Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Europe Needs Democratic Rejuvenation

So writes Viviane Reding in an article which appears in the WSJ (subscription necessary), one in which Open Europe reports:
"In an op-ed in the WSJ, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, writes that 20 years after Maastricht, Europe is in need of “democratic rejuvenation”, and she proposes a five-point plan for 2020. The plan includes convening “a convention to draft a treaty on European political union. Such an agreement should ensure that the European Parliament becomes a true European legislature, with the right to initiate legislation and the exclusive right to elect the Commission… From 2016-19, the treaty on political union would be subject to ratification in all member states by way of referendums. It would enter into force once two-thirds of member states have ratified it. Citizens should be given two alternatives: either to accept the new treaty, or to reject it and remain in a close form of association, notably by continuing to participate in the single market."
So we are to have a referendum after all, although of course not the one we want. 

This move by Reding presents Cameron, were he to still be Prime Minister, with a slight problem right at the outset, namely does he participate in the drafting of a treaty on political union or does he politely request that everyone else takes a long walk of a short pier. Were Cameron still Prime Minister and still heading a coalition government the problem for Cameron becomes even more intricate, especially if Clegg is still leader of the Liberal Democrats. A third piece in this jigsaw can best be summed up with the words: God forbid that Labour were to win the next general election, in particular were MilibandE still leader.

From Open Europe it is also reported that that which Reding is proposing is echoed by Angela Merkel:
"Separately, Handelsblatt reports that at the same event, Merkel said that “step-by-step, European politics is merging with domestic politics”, and called for “comprehensive structural reform” of the EU in the form of closer political integration in order to overcome its “major shortcomings”. Specifically, she said that member states ought to be prepared to cede further powers to the EU, and that the European Commission ought to function more as a European government, with the Council of Ministers operating as a “second chamber” alongside a strengthened European Parliament."
One can only hope that before any such treaty on political union could become effective, we in the UK will have exhausted our stocks of ammunition for AK47s and also be experiencing a problem where the supply of piano wire is concerned!


PeterCharles said...

I don't think the proposals of Merkel and Reding are the same, although they might seem to at first sight. Merkel is, I think, much closer to the original plan which is still firmly on track. Even a minuscule bit of research tells us what that is: after full Union is achieved the Commission, the functionaries therein installed by and from the expertise within the Commission to ensure there can be no outside political contamination, is to remain the sole proposer of legislation, the European Parliament will continue to advise the Commission and the Council of Ministers will either be abolished or become a home for failed or retired domestic politicians to spout their usual drivel without power of any kind.

The whole point, the raison d'etre, of the EU is to install a non-political, technical government, the Commission, free from the imperatives of nationalism and democracy, in order to provide firm, impartial governance.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PC: "Even a minuscule bit of research...." - Ouch!

You may well be right in that which youu write, however the end result of both will be the same - the diminuation of national government and what is left of independence.

TomTom said...

Whatever the EU Centre chooses to do is meaningless unless NATIONAL Governments implement

The EU is about as relevant as the Islamic Caliphate - it cannot rule its empire because it cannot impose its will except through local Administrators.

The EU is a fiction. It is NATIONAL Governments using a "god of the fire-mountain" to control its own people and plead impotence to reflect their wants and needs.

Only Dopey Fools would swallow this trashy excuse for political theory. The feminisation of politics has led to swooning fear of saying no

PeterCharles said...

I wasn't having a go at you, WfW. It just really gets up my nose that seemingly not one single person, other than myself (and outside of a handful of specialist bloggers like Richard North and IPJ) in this country and especially among the MSM and the political class, has ever actually bothered to look at the original proposals, strategies and plans and then compared that to what has happened. It is not just a 'hhmmm, maybe' connection either, it's bleedin' obvious to use the vernacular. There wasn't then and there isn't now anything hidden or secret, it is all in plain sight available to anyone who wants to look.

Therein lies the answer, I suppose, in the old saying; there are none so blind as they who will not see, nor none so deaf as they who will not hear.

PeterCharles said...

The fatal flaw with your argument, TT is that 99% of the European political class are only too willing to be bribed, cajoled or manipulated into ceding power and control to the Commission. They are without doubt dopey fools, I agree, but that doesn't make the EU irrelevant, especially when not even your own government knows (or is prepared to admit) how much of the regulation and law it passes is directed by the Commission other than it lies somewhere between 50% and 80%.

That does not mean that a national political shift could not make the EU largely irrelevant, only that as long as national politicians support it the EU will be the MOST relevant governmental organisation in everyone's life.

Oldrightie said...

As always is the case with EU drivel,
"Europe Needs Democratic Rejuvenation" really means unelected dictatorship in disguise.

We get a whiff of their "rejuvenation" agenda with what is being done to Greece and to a certain extent, Italy. Indeed the Irish are enjoying such "democracy" as well. All quite fine and tidy unless you fall foul of the authorities. So very Nazi like in concept and execution.

TomTom said...

PeterCharles, EU or no EU, the Government of Britain has been out of voter control since the 1970s. Edward Heath was able to ride roughshod over voters and impose some real disastrous policies BEFORE we even joined the EEC.

There is a real problem with the way Government is organised in England especially and it is the result of two World Wars which gave the State draconian powers which the public has never opposed.

It is ridiculous that the British State held more radio frequencies for Military use than the United States despite having a smaller military. So much in this country reflects a public that is congenitally uncommunicative, lazy, ignorant, and peasant-like.

The political parties - and look at the Conservatives, a party of Bankers and Hedgies whose Voters have no idea what is actually going on but feel they have a Harrods carrier bag because they Vote Tory.......and Labour voters simply object to the Harrods carrier bag

PeterCharles said...

I am afraid we disagree somewhat again TT. The government of Britain has never been in voter control. As we have all said in different ways before; voters at elections are asked to vote on the basis of a melange of vague promises and ill-defined proposals, some they intend to honour in full, some they intend only in spirit, some they intend never to implement but they sound good and some are simply placeholders to allow them to claim a mandate for things the voters would never approve of in detail.

The problem with our form of government is that it was never designed to reflect the popular will or promote democracy, it was designed from its earliest beginnings with William the Conqueror to reflect the vested interests of the rich, influential and powerful and still does today.

TomTom said...

The government of Britain has never been in voter control.

I think it was before The Representation of The People Act 1918, and in an era of small majorities it still functioned - the Liberal landslide of 1906, Labour landslide of 1945, and Conservative landslide of 1979, followed by Labour landslide of 1997 breached whatever limits the system placed on Executive Power.

It would not have been so dire without the 1911 Parliament Act which now appears to have been a coup d'etat to give future Commons Majorities untrammelled power.

The System functioned until 20th Century Politics brought WELFARISM to buy Votes, Universal Suffrage to Spend; and removed the Constitutional Limits on Dictatorial Power. The emergence of Mass Media as Propaganda Unit completed the decay.

PeterCharles said...

Again we disagree, TT. Such events demonstrate only the most minimal of voter control, the chance to get rid of a government that is despised by the majority. Elections do not reflect the consensual wishes and priorities of the electorate only those of the political class. I agree that the last quarter century has seen the policy gap between the three main parties shrink to nothing, but make no mistake, even Thatcher's government was fully signed up to the post WW2 social democratic consensus, scaled backed somewhat, I admit, but it was still overall big government, big state, big welfare, heavy regulation. I'll even admit that it can work quite well, in the short term at least, but not in the long term.

The choice we are presented at elections is between known incompetents and unknown incompetents. If we as an electorate are generally content as things stand we will vote for the known incompetents else we vote for the unknown in the hope they will do better. I suspect that almost the entire electorate is like me, they can find some policies they agree with from every party but no party has a complete majority and therefore it is always the least despised party that wins which is not a recipe for the reflection of the consensual wishes and priorities of the electorate, as I said.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

PC& TT: " has ever actually bothered to look at the original proposals, strategies and plans and then compared that to what has happened. It is not just a 'hhmmm, maybe' connection either, it's bleedin' obvious to use the vernacular."

Nothing illustrates that more than the latest Cameron story on women in boardrooms. It is being presented as a Cameron initiative when it is no such thing. See:

I tend to side with PC in this discussion, although having said that TT has a point about national politicians, but I would question whether they have but no option to impose policies dictated by Brussels, so in that respect Brussels is not impotent where rule is concerned.

Forgive me both of you for butting in.....

PeterCharles said...

You can butt in WfW, it is your blog after all.

As to TT and myself, well we are rather like medieval prelates here, arguing about the potential distribution of angels on pin heads. I think we both agree our present form of government is inadequate and has neither competence or representative legitimacy while the dominance of the EU is dependent purely on the failings of our own out of touch political class.