The European Union drew up treaties to describe what they wish to do and to establish, in legal terms, how they intend to do it. The ambition is to set up a federal government for as much of Europe as possible.
Over time the EU has developed a complex and detailed set of rules that have extended ever greater control over our lives, these will not just vanish when we complete Brexit on 31st December 2020 because much will be transposed into UK law—the exact extent is still being ‘negotiated’. Thus we will “take back control” by inheriting the rule book with some pages torn out (and doubtless replaced by more of our own). It matters therefore to have some grasp of what the voluminous volumes of the Treaties say. We have read them so that you don’t have to.
We present our summaries with comments, which amount in total to nearly 50 pages, a fraction of the 421 pages of the Treaties themselves but still an epic read. We suggest that you try Treaties-0 (this Introduction) and EU Treaties-10 (Overview & Conclusion) first and then dip into any of the others to check details, as required.
Moses (or rather God) defined his rules in a single ‘page’ and most of us can quote a number of them. US citizens can generally manage to spout some of their Constitution, though admittedly they are force fed during their school years. Very few can quote anything from the EU’s proto-constitution though they have probably heard the phrase “ever closer union” which underpins everything else.
There are many examples of ‘Thou shall’ and ‘Thou shall not’ in the collected works of the EU’s law-makers but also many instances of ‘take account of’ (and others) that provide scope for creative interpretation by judges, frequently furthering the immutable, irreversible law of Ever Closer Union.
We have divided our analysis into ten sections (like God/Moses only longer) and this, the first section, is an overview which we hope will guide readers to the parts that may be interesting or useful to them; see after the Conclusion for the list.
The EU has drawn together all the relevant bits and pieces that have emerged over the years to define its legal authority into a single document. Because the few citizens given a choice rejected the idea of a Constitution, a long-winded fudge, called “Consolidated Versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union” had to be arranged with an appropriately complex title and even more convoluted content. It may be messy but it contains some striking elements that define the ambition, though not always the practice, of the Union today.
We have picked out some of these jewels from the Consolidated document containing the treaties “together with the annexes and protocols thereto“. As you will see this proto-constitution won’t win a beauty contest in comparison with the USA’s.
Much that the treaties contain is designed to persuade us that the project is benign and to cover the stealthy deceit by which it is being pursued, in the absence of popular approval. For information:
This publication contains the consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union (‘TEU’) and of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’), together with the annexes and protocols thereto, as they result from the amendments introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed on 13 December 2007 in Lisbon and which entered into force on 1 December 2009.
(The original TEU was known as the “Maastricht Treaty’, which was published in 1992. See Treaties-4)
CONSOLIDATED VERSION OF THE TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION (TEU)
DRAWING INSPIRATION from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law
If we pause for just a moment to think, we will acknowledge that ‘Europe’ has never had a set of universal values, but this is disguised by the claim that these values were developed from a ‘European inheritance’. The ambiguity is deliberate and designed to persuade, which it will do only if we don’t think carefully.
Whilst most of Europe has a Christian inheritance it was divided centuries ago, leading to numerous wars. There were differing values, rights and laws plus invasions, occupations and dictatorships. There has since been a significant influx of other cultures and religions too, different in each nation.
The EU aims to apply a uniform solution to a diversity of economies and cultures. There is danger in the ‘one size fits all’ nature of attempting a union across such a diversity of cultures; problems spread more quickly than effective solutions. (See, for example, Economy, Common Currency & Eurozone)
(The interjections in red in this series of posts (Treaties-0 to Treaties-10 inclusive) are from our posts where these issues have been discussed previously.)
CONFIRMING their attachment to the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and of the rule of law
Again the language, “confirming”, is chosen to give the impression that such principles have existed in the environment and have been selected by the Union as the foundation for the project. Both impressions are false. The treaties and EU practices raise legitimate doubts about the EU’s attachment to such principles.
Congo, North Korea and East Germany all ‘confirmed’ their attachment to virtuous words like ‘democratic’, which they aren’t (or weren’t). Today we see the EU agonising over the behaviour of certain members to the east who draw their inspiration from their singular inheritance. However, sanctions might risk losing members, which would be the worst possible outcome for the project’s main goal.
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 just marketing puff; 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.
EU mandarins feel 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 – so much easier to manage from the centre.
DESIRING to enhance further the democratic and efficient functioning of the institutions so as to enable them better to carry out, within a single institutional framework, the tasks entrusted to them
The EU “institutions” existed prior to the treaties, the true purpose of which is to establish the legal basis for doing as they please, under the veil of “the tasks entrusted to them”. By such vague and convoluted language the Treaties become a europhile lawyers’ paradise, and exclude most citizens from reading them.
The EU is proposing to hold a discussion on the future of the Union or, as they call it, a “Conference on the Future of Europe” (taking the continent’s name in vain again).
For two reasons the “diversity of Europe” won’t be reflected through the conference. First, the conference will be restricted to (a few) citizens of the EU, and second the whole purpose of ‘ever closer union’ is to reduce diversity, which is a trouble for the project. (See We Need to Talk About EU)
CONSOLIDATED VERSION OF
THE TREATY ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (TFEU)
RESOLVED to ensure the economic and social progress of their States by common action to eliminate the barriers which divide Europe
The list of those who ‘resolved’ does not include a representative from the UK, although the list at the top of the TEU includes the Queen, as Head of State, presumably under the direction of the government of the day.
Although conceived with noble intention, to make inter-state war impossible following the two world wars of the twentieth century, it was decided that the only way to achieve the goal would be to subjugate national governments to the dictates of a higher authority. Since there is no way for democratic regimes to be overruled by an unelected higher authority, democracy has to be foregone and the supra-national regime has to be selected, not elected.
AFFIRMING as the essential objective of their efforts the constant improvements of the living and working conditions of their peoples
The rate of improvement for several decades has been rather modest, probably because the EU gets more and more encrusted with growth-destroying regulation.
Labour regulations can stifle economies and favour those lucky enough to have jobs (for now, though they may stifle their firms and destroy them in bad times, like today’s). Relatively high unemployment and lack of opportunity for the young is often argued to be the result of inflexible employment laws.
RECOGNISING that the removal of existing obstacles calls for concerted action in order to guarantee steady expansion, balanced trade and fair competition
What obstacles did they have in mind and what have they achieved? They have not achieved this and cannot “guarantee” that they will.
ANXIOUS to strengthen the unity of their economies and to ensure their harmonious development by reducing the differences existing between the various regions and the backwardness of the less favoured regions
Should we understand that people support the EU (and Britain remaining as a member) because they read (or have heard about) this puff, and fail to ask if and how any of it is realised in practice? For example, what “concerted action” has been taken and with what effect? What evidence shows how the “essential objective” has been (or is being) achieved? “RECOGNISING…” and “ANXIOUS…” are soft targets. The ideology is evident in the fourth of these: “strengthen the unity…”, “ensure their harmonious development” and “reducing the differences” give the game away.
Where is this harmony? Less-favoured regions (such as Southern Italy) remain unfavoured; favoured regions, including Germany, have done well.
Three characteristics of the EU can be noted: its central ambition (the ideology underpinning the project); the determined efforts of its leading figures to dissemble and lie to hide this central ambition; and the deep conviction which permeates everything it does that the peoples of Europe and their elected governments are of no account, though they may be a nuisance.
When you have supra-national governance you cannot have important decisions being made at a lower level—certainly not at the level of the people.
DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe
This is the crucial ambition, correctly described by ‘determined’ (see, among many other posts, Ever Closer Union).
“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.” (attributed to Jean Monnet)
This, from the pre-ramble gives a good idea of where we are going and how long it will take to get there. Following this one we have a set of posts that dissect some of the articles in the Treaties and examine how the authors use language to disguise the true agenda and to consolidate power with the unelected Commission.
List of related posts
The following list gives the titles (with hyperlinks) and a brief description of each of the posts related to the Treaties. See Treaties: Examined in detail (under Treaties & Themes in the margin) for links to each post.
Treaties-1. Background & Membership: Who or what are the persons and institutions of the EU and what authority do they have? (For example: the European Commission, the European Council, the Council, the European Parliament.) How are they chosen? How do they decide things – unanimity or majority? How clearly is all this defined in the Treaties?
Treaties-2. Values & Democracy: The EU practices top-down government. They give us big talk on democracy and citizens’ fundamental rights, repeatedly stated but not practised. The goal is convergence – economic, political and regulatory. Mutual assistance between member states has proved hard to achieve.
Treaties-3. Uniformity, Promises & Achievements: Ever closer union requires harmonised laws and common law enforcement, among other requirements for uniformity. The language is firm, if not always precise (e.g. “account shall be taken”). Many laws are imposed on Member States while lightly disguised as beneficent recommendations.
Treaties-4. Law, Agreements & CJEU: In this post we look at some of the more legalistic treaty articles, including: the role of the CJEU, procedure for revising the Treaties, leaving the Union, Union competences, shared competencies, passing control upwards, the subjugation of the European Parliament.
Treaties-5. Foreign Policy & Defence: This post selects from the Treaties and focuses on articles concerning foreign relations and security, proposals for a defence policy. We question the EU’s ability “to promote peace”. Defence is to be integrated into the EU’s foreign and security policy but member states will be obliged to implement it.
Treaties-6. Citizens & Subsidiarity: Ever closer union is the goal; the advantage for citizens is the pretext; subsidiarity one of the principles promoted to achieve the advantage. The preamble to the TEU sums up neatly what we are expected to believe. Articles on the principle of subsidiarity are diluted with weasel words, for example, “as closely as possible to the citizens of the Union”.
Treaties-7. Economics & EMU: Ever closer union requires economic and monetary union (EMU) which in turn requires the merging of economies. Features of the eurozone include: monetary union, a single market and customs union, common agriculture and fisheries, free movement of capital, fair competition and prudent economic practices in all member economies. A key to achieving all this is a central bank that conditions the decisions of national banks.
Treaties-8. Terminology: Some terms used by the EU are unique to them or may be confusing or mysterious for other reasons. Here we offer a few examples, with our explanatory notes: ‘may’ and ‘shall’, ‘taking into account’, ‘legislative procedures’, ‘approximation’ of laws, ‘consensus’.
Treaties-9. Miscellaneous: While there is much more that could be said about the remaining Articles, Protocols and Annexes, we pic out just some more general bits; much detail is missed out but nothing that alters what we have written so far—you can always read the original text to bridge the gaps.
Treaties-10. Summary & Conclusions: The Treaties establish in legal terms what the EU wishes to achieve. This, briefly, is to set up and run a federal government for Europe, taking control to the centre from the member states of the Union.