B: Democracy, Subsidiarity & Union-Uniformity

What Does the EU Say It Is? What Is the EU Reality?
EU founding father, Jean Monnet, said: “Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.”

Working together across nations is a virtue that will ultimately lead to good outcomes. The EU’s principal strategy for ensuring peace in Europe has been to unite all its people into one ‘nation’, under one government. They will then understand each other, mix together, share the same benefits and adopt the same values.

The visionaries recognised that the unenlightened populations of the disunited nations might not welcome a homogenised super-state and so a process would need to be established whereby the goal was achieved through scarcely-noticeable but irreversible steps. Clearly this could not be a democratic process but would have to be discreetly guided by ‘wise men’, acting in the ‘enlightened interests’ of the whole over any sectional (e.g. national) preferences.

One of the many self-justifying claims that EU leaders and other supporters make is that the European Parliament (EP) demonstrates that the EU is democratic. In practice the Parliament demonstrates the weakness of this claim. The Parliament appears to exist as an attempt to cover the absence of any real democracy in the EU. In its activities it absorbs and neutralises the inconsequential ramblings of a disdained citizenry.

Representative democracy is a sound ideal, though not one respected or implemented by the EU, which is designed to keep its citizens’ representatives (members of the European Parliament) in their place, which is not to interfere in the governance of the project.

A central tenet of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) is ‘subsidiarity’. This is spelled out in Article 5 of the Treaty, as follows, “Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States”.

Article 10 of the TEU states that the EU “is founded in representative democracy and that decisions must be taken as closely as possible to citizens.” This is known as the ‘principle of subsidiarity’.

Article 13 obliges the EU’s institutions to act within the limits of their competences under the treaties.

The ‘principle of subsidiarity’ is frequently mentioned but it is a pretence. It can beshown that the EU does not believe in subsidiarity in any sense that citizens and voters would recognise as returning any control to their nations. The principle conflicts with the underlying ideology of the EU, which requires authority to be centralised and not subject to the whims of the people. Obviously the Union knows best.

In March 2017 the European Commission (EC) set up a Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and ‘Doing Less More Efficiently’. Its report concluded that there is EU value added in all existing areas of activity and the authors did not identify any Treaty competences or policy areas that should be re-delegated to the Member States. EU competences are relentlessly expanding with every decision of the Commission and every judgement of the ECJ. There is no possibility of reversing course. The EU has ensured that few areas remain in which the EU does not have exclusive competence. Powers to act, once passed up from the member states, are never returned.

The principle of subsidiarity is largely ignored, since the goal of Ever Closer Union is to be achieved by sucking upwards ever more powers. This goal, the main ideology of the EU, requires authority to be centralised; it is steady and subtle in its implementation and takes precedence over other declared principles, which are used to disguise this ideological foundation.

From their summary of the EU (EU in Brief: https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/eu-in-brief_en): “The goals of the European Union” include, “respect [for] its rich cultural and linguistic diversity”. This is (im)pure marketing puff; apart from being silly (it doesn’t mean anything), its purpose is to persuade us to feel good about the EU, nothing more. Respect for diversity is not confirmed in the Union’s practices, which press towards conformity wherever it finds diversity.

The EU Project is not sustainable, given its citizens annoying preference for the mess and muddle of their own democracies, economies and politics over the threat of the imposition of a grey uniformity.

EU mandarins argue that diversity is dangerous and a threat to the success of their mission. Hence all the emphasis on eliminating divergence and reducing historically diverse nations to a stale uniformity.

One EU priority is to give a new “push for European democracy”, which means “nurturing, protecting and strengthening our democracy”. Europeans need a stronger role in the decision-making process and a more active role in setting our priorities.”

The EU remains focused on making its governing institutions more transparent and democratic. Decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen. … European citizens are encouraged to contribute to the democratic life of the Union by giving their views on EU policies during their development or suggest improvements to existing laws and policies.”

Most of the EU’s problems result from its rigid ideology and the need its leaders feel to deceive its citizens about their aim to complete its progress towards governing large swathes of Europe by overriding the democratically-elected governments of its member states.

The EU has a top-down approach to government, its leaders cannot be dismissed by voters and its Parliament has few powers. European parliamentary elections are not a democratic exercise in any true sense. It doesn’t occur to its supporters that there is danger in this echoed contempt of its citizens; the EU denies the electorate true democracy and in return the electorate denies the EU any true legitimacy. National elections matter because national governments can be dismissed, something that is not true for EU government.

The EU’s founders and current leaders hold the citizens of Europe in disdain and their elected, national governments in contempt for being elected, and therefore impermanent. They argue that what is needed is a unified, supra-national entity, or federal government, which has the power to override the decisions of the governments of its member states.

This obsession is based on several assumptions, one is that a self-selected and immovable group of ex-politicians and professional bureaucrats has the ability to achieve what individual nations cannot. The EU is an imposition over which the people have no say. We are not just citizens of the EU, we are subjects of a regime that we cannot change, either alone or in the company of a majority of our fellow citizens. The EU has decided against democracy, mainly because of the continuing fixation on progress towards ruling its member states as a supra-national government.

There is not enough to recommend the EU to its citizens, from which it follows that they must be persuaded to accept it by propaganda, threats or coercion. If EU leaders and supporters were confident that their project would retain members because of its obvious benefits, they could afford to be honest about its aims.

Article 15 of the Lisbon Treaty has this: “Each institution, body, office or agency shall ensure that its proceedings are transparent”.

There is an EU regulation covering public access to “European Parliament, Council and Commission documents”. Point (11): “In principle, all documents of the institutions should be accessible to the public. However, certain public and private interests should be protected by way of exceptions.”

Transparency is also a treaty principle of the EU that is frequently ignored in practice; secrecy overrides transparency when the EU decides that this is necessary. When the EU decides, national authorities need not trouble themselves. We already have a supra-national government—except they are careful to avoid pointing that out explicitly.

The inclusion of “public…interests” gives a clue to the deceit. The EU has no concern, other than in its propaganda, for the public or their interests. The purpose of this regulation is to protect the EU from intrusive interest by the public, and their press representatives, which put at risk the true agenda.

The principle of open access to information is applicable only if the Commission decides that the information is in the “overriding public interest” and not harmful to its own interest. There exists no independent authority that can decide what may damage the EU’s decision-making processes or what may be considered to be in the overriding public interest; all such decisions are made by the Commission itself.

The EU declares that it is an enthusiastic proponent of freedom of information and transparency, because of the benefits these bring to its citizens. If the EU practised what it preaches this and other claims would indeed bring benefits. But the lack of transparency is amply illustrated in its practices. Concerns about transparency in EU administration accounted for nearly a quarter of the EU Ombudsman’s cases in 2018. The Ombudsman found that the Council’s current practices constitute “maladministration. Unfortunately this had zero effect as the Ombudsman’s recommendations carry no legal weight and EU leaders and bureaucrats seem not to care about the credibility gap between theory and practice.

The EU often expounds, for our benefit, its principles and rules. We are expected to believe that the EU adopts practices that are consistent with its own principles and rules, but it doesn’t. Such things are for others to follow and when it feels it is necessary the EU ignores them. Many promises have been made, and quickly broken, about transparency but it seems that such promises are just for show while the practice remains to keep citizens in the dark, in case we spot what is going on and try to resist.

Values: “The EU values are common to the EU countries in a society in which inclusion, tolerance, justice, solidarity and non-discrimination prevail. These values are an integral part of our European way of life.

The title chosen by Ursula von der Leyen for a new vice-president of the European Commission was “Protecting the European way of life”. After protests as this seemed to be about protecting EU borders from migrants, the title was changed to “Promoting the European way of life”.

This is another absurd EU claim. Surely not even EU leaders believe that this is true; it should be true but it isn’t. How many citizens of the diverse nations of Europe would want to cohere with one another? Does it matter what citizens want, if the goal is to deliver what they need?

The issue of democracy highlights the gap between the values that the EU declares it holds and the absence of such values in its practices. It also shows up how the EU contrives to cover the gap with dishonest words, repeating without shame that the Union is a democracy while demonstrating, also without shame, that it is not.

From the Five Presidents Report: “…the convergence process towards more resilient economic structures…should become more binding…. In some areas, this will need to involve further harmonisation”.

Together, we will be determined and focused, building on our values and the strengths of our model. This is the only effective way to…promote the interests of our citizens, businesses and societies, and safeguard our way of life.” “This requires achieving the upward convergence of our economies…”.

Unification has continued to progress. Apparently EU citizens “want a common approach on…all transnational issues which they instinctively sense can only be tackled by working together.” The EU wants us to believe that we have such wishes and instincts, while they get on, undisturbed, with the ‘real’ job of taking unification forward. EU mandarins know best what we want, or at least what we should want.

Without unification the EU has no rationale, but unification implies uniformity, perhaps because that would make ‘Europe’ easier to govern. The EU’s attempt to unify and pacify a fractious Europe can only succeed through suffocating uniformity, and that denies its claim to respect diversity.

European citizens are not consulted on moving forward with unification; we don’t desire more union, so it’s safer not to ask our opinion. The EU needs to continue to demand unity—and to declare that it exists. EU actions, as opposed to their words, show that uniformity across the whole continent is exactly what they want; it is so much more manageable than divergence.

The explanation for the EU’s self-imposed problem is the ideology of uniformity that underlies the superficially attractive term ‘Union’.


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