Democracy or Institutional Strengthening?

This post is the second from our set in which we extract evidence from ten EU documents. Overtime Lords was the first. This post focuses on the gap between the EU’s claim to be democratic and the reality of its political agenda. The EU documents cited in this post are:

[E] Special Eurobarometer 451: Future of Europe (December 2016)

[F] The Bratislava Declaration (16 September 2016)

[G] State of the Union 2016 (14 September 2016)

[K] Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (The Five Presidents Report – European Commission. 15 June 2105)

For the full ‘evidence’ paper, you can view it here.

[E]      Survey requested by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Communication and coordinated by the Directorate-General for Communication.Opinion survey-1

This document does not represent the point of view of the European Commission. The interpretations and opinions contained in it are solely those of the authors.”

Although the EU commissioned this opinion survey they don’t want to own the results, so we needn’t dwell on this document.

However, the flavour of the survey can be gauged from one question, which produced the conclusion that “Most Europeans agree that the EU project offers a future perspective for Europe’s youth

Sampling-1The claim that “most Europeans agree” is based on a projection from national samples of about 1,000 from each of the member states, which is not Europeans more widely. Eurobarometer doesn’t say how the samples were selected but in other contexts organisations that are in favour of the Union are asked to put up samples. This is the oft-repeated sleight of hand used by the EU as a feature of its propaganda, and its ambition.

Future perspectiveWho could explain what “a future perspective” means? However, despite the absurdity of the question, some 39% of those asked disagreed with the claim. (In the Conclusion, 60% agreement becomes “a large majority”.)

Two other “interpretations and opinions” are worth picking out, while we remain mindful that the document does not represent the point of view of the European Commission. (How could it? It’s a survey of the population.)

Opinion survey-2Fewer than 15% of those surveyed agree that the introduction of the euro in all EU countries would be “most helpful for the future of Europe”. And fewer still agree that a common army would be helpful. Both are priorities for the EU so will go ahead despite this lack of enthusiasm on the part of its citizens.

[F]       In the aftermath of the wars and deep divisions on our continent, the EU secured peace, democracy and enabled our countries to prosper.”

This they have to keep repeating until we all submit. Peace was not evident in the Balkans, democracy is debarred in the EU, and not all of “our countries” are prospering.

[G]      “What our citizens need much more is that someone governs.”

Because in our incomplete Union, there is no European leadership that can substitute national leadership.”Upside down

But all EU citizens are governed – by the national governments they elect and are allowed to dismiss periodically.

[K]       Three main sections of the Five Presidents Report are titled: Towards Economic Union, Towards Financial Union and Towards Fiscal Union. The fourth, which might fairly be titled Towards Political Union, is in fact titled Democratic Accountability, Legitimacy and Institutional Strengthening. We’ve already noted the fudge involved in defining ‘convergence’ as progress towards both prosperity and the supra-national state and in the choice of this fourth section title the fudge become outright deceit.

Political union-1We can fairly take “Institutional Strengthening” to mean political union. This is too sensitive to make explicit and the authors (the Presidents) want us to believe something else, that the juxtaposition of institutional strengthening with democratic accountability and legitimacy carries a causal connotation: institutional strengthening will lead to democratic accountability and legitimacy. Or, to put it more bluntly but even less plausibly, the proposed political union is democratic and therefore legitimate.

This implausibility is what the EU wants to hide; they want us (both member states and citizens) to believe that the EU is truly democratic and that the Union can deliver prosperity (while in fact they have done away with democracy and prosperity too for many young people plus some whole nations).

Political union-2To the EU mandarins “greater democratic accountability, legitimacy and institutional strengthening… means and requires more dialogue, greater mutual trust and a stronger capacity to act collectively.”

This section on political union (sorry – on “Democratic Accountability, Legitimacy and Institutional Strengthening”) is, perhaps not surprisingly, thin on democracy, on accountability, on legitimacy and on political union itself. There is reference to strengthening parliamentary oversight but this is not explained, unless it means only what are called “Economic dialogues”, which is elaborated somewhat. For example, “the European Commission could engage with the European Parliament at a plenary debateCommission and Council representatives could participate in inter-parliamentary meetings in particular in the context of the European Parliamentary Week.”

In sum ‘democracy’ as used in the EU seems to amount to talking among themselves. Citizens need not reply.

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