What Goes On in the Minds of Eurocrats

Posted By Anders On January 9, 2008 @ 00:56 In English, Euromed | 2 Comments

"Popular votes on the EU Reform treaty would be lost in France, the UK and other countries, which would endanger (our) Europe!" (French President [1] Sarkozy on Nov. 14, 2007)

EurActive, Jan. 8, 2008, Interview with  [2] Maria Joao Rodrigues, who is Special Advisor to the Portuguese Prime Minister José Socrates for the European Union Presidency:

This is not a Eurocentric approach. We really are committed to improving world order ([3] illuminism). This is the main message of this declaration, and it is just the start. We will have a very broad and long process for the years to come.

But the guidelines (adopted according to the “Reform-Treaty”) won't be legally binding, will they? 
They are legally binding. They are guidelines adopted by qualified majority vote, and so member states should comply with them. 
Is there a step in the direction of a system of more economic governance?
Yes, I think that step by step, we are reaching a consensus for that. That is why the Commission proposed in the Lisbon package improvements to the governance of the euro zone next year.
Concerning the possibility for national parliaments to become more implicated in EU decision-making – isn't there a risk that the decision-making process will be much slower?
But of course the risk is there. That's why we had very fine tuning of the mechanisms to make sure that national parliaments can use an orange card but not a red card.

..to shape globalisation. ..I think the declaration (Reform treaty) conveys this approach exactly. It was a long discussion, because we have had a large debate about this in Europe over the last few years (but undemocratically behind  closed doors). I think that step by step, we are starting to renew the internal policies of the European Union in order to respond to globalisation. Everybody knows that it was not possible to completely update the part of the treaty which deals with policies. But let me tell you that we can go further by enhancing the coordination mechanisms!

 The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will be supported by a European diplomatic service.
When we go to a summit on the other side of the table, we see one single, central actor. On the European side, we have too many actors. This is a demonstration of weakness. We need a central actor with the capacity to represent the European Union in international relationships and be able to coordinate the external action of the Union. This is crucial if we want to shape globalisation.

[4] So far, the identity of the European Union has predominantly been defined politically. According to the Treaties, the EU is founded "on the [5] principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law"[5] . In accordance with the principle "unity in diversity", it shall promote the diversity of its cultures, while "bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore".
[6]
1. On March 25, 2007, the Berlin Declaration, marking the EU’s 50th anniversary underlined its “common ideals”: the individual, human dignity and equality of men and women. Other values stressed by the declaration are peace and freedom, democracy and the rule of law, as well as tolerance and solidarity. However, the celebratory text did not include any reference to God or the EU's Christian roots  … Some politicians and observers argue that the EU needs a stronger identity to be viable. Fundamental disagreements were brought to light during the work on the EU Constitutional Treaty (agreed upon in December 2004) that sparked heated debates about a reference to 'God' or 'Christianity' in the Preamble, which now refers to the 'religious inheritance' of Europe not a word is found on Christianity or God!!  and all European heads of state have signed this mess, which today broadly includes Islam!!

Representatives of the Catholic Church
have been some of the most prominent actors in the debates on European identity. In an address to the members of the European People’s party on 30 March 2006 Pope Benedict XVI said that Europe needed to value its Christian roots and strengthen its awareness of belonging to a common civilization.
According to the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), explicit references to God or Christianity “would have been a strong signal supporting the identity of Europe”. Universal rights and values, such as democracy and the rule of law, have developed from the Christian inheritance of Europe. 
In the same vein, the European People’s Party (EPP)  believes that Europe has managed to preserve a shared cultural heritage. The sense of belonging together can only be based on common cultural values and convictions. On this basis, it is high time to define EU borders.

 2. As regards the accession of new members, any “European state” can apply for membership, while “Europe” and its borders are left undefined ([5] Article 49, TEUPdf external).  In addition, it must have stable and democratic institutions, a functioning market economy and adequate administrative structures ('Copenhagen criteria) .
People feel more attached to their country (92 %), region (88 %), city (87 %) than to Europe (67 %). Low voter turnout at the European Parliament elections in 2004 (54 %) seems to be an indicator hereof. 

3. Communitarians believe that a polity can only be stable if anchored in a common history and culture. They emphasise that European identity has emerged from common movements in religion and philosophy, politics, science and the arts. Therefore, they tend to exclude Turkey from the ranks of possible future member states and argue a stronger awareness of the Christian tradition. To them it is high time to define EU borders.

Main problems: Opponents argue that this view is a form of “Euro-nationalism” that leads to exclusionary policies within European societies (as regards non-European immigrants) and the polarisation of global politics, with the “clash of civilisations” prophesied by the scholar Samuel P. Huntington as its worst possible outcome.

4. Europe of citizens or "constitutional patriotism" 
Liberals and republicans, on the other hand, argue for a common political culture, or civic identity, based on universal principles of democracy, human rights, the rule of law etc. expressed in the framework of a common public sphere and political participation (or “constitutional patriotism”, a term coined by the German scholar Jürgen Habermas). For them, European identity will emerge from common political and civic practices, [7] civil society organisations and strong EU institutions.

Main problems:  Democracy and human rights, according to critics, are not universal values, but spring themselves from specific cultural traditions. Problems related to cultural differences are ignored, rather than dealt with. Furthermore, solidarity and emotional bonds in societies can only result from cultural feelings of belonging together, never from purely abstract principles.

[8]

 The liberal ALDE Group in the European Parliament promotes the idea of the EU as political community, “based not on religion or faith, but on mutual respect for common democratic and fundamental values.” The EU membership prospect of Turkey and the fact that there are millions of Muslims already living in the EU should push forward this process, not least to avoid a ‘clash of civilisations’. 

5. Europe as space of encounters
Constructivists believe that a “European identity” could emerge as a consequence of intensified civic, political and cultural exchanges and cooperation. As identities undergo constant change, “European identity” would be encompassing multiple meanings and identifications and would be constantly redefined through relationships with others.  It would be wrong and impossible to fix EU borders.
 
Main problems:
This view, according to critics, overemphasises the ability of people to adapt to a world in flux und underestimates their need for stability. Too much diversity can eventually lead to the loss of identity, orientation and coherence, and therefore undermine democracy and established communities.

6. Preconditions for the emergence of a European identity:
politics: the strengthening of democratic participation at all levels and more democracy at EU level
education and culture: strengthening of the European dimension in certain subjects (especially history), more focus on language learning, more exchanges etc. 
social and economic cohesion: counteracting social and economic differences

7. In spring 2002 a EU Reflection Group, including prominent scholars and politicians (see [9] EurActiv, 1 March 2005), concluded that Europe and its values could not be “firmly defined and delimited”. Its borders were necessarily open. Therefore, “the question of European identity will be answered in part by immigration laws, and in part by the negotiated accession terms of new members”.

To me it seems that the supporters of items 4, 6 and 7 - and in particular of item 5-  have the upper hand, unfortunately. But the worst part of it is that they transform their own theoretic theses into action without having to get the accept of the European peoples. They may discuss their teories with bribed NGOs  - called  [7] civil society– and then the eurocrats postulate, there has been a “democratic process.” These well-paid officials do not have to be responsible to an electorate. They are dictators. And our elected MEPs  can say: “We are not to blame. Our influence (so far) is minimal.” This is what USSR dissident [10] Vladimir Bukowsky called the EUSSR .
But maybe the eurocrats are actually achieving their goal - with an opposite sign: They are creating real European solidarity and recollection of the roots of our common culture - as always when people are forced to fight a common enemy. And this enemy is the EU and its [3] illuminist eurocrats working for the one-world state.
And fight we must. As it appears from items 5 and 7 above the EU will simply crush our identity  - an neither define our identity nor our borders.
The EU is a journey into chaos  - and we are not allowed to get off the train! For the EU has abolished democracy.

 

 


Article printed from Euro-med: http://euro-med.dk

URL to article: http://euro-med.dk/?p=267

URLs in this post:
[1] Sarkozy: http://euro-med.dk/?p=47
[2] Maria Joao Rodrigues: http://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/
[3] illuminism: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A6-2007-0356&language=EN
&mode=XML

[4] So far,: http://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/european-values-identity/article-154441
[5] principles: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/en/treaties/dat/12002M/pdf/12002M_EN.pdf
[6]
1. On March 25, 2007, the Berlin Declaration, marking the EU’s 50th anniversary underlined its “common ideals”: the individual, human dignity and equality of men and women. Other values stressed by the declaration are peace and freedom, democracy and the rule of law, as well as tolerance and solidarity. However, the celebratory text did not include any reference to God or the EU's Christian roots  … Some politicians and observers argue that the EU needs a stronger identity to be viable. Fundamental disagreements were brought to light during the work on the EU Constitutional Treaty (agreed upon in December 2004) that sparked heated debates about a reference to 'God' or 'Christianity' in the Preamble: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/en/treaties/dat/12002E/pdf/12002E_EN.pdf
[7] civil society: http://euro-med.dk/?p=9
[8] Image: http://euro-med.dk/billeder/fog-rasmussenfez-klaedte-muslimer.jpg
[9] EurActiv, 1 March 2005: http://www.euractiv.com/en/opinion/search-europe-cultural-spiritual-values/article-136125
[10] Vladimir Bukowsky: http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/865