre, in self-exile in Luxembourg, and Luxembourgish mother, Eugénie Duren. Lawyer, studied at the universities of Bonn, Munich, Berlin and Strasbourg. Doctorate in civil law. Deputy in French Parliament for Thionville, 1919 to 1959 (except for war). As Prime Minister, initiator of Council of Europe, as Foreign Minister initiator of European Community and co-author of NATO Treaty.

[3] The presumably undated notes of Dom Basset are recorded as July 1942 by Rochefort. This cannot be true as Schuman only escaped in the first week of August. The correct date must be 13 or 14 August. He stayed in Ligugé several days and left by train, arriving in Lyon on 15 August 1942 where he stayed with Monsignor Léon Schmit, his cousin. Léon Schmit was vicar general and professor at Great Seminary of Metz.

[4] Schuman did receive information from the Lorraine Resistance on other matters, including secret internal German reports. It is not clear whether in fact the French Resistance knew about Jewish extermination to this extent. In that case, Schuman was bringing to the Resistance the most vital information of the time.

[5] Marrus, Michael R: The Holocaust in History, p64. New York 1987.

[6] Marrus, p65.

[7] Welsch, Heinrich: 1888- 1976. Lawyer, barrister. In 1955-6 Welsch became Minister President of Saarland.

[8] Bürckel, Josef: 1895-1944. School teacher. 1926 Party Gauleiter of the Rhineland Palatinate. 1934 Reichskommissar for the Return of the Saar. 1938 Governor (Reichstatthalter) of Westmark. In 1939 Hitler gave him responsibilities for bringing Austria into the Hitler Reich. 1940 he became Hitler’s Commissar (Reichskommissar) for Lorraine.
[9] Lejeune, René: Robert Schuman, une âme pour l’Europe, p84. Paris 1986.
[10] September 1940. Schuman, Robert: Pour l’Europe, p92. Paris 1963.
[11] The Gau was a province in the Hitler Reich. Lorraine had been absorbed into the German Reich as German territory as part as Gau Westmark (Western Marches). Some of the population had been expelled, others were subject to German racial law. In 1940 Bürckel assumed the title of Reichskommissar for Lorraine.

[12] Schuman was convinced about moral force in history.

[13] Mayr, Georg von: 1841-1925. Professor of Statistics, Munich. Politician. Author of Statistik und Gesellschaftslehre and other books on statistics. Responsible for statistical survey in both Bavaria and Alsace-Lorraine where he was Under Secretary of State. Member of Commission for Tariff Reform.

[14] Robert Rochefort later became a member of Schuman’s ministerial cabinet. He wrote an outstanding biography of Schuman.
[15] The ‘Statut des Juifs’ published 3 October 1940 excluded Jews from government, and the liberal professions such as medicine and law.
[16] Robert Garric in Rochefort, Robert: Robert Schuman, p125. Paris 1968.

[17] Rochefort, Robert: Robert Schuman, p127.

[18] Conversations with Marcel Bérain in Poitiers where many Alsace-Lorrainers had fled.

[19] Speech at St James’s Palace, London, May 1949 in Schuman or Monnet? p 36.
[20] Schuman or Monnet? p28. Lev: 19:18.

[21] Schuman or Monnet? p27. Schuman: Pour l’Europe, p70.
[22] Bron Communications, ISBN: 09527276 41, February 2004

[23] Rochefort: Robert Schuman, p317.

[24] Chronique de l’Humanité, p985. Paris 1986.
[25] Hermann Rauschning: Hitler m'a dit.

[26] Georges Ditsch interview. Also cited in Lejeune’s Robert Schuman, une âme pour l’Europe, pp89-90 but attributed to Goethe. Friedrich von Schiller wrote: Die Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht. (World history is the Court of the world.) Resignation, 1784. This was reinterpreted by some German nationalists to mean historical facts on the ground. The victims of such a policy would neither agree to the history (world history not national history) or the egocentric interpretation.
[27] Speech to the Council of Europe, 10 August 1950 in Schuman or Monnet? p94.

[28] Matt. 5:43-48.

21 January, 2010

9 The Cyprus membership mess and its resolution

Intensive talks on the unity of Cyprus are underway again. At the eastern end of the Mediterranean, the island of Cyprus presents an enigma to other Europeans. Firstly it is a witness against today's politicians in Brussels and elsewhere. Why could they too not make war 'not only unthinkable but materially impossible' -- as Robert Schuman said he would do in the Schuman Declaration, sixty years ago? Do politicians know why Europe's first Community was created?

Secondly, Cyprus is geographically in Asia, so what is it doing in the European Union? Should a part of Asia be a member of Europe? The answer is Yes. We will explain why, later.

Thirdly, Cyprus has been a member since the Great Enlargement of 2004 when it joined with Malta and Central and Eastern European Countries, newly liberated from the Iron Curtain. The latter previously had regimes that were ruled by political parties that lacked public support, and denied the public right of effective expression in politics. The governing elite (who thought they knew better) ignored public opinion, demonstrations, even mass revolts against their "people's democracies", as they called them.

Look at the mess the accession negotiators came up with. In theory the whole island of Cyprus is part of the European Union. In practice it is divided. Democracy, not only the Single Market, is broken. The European rule of law is ‘suspended’ in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot south lacks the democratic legitimacy and voice to speak for the entire island. The present division of the island is a disagreeable public reminder to these negotiator/ politicians — it indicates that something was gravely amiss in the way they went about enlargement. It shows that they did not understand the basic, democratic principles of the Community process.

The resolution of the decades-long remnants of war, killing and displaced populations is a challenge to European politicians. Behind it is a shocking story of dissembling. If the founding fathers of the first European Community in the 1950s were able to make ‘war not only unthinkable but materially impossible’ between the most belligerent and hate-filled states of Western Europe FIVE years after the horrific World War 2 with millions of dead and millions of displaced people — among people who fought each other for millennia — why cannot today's European politicians resolve the problems of one island?

The original negotiators did not resolve the problem. Don't today's politicians have the means and power to do so -- do they remember how the Community model works? Hardly. They abandoned it, or where they could not, they have hidden it!!! They spent millions on a propaganda campaign for the Lisbon Treaty that said that 1957 was the birthday of the European Community! Utter Rubbish!

Unfortunately today's party politicians are still trying to bury the real history. They have now created a political oligarchy for parties not people -- calling it the European Union. It has not destroyed the European Community but it has added a great deal of expensive and undemocratic, political fog and mirrors. They refuse to recognize referendums or even opinion polls showing how much the people disagree with them.

Today Western Europe is living in the longest period of peace that it has ever experienced since before the time of the Caesars. Have today’s politicians lost the plot? Do they lack the will and would prefer to see the problem fester? Are they Machiavellian, ignorant or incompetent?

The politicians’ abandonment of European principles is clear from the EU protocol for Cypriot accession. It shows something is seriously wrong. It does not talk about people being ‘free to choose’ — the essence of democracy — but it talks of places where the Greek Cypriot government ‘does not have effective control’. That type of terminology — control when talking about a democracy — recalls the Iron Curtain not a normal democracy.

This restriction to the citizens includes not only the Turkish Cypriots but the grey area of British Sovereign Bases of Akritiri, Episkopi, Ayios Nikolaos and Dhekelia. The Sovereign Bases fall under different international law. They have a land area about 5/6 the size of Malta. There, the people with Greek social security were considered to be resident of Cyprus.

Given the past dishonest compromises that politicians have made against the clear democratic principles of a supranational Community, is there any hope for Cypriot unity and a healthy eastern border of the EU? Will the island ever become unified and a viable Member State? The prizes for such an improvement are great.

The Europe Declaration, made by the founding fathers on 18 April 1951, the foundational document for the entire EU — which incidentally the European Commission still refuses to publish on its website europa.eu — says that membership of the European Community system is open to all peoples who are ‘free to choose’. If the European Commission won’t even acknowledge and publish the founding democratic principles of Europe’s supranational Community, that gives free reign for politicians to cheat, chisel and make closed-door, undemocratic deals.

The present talks
Having made this membership mess by compromise and not a little bit of political blackmail, European politicians — who should understand what a European Community means — are less than visible in the present intensive series of talks. Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots wrapped up last week the first of two intensive three-day discussions scheduled for this month. The next are set for 25 January.

The President of the Greek Cypriots, Demetris Christofias, a Moscow-trained historian and the Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat, an Ankara-trained electrical engineer, conferred in the neutral zone of Nikosia under United Nations auspices. Observers say that evidence for concrete progress is small. The UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer who is brokering the talks said that the two had ‘a free and very open exchange of views on the issue of governance and power sharing.’

The Australian diplomat would not be drawn on details whether the UN had met its objective of achieving progress. ‘As I said, and I choose my words carefully, these talks are being held very much in a positive spirit and in a very good atmosphere.

There are ten dossiers on the table. Amongst the thorniest are property and plans for a unitary state based on a mixture of federal and confederal ideas.

The talks are being somewhat hindered, if not hamstrung, by both parties having to look over their shoulders as they confer. The Turkish president is anxious about his re-election chances in April. His popularity is falling due to higher unemployment. A recent poll puts his popularity as half that of his rival for the post, Dr Dervis Eroglu. That gives him little room to make concessions under the eye of an opponent wanting to take a harder line.

The Greek Cypriot President is also under the watchful gaze of the Greek Cypriot National Council – composed of the president and leaders of all political parties represented in the House of Representatives. They too express disapproval of concessions. Further afield the leaders of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Republic of Cyprus take frequent soundings from and trips to Turkey and Greece respectively.

Should Cyprus be a member of the EU? If so why? And can any progress be made about bringing unity to the island? The only concept that has a hope to unite the island are supranational values that transcend political manipulations. That is the founding principle of the Schuman method. If the people were given the right to be able to be ‘free to choose’, what would they say?

These issues will be dealt with here in future commentaries.