Wed Jul 18th, 2007 at 09:43:59 AM EST
This is so bizzare yet scary a statement of the Commission's disdain for democracy, coming from so legitimate a source, that it should be more widely disseminated:
I quote from the rather unradical EUobserver:
The new EU reform treaty text was deliberately made unreadable for citizens to avoid calls for referendum, one of the central figures in the treaty drafting process has said.
Speaking at a meeting of the Centre for European Reform in London on Thursday (12 July) former Italian prime minister Giuliano Amato said: "They [EU leaders] decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception".
There is an audio file (mp3) of Amato's speech and he is being very open about it.
Thus, let me get it straight: the European Commission is working hard to disguise policies that were rejected when stated, if not clearly, then in a readable if tortuous way, by making sure that they are written in such a manner that no one (among those who "don't matter") will be able to understand them at all. This removes the necessity of passing it through anything as unreasonably democratic as a referendum, making sure that the populace doesn't presume to second-guess the elites again.
When all is said and done, it seems to me that the European project is being shoved to its grave - or to its transformation into something that is not even trying to keep the appearances of being democratic.
Reasonable people, who care about democratic decision-making, can IMHO only accept two options:
- Either the EU is reconstructed in a democratic and transparent manner which includes the empowerment of the directly representative institutions (such as the EP currently) and the slow disempowerment of the Commission and all sorts of, practically, unaccountable yet powerful institutions (the European Bank is but one instance of this), possibly through the creation of a bicameral legislature;
- or we must weaken the authority of pan-European unelected bodies by restoring power to national parliaments and governments.
The alternative is the establishment of an entrenched and unaccountable technocracy, who will act in the name of the "people of Europe", in a totally democratically illegitimate way - and against which no legal or institutional challenge can be mounted.
The question is: what can we do about it? How can one push a "European" yet democratic agenda against a mechanism that is determined to subvert it by any means possible - and which currently has the upper hand.
A final note: According to the sum total of EU treaties it seems to me (and I might be wrong about this, feel free to correct me), that the preservation (and even more the construction), by any means or policies, of the european welfare state on either a national or a european basis, runs contrary to the spirit and the letter of those treaties. If a European Social Democratic model (and by the sounds of it even a Democratic model) is outside the scope of the European project as is currently carried on - what is the, not insignificant, part of European Societies who support it one way or another to do? How does one begin even to question the current direction the EU is locked in?