23 November, 2011

Budget 11: FAIR and SUPERVISED Economic Governance applies to everyone EXCEPT the EU, says the Commission.

The European Commission's new proposed Regulation 2011/0386 for monitoring draft budgetary plans of Member States applies to everyone in the Euro area but not the European Union. For the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament OPAQUE rules apply.


"Strong public finances are best ensured at the planning stage and gross errors should be identified as early as possible,' the Commission's proposed Regulation tells Member States. What of the EU's own budget? That is secret. The Budget meetings of the Commission with the Parliament are secret. And of course the meetings with the Council are secret. The 'gross errors' as far as the public are concerned are also SECRET. The European Council is extremely secret. The Eurogroup -- an unofficial body -- is hyper-secret.

No journalist was allowed to enter the room of the Parliament as the Commission divulged its proposals for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2013-2020. Why? If the public could, it would point out at this early stage the 'gross errors' in the taxation system that it proposed. Not least is the undemocratic procedure attempting to tax European citizens without proper representation and openness. The Commission wants to change wholesale the method of raising the EU budget? Fine. BUT let it discuss the matter openly. Saying Yes and abstaining from a No to a fait accompli is NOT democracy.

The Commission has the sauce to write in the proposed Regulation Article 5 that 'Member States shall submit annually to the Commission and the Eurogroup a draft budgetary plan .. no later than 15 October. The draft budgetary plan should be made public at the same time.'

It continues: 'Where the Commission identifies particularly serious non-compliance with the budgetary policy obligations laid down in the Stability and Growth Pact, it shall, within two weeks .. request a revised draft budgetary plan from the Member State concerned.' And then it adds sauce to sauce by saying: 'This request will be made public.'

What about the public getting the first view of the European budget as the same time as the ultra-secretive Eurogroup? What about the public asking the Commission to redo the European Budget, conceived secretly in mischief against all principles of equity and democracy? If they do not come to their senses one fine day the European Court of Justice will give them a serious knock on the head: Taxation without proper consultation is illegal.

What right has the Commission to consider any type of taxation without a treaty justification and the full consent of the public? What is clear is that the whole Lisbon/ Constitutional Treaty operation got the resounding No of several countries until Member State politicians STOPPED allowing referendums.

'Members States should benefit not just from the setting of guiding principles and budgetary targets but also from a synchronised monitoring of their budgetary policies,' the Commission tells the Member States. Yet no one is allowed a synchronised look at the EU budget proposals BEFORE it has been politically massaged, manipulated and polished for public relations.

Above all, the Commission wants to stop the public having an opportunity to object and criticise the Commission's 'gross errors'. What if the Member States and taxpayers began to tell the Commission No Taxation without full Representation? They are presently already objecting that the Lisbon Treaty lacks any sort of democratic legitimacy. That is why popular support for the European institutions has sunk to the lowest ebb.

No citizens' groups are marching up and down the streets demanding more taxes. There is no legitimacy for raising new taxes that lack any discussion in the appropriate institutions, for example a fully elected Consultative Committee representing organised civil society.

In the proposed Regulation, the Commission tells Member States that there is 'strong evidence showing the effectiveness of rules-based fiscal frameworks in supporting sound and sustainable fiscal policies.' Fine. Why doesn't the Commission begin to respect the rules and in particular the rule of LAW? Why did it not insist that when it presented the 7-year budget plans it was AT FIRST presented to the public? What motivated the Commission to present it secretly ELSEWHERE? Why did the Commission -- a body composed entirely of political party cardholders -- desire above all to present its plans to its political cronies to get their comments (which where not divulged to the public or the press?) Making the Commission 'political' rather than independent of political parties is contrary to the letter and spirit of the treaties and common sense.

If the European Union has totally undemocratic budgetary methods how does the Commission expect the member State governments to respect the Commission? They will laugh in their face ( in the privacy of the next secret meeting of Member States and the Commission on the European Budget). They will say, 'Come off it comrade, or old pal,' as the case may be. 'You know perfectly well how we shut out the public on the Conciliation Committee on the Budget'. This so-called Conciliation Committee is actually the most important debate on the budget. It combines in a single discussion the political parties in Parliament, the politicians in the Commission and the politicians in the Council of Ministers -- all 27 member States -- have their representative there, sometimes the minister or prime minister. Why should the fireworks show be private?

The Commission will be told: 'We are all politicians together and mainly from the three big parties. Just a wink and a nod is all we need. That is how we always did it in the past.'

When the Commission tries to explain that the markets are making mincemeat out of the euro and its constituent crooked parts, they will have little credibility.

When the Commission quotes the Regulation saying, 'this gradually strengthened surveilance will further complement the existing provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact and strengthen the surveillance of the budgetary discipline in Member States' the other politicians will raise their own question or two.

For example today, we had the spectacle of two Commissioners preaching austerity, self-discipline and this firm economic governance (as they now call it). A few minutes later in the same Commission press room, at the same podium, we had another Commissioner announcing that the Commission was about to increase one programme by a whopping 70 per cent and another by 37 per cent. Wow! Some people thought the Commission was preaching budget restraint!

The European Commission needs to increase its credibility and at a faster rate than 70 per cent per annum.

How should it go about it?

1 It should insist that all its budgetary meetings are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND THE PRESS.

2. The Commission should STOP having secret, closed-door, meetings with the Parliament on the Budget.

3. It should INSIST that all other budget meetings including those with the Council and the European Council are OPEN.

4. If the Council refuses, the Commission should take the Council and the European Council to the European Court of Justice and ask for an interpretation of Article 15 of the Lisbon Treaty -- the politicians' treaty.

This states 15 para 1 The Union institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible.

(para 2) The European Parliament shall meet in public, AS SHALL THE COUNCIL, when considering and voting on a draft legislative act.

The act of primary importance for the Community is the raising and the spending of money from the taxpayer. The Commission must ask the Court: does this mean that taxation by the institutions must be open and that there can be no taxation and spending of a budget without open discussion and consultation?

The right way to deal with budget is to use the FIVE democratic institutions.

The Commission needs to put its own house in order before its starts preaching at the other states, however ruinous their national budgets are and how crooked their politicians.

15 November, 2011

Budget 10: The EU Cartel's dirty Trillion-Euro Game of Hide-and-Seek with Taxpayer's money

Did you read about the passionate debate about the 2012 Budget? Did you hear about the how Parliament minutely and forensically interrogated the Commission about taxpayer's money? Did you see how the Commissioner cowered as MEPs tore into the illogicality of its proposals? Did you cheer on seeing the riveting television when Parliamentarians shredded the arguments of Council of Ministers, declaring that they could not raise a cent of YOUR tax money without proper OPEN, DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATION?

Are you now fully aware about HOW and WHY the EU leaders take European tax from your pocket and HOW MUCH it spends on your behalf and WHERE? Did you see how 27 democratic States of Europe vigorously debated their common budget in the European Union?


The MAIN Debate on the 2012 Budget was IN SECRET! AGAIN!! The doors of the room 5G3 in the Spinelli Building of the Brussels Parliament were closed on 8 November 2011. I asked for admittance showing my press credentials. I also said that I was a journalist. I was asked whether I was part of the Council delegation. I said: No. I was then asked, if I was part of the Commission delegation. I said: No. I was asked if I was with the Parliament. I said: No.

I re-affirmed that I was a journalist and wanted to report about the raising of European taxes and the spending of taxpayers' money. I said it was a matter of the highest public interest. The Guardians of the Door who had a list of those who their bosses wanted to be admitted, refused to let me enter.

The European Union is now deep in the mire of a financial and monetary crisis. Both the finances and the money lack democratic legitimacy. At the heart of these problems is the illicit take-over of what are supposed to be independent institutions by a clique of politicians. Thus an oligarchic clique in Council dictates what 500 million citizens should do and how much they should pay. They also tell them what is good for them, whether they agree or not.

Consider. Who is in charge of the independent institutions?

When asked,
  • The Parliament says the meetings on raising and spending taxes should be open.
  • The European Commission says such meetings should be open.
  • The Consultative Committees don't reply but they have open meetings.
  • The Treaties say that all meetings from the initial consideration of tax and all stages about tax legislation should be open.
  • Taxpayers demand that all meetings about taxation should be open, fair and just.
  • The Council refuses to have open meetings.
There is a simple remedy in all the treaties from the founding treaty of 1951 to the Lisbon Treaty. ASK THE COURT TO DECIDE WHO IS RIGHT. Any national, regional Court or local tribunal where a civil association or even any individual is in dispute over European tax can have its judge ask the European Court for a judgment on the legality of the Council's 'secret taxation' system.

The European finances and the money system are controlled undemocratically by a coalition of the three major parties. Let us call it the Cartel. There is no real democratic Government and certainly no Opposition. The institutional independence required in the treaties is being systematically suspended by the Coup Leaders. The Cartel overrides the institutions.
  • The European Commission, which is supposed to be composed of totally independent personalities, is now EXCLUSIVELY composed of card-carrying members of the political parties. They are chosen in secret. No real European is allowed to put his or her name forward. No Call for Candidates is allowed to be published for the posts that are paid for by taxpayers. All 27 States act in undemocratic unison.
  • The Council of Ministers, which is supposed to represent national interests in a continuous open debate is now composed of a clique of party politicians who refuse to have proper discussions in the national parliaments or allow referendums. It is very far from its original role of initiating debate in the States with all the citizens that they supposedly represent. It is now a clique designed to stifle and stop debate at home.
  • The European Parliament, which is supposed to hold the Commission to task, having the power to fire the Commission for incompetence or dereliction of duty, has become the Chorus for the Commission, now the Cartel secretariat, and other stronghold of the cartel, the Council. When it agreed to the Lisbon Treaty -- without even publishing the full text -- the Parliament gave up its PRIME POWER. The Lisbon Treaty made it impossible for the Parliament to sack the Commission. The Parliament, needless to say, has NEVER had an election according to the specifications of the treaties: direct elections according to a single statute for all Member States, not 27 statutes which favour the Cartel and eliminate other voices of citizens.
  • The Consultative Committees, a vital debating and legislating chamber of organized civil society has NEVER been elected on a European basis. Schuman and Reuter (who was responsible for drafting the early treaties) declared the efforts of governments to prevent these elections ILLEGAL.
Who stopped the application of supranational democracy of the treaties? Who blocked a single statute for Parliamentary elections (when the Parliament had the courage to propose it)? Who stopped the Consultative Committees having elections for European organised societies?

The politicians in the Council of Ministers and now the European Council and its unofficial super-Eurogroup.

Why are the doors closed on Budget and Tax discussions? Who shut the doors?

A year ago I wrote to the President of the European Parliament about the closed doors of the Budget meeting of October 2010. I got no reply so I asked the Ombudsman to help.

On 1 June 2011, Mr Buzek replied:
As you know, the European Parliament's policy is one of full openness and transparency in such meetings. Our own plenary sessions are public, as well as, in principle, committee meetings (exceptions to this rule are rare and must be duly motivated). Equally, the Treaty of Lisbon established the principle that Council should deliberate in public on legislative matters.

In the light of these factors, a discussion is currently on-going within the European Parliament concerning the status of conciliation meetings. However, I must draw your attention to the fact that any decision concerning public access to conciliation meetings requires an agreement of all the institutions involved, which has not been reached yet. As you will understand, it is not possible for the Parliament to impose unilaterally an 'open door' policy for such meetings. We will continue to work to find a satisfactory solution...

Comment: The fact that the doors are closed must have the agreement of all those 'democrats' who are attending and are responsible to the public. The public demand open meetings, especially on taking tax and spending tax. Do the 'democrats' lack the courage of their convictions? Who has priority -- their electors or the politician-Cartelmasters in Council? Schuman and the Founding Fathers said the doors of European institutions including the Councils should be open so that the public can control what goes on. The Parliament has had SIXTY years from its foundational session on 10 September 1952 when it first met to resolve this problem of openness. How much more time does it require? Secondly the treaties provide a simple solution. The Court of Justice is empowered to decide on the interpretation of the Treaties -- in particular whether all matters of taxation should follow the same rules on open debates about taxation as all the democracies that make up the EU. The Parliament is empowered to initiate the case.

What happens at budget meetings when the Council is not present? They SHUT THE DOORS TOO. This happened at the meeting of the Parliament leaders and the Commission on the one Trillion euro multi-annual Budget for 2013-2020. It was held in Parliament on 29 June 2011, on the sixth floor of the Spaak Building. Paul-Henri Spaak, the first president of the European Parliament would have shot up bolt upright in his grave!

The supposedly democratic institutions want one TRILLION from Taxpayers -- but they were not going to tell them why, how they would go about it or whether there was any collusion between two institutions to do a dirty deal against the citizen!

Is the Council to blame for the secret Tax and Budget meeting when it is absent? Why was the meeting of the Commission and Parliament closed to the public? It is time for the so-called Democrats to clean up their act. It is the unseen hand of the Council that shuts the door -- and pulls the strings.

On 4 July 2011, I therefore wrote again to President Buzek.
Schuman Project

Dear President Buzek,
Thank you for your reply of 1 June 2011 to my letter of November 2010 concerning the exclusion of the press and the public from the Budget Conciliation Meetings in October and later on. (Ombudsman case 661/2011/RT) You mention that the Parliament's policy 'is one of full openness and transparency in such meetings' as the Budget. I am pleased to see your re-affirmation of Parliament's responsibility towards the public -- which is written into the treaties. The idea of a Parliament holding secret sessions is a contradiction of its purpose. Any exceptions must be reasoned with irrefutable logic, be properly motivated and democratically agreed and underpinned by law and jurisprudence. There should be no hint of political expediency. The principle must be that the public is also the partner of any democratic institution.

Because of past corruption, financial misappropriations and abuse of Wine Lakes, Meat Mountains and infrastructure funding scandals, the Lisbon Treaty spelt out clearly, as you say, the 'principle that the Council should deliberate in public on legislative matters.'

However I am at a loss as to why Parliament sees any question about the necessary public presence at the conciliation meetings. Nor do I understand why public access must stop when the Council acts contrary to what Parliament is convinced is the Treaty law for Europe. Public access and democratic debate is the paramount principle, not the whims and fancies of Council. Surely Parliament is an independent institution according to the law of the treaties and has been since the first session of the assembly on 10 September 1952 -- nearly 60 years ago.

You write that 'The status of the discussion in Council is a matter for which the Council, not the Parliament, is responsible'. Surely the reverse applies equally. The Council must respect the laws of the Treaties and rules of Parliament. If as you say the Parliament is convinced of the legality of its case, it should not hesitate an instant to defend the rights of the public, especially when a meeting takes place inside a building of Parliament, where you, Mr President, and the Members are legally sovereign.

Public access to meetings considering the collection and use of the citizens’ own money should not be in dispute anywhere. It should certainly not be a matter where Council bullies Parliament or any other body. If there is any doubt about the right of the public and the press to attend a meeting about their own money inside the independent European Parliament, there is a simple remedy in all the Treaties since 1951. The Parliament can ask the Court of Justice for an opinion on the interpretation of the treaties and validity of acts under article 267 TFEU and elsewhere. Any tribunal throughout the entire EU can do the same.
I would like to know why this has not been done.

The second question relates to Budget meetings where the Council did not play any part. On 29 June 2011, I was also excluded from the Budget meeting of the Parliament and the Commission. Why? The Parliament was considering the Commission's proposals for the Trillion euro multi-annual financial framework. It is huge money from the public's pocket. All political parties were represented at the meeting and their reaction was of primary public interest and concern. Article 15 of Lisbon Treaty TFEU states that all matters concerning the consideration of budget and legislation should be open to the public. I spoke to a member of Mr Barroso's Cabinet who was also present inside the meeting but he was unable to explain to me the reason for the press exclusion from the point of view of the Commission. On his recommendation I am therefore writing to you for an explanation.

In this case, blame for the exclusion cannot be sloughed off on the Council. The Commission says it is the Parliament’s responsibility.

The treaties and the jurisprudence state clearly that openness and consultation are required for legislation. The secrecy, the hidden political reactions and the refusal to consult the public throw in doubt the legality of previous 'legislation' because it is based on unjustly excluding the public presence and refusing proper consultation of the public and taxpayers in particular. Money cannot legally be taken from a taxpayer's pocket in a manner where the taxpayer is excluded from understanding how an exclusive group who will benefit highly from his money are proposing to seize it, what their first proposals are and the reactions among them. This is especially important when it comes to European matters involving vast sums, massive planning, specifics of revenue collection and taxation and principles of budgetary operations. It is all the more illegitimate when exclusion is decided by a coalition of people all holding party membership cards. They all have similar ideological motives. Party membership represents only about 2 percent of the population. The vast majority of electors refused to vote for any of the parties in the elections. The trend of party support is also continually downwards. It is this small but strong and persistent cartel of party members who refused press and public access in the Council and the Parliament. This is unjust.

Non-party political Civil Society and Organized Civil Society has now been excluded from the institutions where they used to be active in the Commission and in the Consultative Committees (which have legal rights about legislation). Tax and budget decisions are now exclusively made by party politicians contrary to the letter and spirit of the treaties. The Commission is also exclusively occupied by politically active national politicians whereas the original treaties say they should be independent, not maintain their occupation, paid or not, nor take instructions from any organisation or government. The result is that legislation lacks democratic legitimacy.

I am therefore asking you to also reply to the following:
1. The EP should make access for the public and the press permanently available via a physical presence inside the committee room and also for others via the internet and radio and television links.
2. It should ask the Court of Justice to review the legality of the previous acts where the budget discussions were held in secret, contrary to public interest and the Lisbon Treaty and other treaties. Public consultation, debate and democratic openness are legal requirements. The longer it is before this review is made, the more serious the outcome could be. A local or national court or tribunal in the EU will eventually ask according to article 267 for a European Court judgement, opinion or ruling determining the legitimacy of all such alleged legislation including the budgets under the Lisbon Treaty. The most chaotic outcome should be avoided.
3. The EP should, where possible, hold these same Budget meetings again in public so that they can be considered legal and so the public can be aware of the issues and discussions involved in the Budget and expenditures. The public needs to have an opportunity to object to any secret deals among party members and communicate their own opinions to their representatives. After all it is the public’s money that is being discussed. It is not the private funds of the political parties.
4. The Commission, Council and Parliament should review and propose how organized civil society in a properly elected Economic and Social Committee and other such consultative committees with a legal mandate can contribute to the budget proposals. The Founding Fathers intended and the treaties allow that the Consultative Committees should be elected among all registered European associations – as is presently the case in the Council of Europe. Direct elections for the European Parliament under a single mandate were also foreseen and legitimized in the treaties of Paris, 1951 and Rome, 1957 but this took decades to be even partially realized.

Mr President, I look forward to receiving your reply.

Many thanks for your help.

Yours etc,
Not having received a reply in the subsequent months, I have now written again asking for a reply.