Timely Judgement

In an interesting opinion piece for the EUobserver (https://euobserver.com/opinion/143013 ) Franklin Dehousse, a former judge at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), compares the present track of the EU to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

Franklin DehousseThe “Empire had fallen because it was corrupt. … The rule of law was circumvented, or frankly ignored. All took care of their personal interest, and neglected utterly the general one. …Those Romans wouldn’t feel disoriented in the present European Union”.

He cites as examples weakening of the rule of law in Hungary and Poland [1], the deaths of journalists in Malta and Slovakia, the rise of discrimination in various member states, the dubious appointment of Martin Selmayr as General Secretary of the European Commission and the failure of both the European Parliament and the ECJ to uphold the regulated right of public access to administrative documents.*

On Poland and Hungary Dehousse says, “It is difficult to explain why it took two legislatures (and many billions of euros paid by the taxpayers) to discover that there were evident violations. …It is also difficult to justify why Poland was immediately criticised while Hungary was long left in peace – apart from the fact that Fidesz was a member of the dominant party, and PIS was not.”

We haven’t covered this issue of partisanship within the EU’s ‘democratic structure’ but perhaps it echoes similar conditions elsewhere; certainly it’s familiar within many nation states.

Martin Selmayr’s appointment as the European Commission’s secretary general reveals the same hypocrisy (and the same dominant party’s support). …The European Parliament meekly concluded there was a problem but did not impose anything. …Nothing illustrates better than all this the moral degeneration of the commission’s presidency, and generally the institutions” We have covered this event already. [2], [3]

Charter of Fundamental RightsPublic access to administrative documents is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights but is often ignored in practice.

Recently, the parliament refused access to documents concerning the expenses paid to its membersan EU Court approved the parliament’s refusal to communicate other expenses documents. … In theory, transparency exists; in fact, this fundamental right is less equal than others and becomes inapplicable.”

Again, we covered this in more detail. [4] In his comment Dehousse is even more severely critical than we were:

In a recent overlooked change, the Court of Justice also modified its ethical rules to forbid its members to discuss publicly all administrative matters dealt by the institution, though they have absolutely nothing to do with judicial proceedings. …This unprecedented provision is the best protection one could imagine for bad administration.”

Nothing infuriates more the public than the feeling that rules are bent to protect the interests of the European institution’s members (or top bureaucrats). This provokes fury and disinterest in equal parts.”

We suppose he means lack of interest rather than “disinterest”, and we would challenge “equal parts” on the grounds that neither can be readily measured; nevertheless we agree that the visible ‘progress’ into deeper corruption is draining credibility from the EU and its institutions.

Corruption-1

Of course while Dehousse, as an insider, wishes to discourage the EU from going astray, as outsiders we wish it would go away. We’ll leave him with the last word:

Such ‘fatal disunities’ were at the core of the Roman Empire’s fall. If we want to prevent the repetition of the past, it is high time that the institutions’ members begin to do correctly their job.”

[1]       Collapse: Europe After the European Union

[2]       Revealing Appointment

[3]       Revealing Appointment -2

[4]       Expensives

*Dehousse doesn’t include, as we would, the EU’s feeble responses to Russian aggression (Georgia, Ukraine, Salisbury, and others), perhaps because of Germany’s national rather than ‘community’ interest (e.g. Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline). Also the bullying of Greece and now Italy mainly serve the narrow interests of the Bundesbank and Commission ideology.

 

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