Saturday, January 19, 2008

Europe in the vice

The structure of the European Union is such that power will ebb inexorably away from national governments and flow to Brussels. European Union laws supersede national laws and can be enacted to some degree free of control by national legislatures. This bodes ill for Europe.

Any hope that there are strong constituencies within the European Union willing to safeguard democratic control of government cannot but be dashed when there is such evident contempt for voters in European political circles as evidenced by the manner in which they are attempting to implement the defunct E.U. Constitution.

First, the structure of the E.U. that facilitates centralization:

[L]aws in the EU are made by the Council of Ministers, i.e. the committee of 27 ministers for whichever subject is being voted on, EU integration means that governments receive wide-ranging law-making powers.

This is, of course, incompatible with the principle of the separation of powers. According to that principle, the executive power (the government) should be separate from, and accountable to, the legislature (the national parliament) and of course the judiciary. Dictatorship is precisely the form of government in which the executive is not so constrained, and this is also the case in the EU.

Because the EU represents a dramatic and constant transfer of legislative power from national legislatures to national executives (sitting in the Council of Ministers), it can also be dubbed “a permanent coup d’├ętat”. . . . The fact that the Council of Ministers, the EU’s legislature, meets and votes in secret only makes the fundamentally anti-democratic character of the European construction even clearer.[1]

The structure of the European Union thus favors a dangerous transfer of power to a Council of Ministers meeting and voting in secret.

The conduct of the E.U.'s proponents, as opposed to its structure, shows similar contempt for democratic governance. Witness the underhanded way in which the previously rejected-by-voters E.U. constitution is being foisted back on the people of Britain and Europe by merely breaking apart the same constitution and attaching those parts to existing treaties. This is being done by a process of amendment, which amendments deliberately use impenetrable hypertechnical language and require the interested observer to plough back through the extant treaties to understand how a disembodied amending provision relates back.

Then there's always the aboveboard contempt for European voters. From Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former president of France:

The rejection of the constitution [by the voters in referendums] was a mistake which will have to be corrected [by more sagacious people].[2]


"Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly [...] All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way.[3]

This drift toward a powerful and unconstrained executive in the European Union is deathly serious. It is the opposite approach taken by our founding document, which should be as useful a guide to Europeans as it is -- or might be -- to us.

Alas, European political leaders now flirt with centralization of power in a manner demonstrating that the preeminent political lesson of the twentieth century was not learned. They thus risk laying the foundation for an oppressive superstate. How far this process will go before Europe slides back into black fascism or red fascism is no small question.

Tragically, at the same time, these political leaders remain blind to – or cowed by -- the totalitarian menace growing in their midst, but which has its roots not in the twentieth but in the seventh century.

Europe is now effectively caught between the arms of a vice.

[1] "Why Europe’s National Politicians Sign Away National Sovereignty." By John Laughland, The Brussels Journal, 12/19/07 (emphasis added).
[2] "The Betrayal of Freedom in Europe: Back in the EUSSR." The Brussels Journal, 12/19/07.
[3] Id. (Emphasis added.)

posted by Col. B. Bunny at 12/19/2007

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