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Europe: democracy or subsidiarity?
Submitted by admin on 18 August, 2008 - 07:47
Why is the only country which refused the Lisbon Treaty also the only country in which the citizens were allowed to cast their votes? Is it a surprise? An exception? Or just the repetition of May-June, 2005?
In an article published in IHN in April 2007, I recalled the difference between Europe as a continent and the European Union, a recent political superstructure. I pointed out that the argument that since the EU does exist it cannot be ignored, would mean to defend monarchy in France in 1789 as if it was to be everlasting.
What makes one think that the EU may be short lived? Mainly the hope that citizens will re-establish democracy!
French Free Thinkers know the EU perfectly well. They know that it is not based on the peoples’ sovereignty, but rather on the principle of subsidiarity. This principle, designed and used mainly by the Roman Catholic Church, provides that the upper structures decide on guidelines whereas intermediate structures are sovereign in the implementation. It is the exact opposite of democracy where citizens are supposed to choose the direction, make political decisions and where the people elected in office are in charge of implementing the decisions.
The EU officials’ comments (and the major media) on the occasion of the Irish vote of June 12, have proved one more time: to ask citizens’ votes is a constraint and an abnormality; one should avoid such a vote, as long as it is possible. When one cannot avoid a vote, the peoples are requested to approve the leaders’ decisions under the threat of “blocking the process”.
That is reminiscent of what noted German writer Bertolt Brecht said: "The government is very angry with the people; the government will elect another people". This is a good definition of the principle of subsidiarity, the basis of the EU.
In spite of the NO vote of the French and the Dutch in 2005, the Lisbon Treaty took up again all the content of the Constitutional Treaty of 2005 (Giscard d'Estaing, the "father" of this Treaty explicitly recognised it), particularly former Article 52, which became Article 16 C, which institutionalises the role of churches in the decisive structures of the EU. If the Lisbon Treaty was to be actually implemented, it would mean the end of the French Law of Separation of Churches and the State of 1905, as the Treaty is legally superior to it. From this point of view, the fact that the preamble does not mention ‘God’ is meaningless, in spite of the current Pope’s outrage.
Today, the French, the Dutch and also the Irish peoples have strongly rejected this treaty. This raises the problem of the democratic legitimacy of the EU.
But if the Irish, following the French and the Dutch have paved the way through the polling stations, in their demonstrations, the fishermen, the lorry drivers, etc. clearly point at the origin of their serious concerns: the EU policy.
Maybe it is paradoxical to see in every country, the European Heads of States decide to transfer their nations’ sovereignty to the EU, to vote on the EU social regression plans and then argue that it is a “European constraint". Such a transmission of power to non-elected (the European Bank in Frankfurt, European Commission, any kind of experts groups) is just a way to circumvent the peoples’ will.
Clearly, the actual power in the EU, “sovereignty”, does not belong to the peoples. In fact, the EU is a political structure stemming from the treaties of Rome and the European Community, the stages of a long term agreement between the (mainly US) financial markets and the Vatican, which has supplied staff and methods, notably the famous principle of subsidiarity. By the way, the direct commitment of the US government in the creation and development of what became the EU has just been publicly recalled by Janez Jansa, the Prime Minister of Slovenia, President of the EU (until the end of June, 2008) and by Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, on June 10, 2008 on the occasion of George W. Bush’s visit to Ljubljana.
- J. Jansa: "Sixty years ago, thanks to the Marshal Plan, the USA brought hope to a devastated Europe".
- J. M. Barroso: "Europe with twenty seven countries was made possible thanks to its founding fathers, but also thanks to the support of the USA".
Why did the financial markets build this structure called “Europe of Regions”, with the help of the Vatican and all the interested mercenaries? Simply because in a number of countries such as France the social and democratic gains are established on a national basis, which is directly called into question by the “Europe of Regions”.
French Free Thinkers are determined to maintain their democratic and social rights. With the Ligue de l'Enseignement, Union Rationaliste and CAEDEL, all Member Organisations of IHEU, they have launched an appeal to a rally on September 14 in Paris in defence of secularism in Europe and to oppose public funding of the Pope’s visit to France, which would be a violation of the principle of separation of Churches and the State adopted in 1905. This appeal is endorsed by many organisations in Europe and in other continents.
It will be our tribute to the French Presidency of the European Union, from which we expect nothing, besides an escalation of social regression which we have already begun to oppose.
We are not obliged to be subjected to the EU policy whose life will undoubtedly be shorter than the French monarchy.
We must remain independent from this political superstructure which is already historically doomed.
It is time for initiative and action in defence of the separation of the Churches and the State.
Roger Lepeix is a member of the French Freethinkers Federation and Treasurer of IHEU.