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.