Democratic deficit in the EU

rikgheysens@hotmail.com

We need more European cooperation, not a EU authoritarian regime!

Some striking statements

28 March 2015, Szu Ping Chan in "www.telegraph.co.uk" Eurozone can't survive in current form, says PIMCO. "The eurozone is "untenable" in its current form and cannot survive unless countries are prepared to cede sovereignty and become a "United States of Europe", the manager of the world's biggest bond fund has warned. The Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) said that while the bloc was likely to stay together in the medium term, with Greece remaining in the eurozone, the single currency could not survive if countries did not move closer together. Persistently weak growth in the eurozone had led to voter unrest and the rise of populist parties such as Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece, and Front National in France, said PIMCO managing directors Andrew Bosomworth and Mike Amey."

1 January 2015, Jakob Augstein in "www.spiegel.de": Spardiktat: Wofür müssen die Griechen leiden? "In der Euro-Krise hat die Demokratie in Europa einen autoritären Charakter angenommen." [In the euro crisis democracy in Europe has adopted an authoritarian character.]

27 November 2014, George Soros: The European Union is a "Failed" Experiment In "International Governance".

  • "We have to recognise that the [European] Union itself, which is a noble, well-intended experiment in international governance, has failed, and has not delivered what it promised, and there is such a degree of disappointment that even Russia can offer an alternative." (3.21 into the interview)
  • "It is also high time for the European Union to take a critical look at itself... The bureaucracy of the EU no longer has a monopoly of power and it has little to be proud of."
  • In response to Western sanctions, Russia imposed a ban on food imports in August from countries backing the sanctions resulting in lower food prices in Europe as produce floods the market yet demand has dropped from a major importer in the East. This ban would never have been applied if the West did not overthrow the government in Kiev, and then further antagonise Moscow by implementing sanctions on the country. The loss of trade due to lower food exports is set to cost the EU an estimated $6.6 billion a year, yet the social blowback from the agricultural sector in an already sensitive and potentially volatile continent could be unquantifiable.
  • Unemployment and contempt towards the political class has soared across the European continent since the financial crisis of 2008, and this could trigger a revolution in Europe in the coming years.

Construction of the European Union

The number of Eurocrats

On 24 August 2013, Henryk M. Broders in Die Welt: EU becomes Sovjet Union with human face.

  • The regulatory madness of the Eurocrats does not serve to improve the quality of life, and only holds an apparatus in motion, which has evolved to a State over the States: 28 European Commissioners, 754 deputies and nearly 50,000 officials and employees.
  • The power lies with the Commission, which acts as legislative and executive, a first in the history of "democratic" institutions. They should monitor and control each other. 28 European Commissioners, whose portfolios are not clearly defined, which overlap in part and disagree in part.
  • The EU Parliament has largely a decorative function, it mainly adopts resolutions. [More detailed information further on]
  • ECB, having a 1,500 strong workforce, will add 800 employees in 2014 to fulfil its new role as supervisor of the eurozone's 6,000 banks. (ECB needs 800 more staff to supervise eurozone banks)

The lobby machinery of the European Union

  • 15 April 2015: www.transparency.org: Lobbying in Europe: Hidden Influence, Privileged Access
    • "The nexus between business and politics is growing ever stronger, creating serious conflicts and interest, and with it, the risk of regulatory and policy capture. Of particular concern is the practice of carrying out lobbying activities while holding offince, as well as the post-employment "revolving door" between the public and the private sector. Disproportionate and hidden political finance also plays a notable role.
    • The vast majority of European countries have no comprehensive regulation of lobbying and no system in place to systematically record contacts between lobbyists and policy-makers. Europe lags behind Canada and the United States in this regard. Of the 19 countries examined, only 7 have laws or regulations specifically regulating lobbying activities
    • Only one country - Slovenia - and the European Commission, manage a score exceeding 50 per cent. However, they too are faced with a range of problems including gaps in regulatory coverage, loopholes and poor implementation of rules.
    • No less concerning is the performance of the Council of the EU, one of te most powerful institutions in Europe, which is third from last with a score of just 19 per cent (and sitting at a polar opposite from the European Commission in terms of the ranking)."
  • 21 November 2014: www.burgercomite-eu.nl: New video: The corporate lobby tour "The issue [lobbying] is especially problematic in Brussels because a lack of expertise within the European institutions often leaves them looking for input from outside. And that input is often provided by lobbyists. Policy making in Brussels is very complex and not a topic too many people get excited about. But this lack of public interest and awareness leaves lobbyists free to go about their dubious business with little scrutiny. And so it is that big business interests capture the politic agenda ensuring that European laws time and time again serve the interests of large corporations above those of the people of Europe."
  • 30 September 2014: www.lobbyfacts.eu: Hard facts on Europe's biggest lobbyists revealed for the first time "LobbyFacts data shows that the top 10 companies spending on EU lobby activities are: Philip Morris International, ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical, Microsoft, Shell Companies, Siemens, GDF SUEZ, General Electric Company, Huawei Technologies, Bayer, and Telekom Austria Group. They have a combined lobby expenditure of over €39 million per year.

    LobbyFacts data also shows that the biggest EU lobby consultancies according to turnover are Fleishman-Hillard, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton International Belgium, APCO Worldwide, FTI Consulting Belgium, G Plus Ltd, Kreab Gavin Anderson, FIPRA International Limited, Afore Consulting, and cabinet DN consulting sprl. They have a combined lobby turnover of over €60 million per year."

  • An estimated 15-20,000 lobbyists attempt to win lawmakers to their client's point of view! This means that there are more than 20 lobbyists for each MEP!
  • May 2014: welvaartvooriedereen.nl Zogenaamde democratie. De ijzeren wet van de oligarchie "The European Commission has all power in Europe. But behind the scenes, the business, the ECB and the IMF are pulling on the strings, writes Ad Broere. [Geld komt uit het niets. De financiële goocheltrucs ontmaskerd, 2012] There are more than 15,000 lobbyists in Brussels. In so-called expert groups, they join to write the European laws. Multinationals join to write the patent laws. Bank lobbyists influence legislation that should regulate their industry. It's like the fox who can build himself the alarm system in the henhouse and install it."
  • April 2014: The Financial Lobby: The Fire Power of the Financial Lobby. A survey of the Size of the Financial Lobby at the EU level The conclusion of the report is: "With more than 700 entities, more than 120 million Euros annual spending and at least 1700 lobbyists at their disposal, the financial lobby is clearly a powerful voice. It is no wonder that over the years, these groups have largely been able to set the agenda for reforms of financial regulation in the European Union. This only becomes cleares when contrasted with the far smaller number of lobbyists for groups that tend to take a different position than the banks and the investment funds.

    We believe this is a serious problem for democracy, not only in that money buys influence, but that the financial industry that has caused so much havoc is able to shape legislation designed to reform the sector. This situation is an extremely risky one for society at large, if it is allowed to continue.

    In the short term, decision-makers need to wake up to these facts and take strong measures to curb financial industry lobbying influence. First steps for a more sustainable political environment for financial regulation in the EU incluce:

    • reducing banking lobbyists in advisory groups to a minimum;
    • reducing lobbying meetings with Commission officials;
    • rules on revolving doors;
    • and a code of conduct on lobbying ethics and full transparency about contact with banking lobbies.
    But transparency alone will not be enough on the road to a more equitable, democratic, and sustainable system of financial regulation at the EU level. Decision-makers also need to recognise that, particularly in the wake of the crisis, the field of financial regulation is of key interest to a far broader public audience. Politicians will have to address the dominance of the financial lobby that we examine in this report."
  • More

The salaries of Eurocrats

All 55 000 European Union officials will receive for the last six months of the year 2015 in the Christmas break period a 2.4 per cent pay rise. Over the course of 2016, salaries will be boosted by a further 2.4%. (Christmas comes early for Brussels bureaucrats 23 December 2015; Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, 24 December 2015)

  • A Commissioner earns €20,667.20 per month (amount since 1 July 2010). Moreover, she or he receives a residence fee of 15% of the salary, (i.e. €3,100 per month) and a monthly representation fee of €607.71.
  • A Vice-President of the European Commission has monthly a salary of €22,963.55. Moreover she or he receives a residence fee of 15% (i.e. €3,444 per month), and a representation fee of €911.38 per month. In August 2014, the Vice-Presidents are: Catherine Ashton, Joaquín Almunia, Siim Kallas, Neelie Kroes and Maroš Šefčovič.
  • The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (in August 2014 Catherine Ashton) has a monthly salary of about €24,000.
  • The European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, has a monthly salary of €25,351.76. The residence fee amounts to €3,802 per month and the representation fee amounts to €1,418 per month. However, from 2016 on, Jean-Claude Juncker will be paid a yearly bruto salary of €320,851.93. (Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, 24 December 2015)

    Important: These are gross income. The salaries are still liable to taxation. There are 14 different tax rates, from 8% to 45%. (30 November 2013: In "Vacature" De lonen bij de Europese Commissie)

    25 August 2014 "euobserver.com" Around half a million euros for four months work. That's the salary to be collected by each of the four interim commissioners; Luxembourg's Martine Reicherts, Poland's Jacek Dominik, Italy's Ferdinando Nelli Feroci and Finland's Jyrki Katainen, who replaced the four commissioners elected as MEPs in May's European election, reports Spiegel.

  • Member of the European Parliament (MEP) (Source: De Standaard, 27 June 2013 'Staes wil vergoedingen EU-parlementsleden herzien'):
    • The monthly pre-tax salary of MEPs under the single statute is, in 2011, € 7,956.87. The salary is from Parliament's budget and is subject to an EU tax and accident insurance contribution, after which the salary is € 6,200.72. (Source)
    • Payment for expenses (without presentation of proofs): €4,342 per month (the so-called General Expenditure Allowance (GEA)).
    • Remuneration of personnel: maximum € 21,000.
    • Traveling expenses: Expenses have to be proved.
    • Allowance per working day: € 300. They receive it only after having signed a register.
    • 17 April 2015: "euobserver.com" MEPs to raise monthly allowances "An MEP already receives an allowance of €21,379 a month for expenses like assistants' salaries, supplies, and studies. It is now set to increase by an extra €1,500 per month bringing the annual allowance total to €275,000 per MEP or around €1 billion over the EP's five-year term."
  • Public servant 14/1 (University level, contract of three years): Gross income amounts to 3,550.90 euro per month. With a local allowance and two children to support, the net salary amounts to 4,675.43 euro. More than 4,000 European Union civil servants earn more than German Chancellor Angela Merkel's €16,275 monthly salary, it was reported on Sunday. (Report: EU civil servants make more than Merkel) According to Corperate Europe Observatory, a large share of the MEPs have second jobs. Many of them have the type of jobs that can create conflicts of interest. A study concludes that one out of seven MEPs has a second job. That has a very high risk of conflict of interest. (Flemish Television)
  • ECB President Mario Draghi was paid €378,240 in 2013. (Source)
  • The President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy is paid €375,000. (De Tijd, 15 April 2014)

3 December 2014: "euobserver.com" Van Rompuy to receive €500,000 "Herman van Rompuy, who left his job as EU council president Monday, is to receive some €500,000 before tax over the next three years as part of a transitional allowance, reports the Independent. He will also receive an annual €65,700 retirement settlement once the three year transitional period is up."

13 October 2014: "euobserver.com" Moreover, MEPs earn millions on the side "According to a searchable database launched Monday (13 October) by Transparency International, over half of MEPs have listed outside activities in their declarations of financial interests. Jointly they earn between €5.8 and €18.3 million a year on top of their MEP salaries, TI has found."

EU intelligence agencies: ALARMING LACK OF OPERATIONAL TRANSPARENCY AND DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY

  • 7 February 2014: "De Tijd", Europa's 'geheime' geheime dienst and "De Tijd", 'We tappen geen telefoons af, we leggen geen fiches aan van individu's'

    The EU Intelligence Analysis Centre is now established in the new EEAS-building at the Schumanplein. The Lisbon treaty created the function of European Foreign Minister, with an own European political service: the European External Action Service (EEAS)

  • 7 February 2014: Kristof Clerix in "Nieuwe Feiten, Radio 1, Belgium", Wie houdt toezicht op Europese inlichtingendienst? and litteral reproduction (Dutch)
    • IntCen employs some 70 people: a thirty spies and more than thirty officials and diplomats. They put together the reports of the state security services of the 28 Member States. On that basis, they do an analysis and try to understand better what is happening in the world. They produce about 500 reports per year.
    • The Sitroom ( Situation Room ): It is a monitoring center that keeps an eye on the media and on the social networks worldwide. It is a kind of crisis center where people look for attacks and incidents round the clock. With this information IntCen goes to work and brings all possible information about incidents together.
    • Today only five MEPs get partial access to the reports of IntCen, only via oral briefing. They may not have access the documents themselves.
    • The former chief of the Finnish state security service, Ilkka Salmi, is the head of the intelligence service IntCen.

    Earlier publications:

  • Chris Jones, Analysis. Secrecy reigns at the EU's Intelligence Analysis Centre, first published in Statewatch journal volume 22 no 4, January 2013
  • 8 May 2013 deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de Die Spione Brüssels: EU baut eigenen Geheimdienst auf

    The EU-Intelligence Community consists of six intelligence units:

    • Europol
    • Frontex
    • the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen)
    • the Satellite Centre
    • the Intelligence Directorate
    • the Situation Room (Sitroom)

    Other information:

    • These units belong to the European External Action Service (EEAS). The head of the EEAS is Catherine Ashton.
    • Cost of the six units: 230 million euros a year
    • Number of people working in the six units: 1,300.
    • There is no democratic control of the Parliament over the IntCen, Satellite Centre, Intelligence Directorate and the Situation Room.
    • The exact budget needed for these units is not given.
    • An initiative of the Parliament for a better parliamentary control was rejected.

    So, transparency is considered among intelligence agencies as a mortal sin. Insofar this institution fits well into the bureaucratic scheme in Brussels.

  • 1 October 2013 deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de, EU-Geheimdienst kann Steuerpflichtige und Euro-Gegner verfolgen
    • IntCen is considered as the core of intelligence units.
    • Annually, approximately 200 strategic assessments and 50 special reports and briefings drafted by the EU INTCEN.
    • IntCen should ensure that the integration of the EU runs smoothly and is likely in the coming years to have a central role in scrutinizing tax evaders. Example, the G-20 countries have recently decided that the States exchange their tax data worldwide. The system shows its true face.
  • Now, it seems that the IntCen is not working on tax evaders: "We do not tap telephone lines, we do not make records on persons." ('We tappen geen telefoons af, we leggen geen fiches aan van individu's') But the lack on transparency and democratic accountability remains!

The cost of new buildings in Europe

  • New headquarters of ECB in Frankfurt: 1.2 billion euros. The European Central Bank said its new Frankfurt headquarters, the 185-meter twin-towered skyscraper, will now cost as much as 1.2 billion euros. This is 41 percent more than the initial price (was 850 million euros). The higher cost is due to higher prices for construction materials and "a number of unforeseen challenges." The central bank's relocation to the new premises remains scheduled for 2014. (Source: ECB Says Cost of New Franfurt Skyscraper Soars by 41%)

    18 March 2015 Protests at opening of ECB's Frankfurt headquarters The price of the building has soared to 1.3 billion euros. It was officially inaugurated by ECB President Mario Draghi at 11:00 am. "The organizers behind the demonstration, Blockupy, accused the ECB of "hindering" the Greek government."

  • New headquarters of the Council of the European Union in Brussels, officially named 'Europa', also known as "Van Rompuy's egg", will cost 327 million euro. This is a 87 million euro more than was estimated in 2004, due to the higher prices for construction materials. It is a modernist cube, containing a womb-shaped structure at its core. Inside there is to be a "humane gathering place" decorated with the rainbow colours of a "diversity carpet" – on both the floor and ceiling. There will be meeting rooms and areas where visiting dignitaries can "be served in ceremonial lounges". The European Union summits take place four times a year. (Source; Official site) The British Prime Minister David Cameron said that it is too expensive. One of Mr Cameron's Conservative party colleagues went even further and slammed what he described as "The extravagance and the cost of this Aladdin's Palace. It's a cross between a bonfire of conceit and Kafka's castle." (Source) Now, the Council announced that the opening is scheduled for "late in the first half of 2015". (Kosten-Explosion: 350 Millionen Euro für EU-Palast in Brüssel De Tijd, 1 April 2014: Herman Van Rompuy zal nooit gasten ontvangen op nieuwe werkplek [Herman Van Rompuy will never receive guests at the new workplace] "The cost was estimated at 234 million euros ten years ago. That budget was respected until now. Due to the index of construction costs, the effective total bill at the end of 2012 has already reached 327 million euros."
  • The House of European History: 100 million euros (staffing cost included). Location: in the Eastman building in the Parc Léopold. But who wants this museum? (Official site) According to the Brussels news site Bruzz, the project cost almost 56 million euros. The renovation of the building cost 31 million euros and the permanent exhibition cost 21 million euros, of which six million euros for "multilingualism". In addition, for the expansion of the collection, the EU had to pay 3.75 euros. Opening: 6 May 2017.
  • Parlementarium (The European Parliament's Visitors' Centre): 20 million euros: Celebrates the European Parliament and the MEPs.
  • New building for the European Parliament: 125 million euros. The need to expand is due to growing numbers of staff, over 6,200 civil servants and 1,525 parliamentary assistants for MEPs, who receive an increased annual allowance of £220,000 each every year to pay for personal staff. (...) Trebel is scheduled to be finished in the first half of 2016 to accommodate officials working for the EU assembly after MEPs have over the last two years awarded themselves more cash for parliamentary assistants. (European Parliament's £103m office with 'geothermal wells'). The Bureau of the European Parliament has announced that the new European Parliament building currently under construction in Brussels (Trebel site, Rue Belliard) will be named the Wilfried Martens building. (Source)

Follow the Telegraph correspondent Bruno Waterfeld (video) visiting the four mentioned buildings in Brussels.

The cost of promotional material. Eurobarometer as instrument of propaganda

  • October 2015: "www.www.mpifg.de" How the Eurobarometer Blurs the Line between Research and Propaganda "This paper reviews Eurobarometer surveys from 1995 to 2010 and shows how Eurobarometer selects and frames questions in ways that systematically produce "integrationist" outcomes. The violations of the rules of good public opinion research concern incomprehensible, hypothetical, and knowledge-inadequate questions, unbalanced response options, insinuation and leading questions, context effects, and the strategic removal of questions that led to critical responses in previous Eurobarometer waves. It is highly unlikely that the violations happen unintentionally. Eurobarometer therefore blurs the line between research and propaganda."
  • 11 August 2015: "www.telegraph.co.uk" EU 'spends £500m a year promoting itself "The EU is spending more than £500 million a year promoting itself amid growing concern that it could have an "insidious" impact on the result of Britain's referendum. (...) The spending includes more than 100 publications, over 1,000 videos as well as cartoons, colouring books and other educational materials intended to promote EU values to children. (...) However, the figure is likely to be Conservative as many promotional activities are included in larger budgets and not detailed separately. (...) The Directorate-General for Communication, the EU department which is directly charged with promoting and explaining its policies, has a budget of nearly £200 million and employs over 1,000 staff."

Decision making in the EU

  • European Council, comprising the heads of state or government of the EU member states. Herman Van Rompuy is the first full-time president of the European Council. It settles the priorities.

Institutions needed to the concrete implementation of a law:

  • The European Commission: Has the power of legislative initiative. Laws are made by the European Commission. The real power to make the body of law rests with unelected people.
  • The European Parliament: approves laws and the budget. It is a given legislation. The Parliament also has the power to censure the Commission if they have a two-thirds majority which will force the resignation of the entire Commission from office. From 2014 on, the MEPs will have to vote in the next president of the European Commission. MEPs cannot vote on matters such as foreign policy, taxes, poverty policy.

    14 May 2014 Laurent Hanseeuw and Brieuc Van Damme in "www.tijd.be" Het democratisch 'tekort' van Europa kan worden verholpen. [The democratic 'deficit' in Europa could be remedied.] The basic course of Europe is not or only to a small extent determined by the Parliament.

    May 2014 "www.openeurope.org.uk": Stephen Booth, Christopher Howarth, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: A failed experiment in pan-European democracy?, May 2014.

  • The Council of the European Union, better known as Council of Ministers. Council meetings are attended by the competent ministers responsible for the subject to be discussed. They also have to approve laws.

    14 May 2014 Laurent Hanseeuw and Brieuc Van Damme in "www.tijd.be" Het democratisch 'tekort' van Europa kan worden verholpen. [The democratic 'deficit' in Europa could be remedied.] This council belongs to the executive branch - and so their members are for the mostly not directly elected. Yet they also play the role of a second European Parliament but they only have to justify on the national level. Their members do not recognize or accept publicly neither electorally the responsibility for the role they play in the European legislative process and in the broad political direction that the continent sails. Without direct democratic control, they can not be called to account, even on the national level.

If the EP and the Council of Ministers do not agree about a law, no approval of the law takes place.

28 May 2015 Ombudsman takes aim at EU's secret law-making. "euobserver.com" "The European Ombudsman has opened an investigation into the secret meetings between European institutions to shape laws, known as trilogues. Trilogues have become the main tool by which EU legislation comes about, but they take place behind closed doors with very little public information about the negotiation process."

23 May 2015 "www.voxeurop.eu" Europe slips into post-democracy. "Commissioner Frans Timmermans will in the future let unelected technocrats decide whether and how the Parliament should amend laws, but Europe needs more democracy, not less. A comment by Harald Schumann on the Tagesspiegel. (...) If the EU parliament or at least its pro-European majority take themselves seriously, they should reject Timmermans' plan altogether and call for the exact opposite, a reform facilitating European citizens' initiatives and finally allowing referendums. The EU needs more democracy, not less. Otherwise its days are numbered."

15 September 2014 MEPs threaten budget suspension over transparency. "euobserver.com" "Co-signed by seven MEPs from all the big political groups, except the Liberals, the deputies say the commission has not fully adhered to previous agreements to overhaul the expert groups. (...) MEPs are asking the parliament to withhold millions of euros from the European Commission to force greater transparency in the Brussels executive."

4 April 2014 Secret EU lawmaking: the triumph of the trialogue. "euobserver.com" Also 'trialogue meetings' are taking place, despite the fact that there is no legal base to it. "If the EU's bi-monthly leaders' summits are the glamorous (in the loosest sense of the word) side of the EU, the trialogue meetings are the main engine driving the sausage factory that churns out EU laws in Brussels. (...) In one sense, the commission has an inbuilt advantage. As the EU's civil service, it is the one of the three institutions with the most permanence. Both MEPs and government ministers have to seek re-election. The rotating council presidencies only last six months. "The Commission is supposed to be the facilitator of the trialogues, but in reality it sees itself more and more as the 'ruler'", says Daniel Gueguen, a seasoned Brussels lobbyist and expert in business of EU law-making.

In truth, the trialogue meetings themselves are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to secret lawmaking."

Introduction of the euro and transfer of power without consultation of the citizens

The transfer of power during the previous months to the supranational institutions has reached proportions never realised in history since world war II. This transfer happened without the participation of the citizens. A single currency was imposed as part of the objective of a high level of employment and of social protection, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States. (Treaty on European Union, Maastricht, 7 February 1992) But unemployment and misery was the fate for the people in many southern countries. 14 September 2013: The Guardian, Ten years on, what Britain can learn from the Swedish euro referendum. "But the euro wasn't about liberal economics: stretching from the Arctic circle to Sicily, it locked vastly different countries, cultures and economic structures, into one monetary system, under a single interest rate – forever binding together the problems of all its members, large or small. It was a system based on the hopelessly flawed assumption that politicians and central bankers would make the right decisions all the time. The euro is a political project without stable economical ground.

These two shortcomings, the democratic deficit and the 'euro megalomania' need further explanation.

A. The democratic deficit in the European Union and in the eurozone

The history of the EU shows clearly that the democratic deficit has taken enormous proportions. The number of countries which have had the opportunity to vote the new treaties, is very limited. Many countries which have received the choice, voted against the transfer of sovereignty. One concludes that the European Union is completely built on quicksand. The EU construction could only become reality by omitting any consultation of the population! This is a very dangerous element making the whole construction very instable.

Each country has its own history and culture. Most countries have fought for independence during years. Now we see how, during last years, they have given up much of their sovereignity in the hands of unchosen politicians!

Popper argues that democracy should be founded upon a 'theory of check and balances': basically we are assuming that even the best rulers might fail, so this theory relies on institutional means for curbing their power. The major check is provided by periodic elections that enable people to 'oust their government without using violent means': this shows the difference between democracy and its opposite, tyranny which 'consists if governments which the ruled can not get rid of except by way of a succesful revolution'. (Karl Poppers Idea Of Democracy. Philosophy Essay.)

Meanwhile, more and more power is transfered from the national level to supranational institutions. Van Rompuy stated: 'There is no alternative'. But don't we have the right to question it? When did the citizens make the choice to relieve the politicians of their task to take decisions on the national level and transfer this power to a technocratic supranational government?

It has become obvious that the whole construction of the EU building shows serious faults. In the Netherlands, the following proposal has been laid down: each new transfert of power to the EU has to be submitted to the citizens. More: BurgerforumEU.nl

Movements to tackle EU's lack of democracy

a. Yanis Varoufakis's DiEM 2025

9 February 2016 "diem25.org" Manifesto "A Manifesto for democratising Europe: For all their concerns with global competitiveness, migration and terrorism, only one prospect truly terrifies the Powers of Europe: Democracy! They speak in democracy's name but only to deny, exorcise and suppress it in practice. They seek to co-opt, evade, corrupt, mystify, usurp and manipulate democracy in order to break its energy and arrest its possibilities. Democratise Europe! For the EU will either be democratised or it will disintegrate!"

We call on our fellow Europeans to join us forthwith to create the European movement which we call DiEM25.

  • To fight together, against a European establishment deeply contemptuous of democracy, to democratise the European Union
  • To end the reduction of all political relations into relations of power masquerading as merely technical decisions
  • To subject the EU's bureaucracy to the will of sovereign European peoples
  • To dismantle the habitual domination of corporate power over the will of citizens
  • To re-politicise the rules that govern our single market and common currency

b. Podemos organises on 19-21 February 2016 a workshop in Madrid to prepare a "plan B for Europe", described as a holistic approach to EU's crisis. Source: 10 February 2016, "euobserver.com" The second coming of Varoufakis.

Some examples of this democratic deficit:

O. "A stronger Europe"

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy:

About the EU vision concerning defence and Turkey, the report Shared Vision, Common Action: A stronger Europe says:

  • "As Europeans we must take greater responsibility for our security. We must be ready and able to deter, respond to, and protect ourselves against external threats. While NATO exists to defend its members - most of which are European - from external attack, Europeans must be better equipped, trained and organised to contribute decisively to such collective efforts, as well as to act autonomously if and when necessary."
  • "In this context, the EU needs to be strengthened as a security community: European security and defence efforts should enable the EU to act autonomously while also contributing to and undertaking actions in cooperation with NATO. A more credible European defence is essential also for the sake of a healthy transatlantic partnership with the United States."
  • " the EU will deepen sectoral cooperation with Turkey, while striving to anchor Turkish democracy in line with its accession criteria, including the normalisation of relations with Cyprus. The EU will therefore pursue the accession process - sticking to strict and fair accession conditionality - while coherently engaging in dialogue on counter-terrorism, regional security and refugees. We will also work on a modernised customs union and visa liberalisation, and cooperate further with Turkey in the fields of education, energy and transport."

1. Assault on the sovereignty of EU countries - Merkel as self declared political EU leader - Grexit - refugees - alliance Merkel - Erdogan, - creation of new standing border force

  • 23 January 2017: "www.express.co.uk" 'You CAN'T leave!' EU threatens France and Italy with MAMMOTH bill if they quit the euro "In a rare admission about the strength of feeling building up against Brussels the Italian pen-pusher Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), said countries leaving the euro will face huge financial consequences. Writing a letter to two Italian MPs, he confirmed: "If a country were to leave the Eurosystem, its national central bank's claims on or liabilities to the ECB would need to be settled in full." Italy's liabilities to the ECB stand at a whopping £310 billion (€358bn), with the country having had to borrow huge sums of money from Brussels to stave off years of economic stagnation which many blame the euro for. France's deficit is a more manageable £33bn (€38bn) whilst Greece's is £26bn (€30.5bn), but with being forced to stump up such gargantuan amounts would be politically difficult in the face of a vote rejecting the EU project."
  • July 2016: "www.cloudsovereurope.info" Slovak prime minister blames migrants for terror threat "Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said Tuesday that the EU is "committing a ritual suicide" with its migration policy. (...) His anti-migrant policies have echoed those of eastern EU hawks like Czech President Milos Zeman, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's conservative ruling party."
  • 9 July 2016: Karel De Gucht, former EU Commissioner, in "Het Laatste Nieuws" "Wir schaffen das?" "The European Commission now wants to go a step further and conclude similar agreements [as with Turkey] with eight countries in the Horn of Africa, including Eritrea and Sudan. They will also have a policing role. Europe wants to help them to get the flow of refugees under control, i.e. to prevent the refugees to get out of the country. Eritrea is a brutal military dictatorship that systematically violates human rights. An Inquiry of the United Nations (report of June 8, 2016) came to the conclusion that Eritrea is committing crimes against humanity, committing murders without trial, people do disappear, locking arbitrarily people, tortures, degrades people into slaves and forced laborers. The Commission intends to work with those regimes! Unimaginable. Against the Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir is an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity during the dirty war in Darfur, where several hundred thousand people were killed by militias he controlled. Human rights simply do not exist. EU sanctions are ongoing against that country. There too, the Commission proposes cooperation to dampen the flow of refugees and they want even a relief camp - i.e. prison - built with European money. This is the shame over. The European Union sells his soul to dictators and that is worse than selling his soul to the devil."
  • 7 July 2016: "deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de" Wagenknecht rechnet mit Merkel ab: "Was ist denn das für ein Irrsinn!" "Who does not want that Europe finally disintegrates, needs at least now to rely on a social and democratic rebirth, on a Europe which people can inspire again and is perceiving referenda not as a threat but as a normal part of democracy."
  • 19 March 2016: "www.vdare.com" Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban: "Freedom Begins with Speaking the Truth" "Europe is not free. Because freedom begins with speaking the truth. Today in Europe it is forbidden to speak the truth. (...) The peoples of Europe are slowly awakening, they are regrouping, and will soon regain ground. Europe's beams that rest on the suppression of truth are creaking and cracking. The peoples of Europe may have finally understood that their future is at stake. Now not only are their prosperity, cosy lives, jobs at stake, but our very security and the peaceful order of our lives are menaced as well. At last, the peoples of Europe, who have been slumbering in abundance and prosperity, have understood that the principles of life that Europe has been built on are in mortal danger.

    The leaders and citizens of Europe must no longer live in two separate worlds. We must restore the unity of Europe. We the peoples of Europe cannot be free individually if we are not free together. If we unite our forces, we shall succeed; if we pull in different directions, we shall fail. Together we are strength, disunited we are weakness. Either together, or not at all - today this is the law."

  • 23 January 2016: RyannMcMaken "mises.org" Why Europe Must Decentralize "Those who control the EU, however, want to take the shortcut in which "peace" is imposed by force from Brussels. But, if the regimes of Western Europe are so concerned about freedom of speech, or open borders, or free trade, let them set the example by embracing such things. We shouldn't hold our breath. To do this would require these states to scale back their welfare states (as open borders are incompatible with welfare states), to embrace free speech which France and Germany reject, and to allow true free trade, which of course is a non-starter among the European elites of today. But, this doesn't stop the EU from lecturing its less powerful member states about what freedom means. It's doubtful they see the irony, though."
  • 8 January 2016: "www.lefigaro.fr" Thierry Baudet : "La nation est le meilleur cadre pour traiter la crise migratoire" [Thierry Beaudet: "The nation is the best framework for addressing migration crisis."
    • "Schengen is a sieve from the beginning. Not only open borders have never solved any problems, but they have not even been designed to solve a problem. Like the euro, it was a non-solution to a non-problem, the only goal, unacknowledged, was to force the peoples of Europe to form the United States of Europe.
    • I think that the nation is in fact the best and even the only framework within which the migration crisis can be treated simply because it is only at the national level that politicians have the authority to act. In fact, the European Commission only works when managing non-controversial, essentially non-political cases. Each country wants to actually take a different migration policy. If Germany threatens to bring Europe again into the abyss because of its superiority complex (this time the superiority of unlimited universalism and humanitarianism), other countries will have to guard against it developing their own immigration policies and the defense of their borders. This has already begun.
    • The EU destroys what makes Europe unique and wonderful, namely its cultural diversity, its democracy, its political organization on a human scale and fruitful competition between its countries. Therefore, the opening of borders is the manifestation of this deadly disease."
  • 7 January 2016: "www.zerohedge.com" Slovak PM Closes The Door To Refugees: "We Don't Want What Happened In Germany To Happen Here" "Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said Thursday his government sees what he calls a "clear link" between the waves of refugees and the Paris attacks and the sexual assaults and robberies during the New Year's Eve festivities in Germany. He says: "We don't want what happened in Germany to happen here." Fico says "the idea of multicultural Europe has failed" and that "the migrants cannot be integrated, it's simply impossible."
  • 21 December 2015: Can Dündar in "www.washingtonpost.com" What's freedom worth? Less than 3 billion euros, apparently. "As Europe and Ankara embraced one another, two things were crushed in between: principles and us."
  • 12 December 2015: "www.zerohedge.com" FT Bombshell: EU Unveils Standing Border Force That Will Act "Even If A Government Objects" "
    • ... the European Commission will unveil plans next week to replace the Frontex border agency with a permanenet border force and coastguard - deployed with the final say of the commission, according to EU officials and documents seen by the Financial Times.
    • The European border force could take control of the bloc's external frontiers - even if a government objected. "Although member states would be consulted, they would not have the power to veto a deployment unilaterally."
    • It would directly take control over the border of the one country which over the summer lost its sovereignty (but at least has the euro), and which serves as a springboard for tens of thousands of migrants to proceed onward with their journey to Germany. "With controversial claims, they use the case of Greece to create an example that could soon happen "in the border area near you." (Keep Talking Greece)
    • "The move would arguably represent the biggest transfer of sovereignty since the creation of the single currency." (FT) Hand in hand, the European Union and the Frontex want to cancel national sovereignty and take over border controls in the pretext of "safeguarding the Schengen borders". (Keep Talking Greece)
    • Is this a German plan? Will this plan bring about a Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt-controlled superstate?
  • 5 December 2015: "blisty.cz" Czech Deputy Prime Minister Babiš: I agree with President Zeman and his views about the refugees. We cannot kill our continent in the name of humanity "First of all, Europe must act responsibly towards the Europeans. We cannot kill our continent in the name of humanity. In 2030, there will be more muslims in Brussels than Europeans. I cannot imagine such a situation in the Czech Republic, our people will not accept this. They want the Czechs to be a majority. (...) Let anyone employ whom they want to employ but it must be our Czech firms that will decide this. Brussels will not be dictating to us whom to employ."
  • 2 December 2015: "www.youtube.com" PM Victor Orbán slams the "Absurd Coalition" Ruining Europe "And today, this isn't just simply appearing in European politics. This is something that European politicians support! That an arriving minority may stand up with the demand that the native majority should remove their religious symbols because it hurts the sensibilities of the arrivals. These are ABSURD situations."
  • 30 November 2015: "www.radio1.be" MEP Mark Demesmaeker in 'De wereld vandaag':
    • "We don't agree with the prospect of Turkey's EU ascension. This endangers the democratic basis of the EU. Turkey shows more and more autocratic features. Since several year I follow the 'progress reports' of Turkey. In fact these were reports of deterioration. How does Turkey treat minorities (Kurds, Christians, Greeks in Istanbul, LGBTI community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals)? How do they restrict freedom of the press? After China, Turkye is the greatest prison for journalists. How do they reduce civil rights? It is obvious, Turkey does not belong to the EU.
    • The cause of this malaise? Merkel has driven the EU into a blind adventure: "Wir schaffen das", open borders policy, combined with Greece failing to keep promises.
    • In October 2015 in Turkey, Merkel unilaterily promised three things: money, visa and a prospect to Turkey's EU ascension. Today, Erdogan receives from the EU: money (3 billion euros), a deadline for visa exemption, and resumption of the joining negotiations. Merkel does all this in the name of the EU but she has to realize that Turkey does not belong to the EU on the base of the EU rules.
    • We agree with financial support to push back the refugees. The money does not go to Erdogan and his government, but to the UNHCR."
  • 16 November 2015: "www.youtube.com" PM Victor Orbán: "Europe is Under Attack" Hungarian Parliament Speech "In the light of these events, we must speak about the obligatory quota question, too. We are still there, where somewhere from outside Hungary, they want to tell us whom we, Hungarians, need to live with. This is what this quota is about. I recommend to the Esteemed House to still not accept this. Let's keep sticking to deciding for ourselves whom we want to let in, whom we want to live with. The obligatory settlement quota is, completely simply, NOT Europe. It stands in sharp contrast to the spirit of Europe. It is pointless, because it does not fix the crisis, but deepens it. It can be easily seen that the obligatory settlement quota does not keep migrants away but rather acts as an invitation. It does not lessen the pressure, but increases it. And due to the suddenly increased pressure, the European nations will restore their internal EU borders. If this continues, then it's only a matter of time. This will mean the end of the Schengen system, and freedom of movement. The obligatory quota, my esteemed representatives, is also unlawful, since the EU leaders do not have authority to make such a decision in this question. They have no authority to force a single member nation such a measure concerning refugees and migrants that the given nation does not want. In the light of the terror attacks, Brussels can especially no longer deny that member nations have the right to defend themselves. Namely, the obligatory settlement quota is dangerous because it would dessiminate terrorism throughout Europe.

    Esteemed House, esteemed President, facts and tragic events point out that we need a new kind of European politics. It is not enough to pat and patch and fix up the old. I recommend that we cast aside the dogmas, forget political correctness, let's speak straightforward and open. I recommend that we return from the world of ideologies back to common sense. And to rethink European politics on the basis of four self-evident commandments.

    • First of all, we must protect the external borders of the European Union because security begins with the protection of borders.
    • Second, we must protect our culture, because the essence of Europe lies in its spiritual and cultural identity.
    • Third, we must protect our economic interests, because we Europeans must remain central to the world economy.
    • And fourth, we must give the People the right to be able to influence European decisions, because the Union must stand on democratic grounds.
    Esteemed representatives, the European citizens did NOT want hundreds of thousands of unknown aliens to illegaly and in an uncontrolled manner cross our borders and trample our countries. This sort of politics was NEVER given authority or permission by ANYONE, ANYWHERE. People want to live in safety and they want to enjoy the advantages of the EU. And for us parliamentary representatives, and to governments across Europe, our job is to hear the voice of the people."
  • 28 October 2015: "www.burgercomite-eu.nl" De Europese Unie en de Breznjev-doctrine [The European Union and the Brezhnev docrine] Silva, president of Portugal, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government. "This is the modern day implementation of the Brezhnev Doctrine. This is exactly what happened to states living inside the USSR. What is being made clear here with Greece and indeed with Portugal is that a country only has democratic rights if it's in favour of the [European] project. If not, those rights are taken away"
  • 23 October 2015: "The Telegraph" Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal's anti-euro Left banned from power "Constitutional crisis looms after anti-austerity Left is denied parliamentary prerogative to form a majority government. For the first time since the creation of Europe's monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest. Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal's constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika. (...) Brussels really has created a monster."
  • 21 October 2015:
    • Merkel overruled Schäuble and prevented Grexit. Temporary Grexit idea was backed by 15 nations, Schaeuble claims in documentary "The proposal for a temporary Greek withdrawal from the euro area, put forward by Berlin during negotiations in Brussels in mid-July, was backed by 15 out 19 eurozone nations, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said." ("www.ekathimerini.com" 21 October 2015)
    • Merkel opened the borders of Germany for Syrian refugees.
    • Meanwhile in his salon the hard autocrat Erdogan let sparkle the tinsel before Merkel's eyes pleading for assistance. (...) She showed the euros bulging her bags, lay flat on her stomach and her stern Turkish master was allowed to put his foot on her neck. (Geert van Istendael in "www.demorgen.be" Duitsland in paniek, daar ben ik niet gerust in [Germany in a panic. I am not confident.])
  • 6 October 2015: "www.nytimes.com" The Case for Euro-Optimism "Ms. Merkel has set up an informal system of governance that works fairly well, inside and outside Germany:
    • her coalition partners, the Social Democrats, at home;
    • President François Hollande of France, crucial to winning Western Europe;
    • the European Council president, Donald Tusk, representing Central European interests;
    • and the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, who knows how to play the Brussels machine.
    • President Obama is the key outside partner.
    A Merkel-centric "power-horizontal" sets up a very different union from the one that governments have agreed to in the treaties. Instead of Brussels, Berlin has become the power center. Neither federalists nor nationalists are happy with that."
  • 29 September 2015: "www.burgercomite-eu.nl" Netherlands faces possible referendum on Ukraine "The approximately 450,000 signatures amassed by GeenStijl, a satirical news website, far exceeds the 300,000 needed under law to trigger a referendum. It poses a vexing political problem for the largely pro-EU Dutch government, which has already ratified the Ukraine pact." (First source: "ft.com" 28 September 2015)
  • 26 September 2015: "deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de" Kiew stimmt zu: EU-Steurzahler dürfen Gas-Rechnungen für Ukraine bezahlen [Kiev agrees: EU taxpayers must pay gas bills for Ukraine] "Therefore the EU will be paying 500 million euros to the Russian Gazprom company. Thus, the Russians view the deposit for the fourth quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 as done. Russia grants a discount to Ukraine. (...) With the payment by the EU taxpayers also Europe's gas supply should be ensured in the winter."
  • 25 September 2015: "deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de" "Das große Experiment: Merkels unbekannte Agenda mit den Flüchtelingen" [The great experiment: Merkel's unknown agenda with the refugees] "
    • Viktor Orban's policy is supported by an overwhelming majority in Hungary. The same is true for the Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Here you can hear: "We had 40 years of communism, in which, the USSR has told us what is good for us. And now comes the EU and does the same thing."
    • Federal Labour Minister Andrea Nahles said that only every tenth refugee was qualified for training or work. This means that 90 percent of all refugees must follow language courses and training. This means that probably these people will be in four years available to the labour market.
    • With the Länder, a financing plan was worked out on Thursday: 670 euro per refugee per month. The integration now has its price tag, its bounty. The radical reducing of the people to a cost and production factor is promoted just by those who otherwise fulminate against the exploitation. Hans-Werner Sinn, (...) thought the idea to its logical end: "Salary dumping for all" is the order of the day.
    • For global vagabonding capital, the influx of refugees is a historic opportunity: If it is possible to move hundreds of thousands of people and to turn them into cheap production forces, profits can gush - without that companies need to take the cost of a production shift on their shoulders. If the experiment is successful, the Union's power is broken forever."
  • 23 September 2015: Owen Jones in "www.tijd.be" "'Corbyn is niet enkel Brits feonomeen'" ['Corbyn is not only British phenomenon'] "'Although you see in the European Union above all a power structure that goes beyond the Member States. The Union is configured so that the German voice is dominant. Germany, together with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF are part of a club that imposes measures and strengthens its own power. That is striking definitely seeing the saving measures in the whole economy. Germany imposes that system on to Europe. That has turned out dramatically for a number of countries. Look at Greece. Is it still an independent country? No. It is a debt colony which carries out measures which itself does not want.' "
  • 11 September 2015: Sahra Wagenknecht in "www.tagesanzeiger.ch" "Die Eurozone ist das Ende der Demokratie" ["The euro zone is the end of democracy] "Internationalized economy forces internationalized politics - that sounds plausible, but only on the surface. In practice, it doesn't work because democracy needs a space where it can live and where people also can track and supervise what politicians do. This space is still the individual States, not Europe. The European Parliament is infinitely far away from the general public and the Commission is a technocratic structure. Therefore, the companies have an easy game to capture these institutions for their interests. In the national context, it is slightly more difficult. The Switzerland is a wonderful example, how direct democracy works. If Switzerland would be a member of the EU and eurozone, the citizens could no longer vote on various subjects. Already today the EU Commission interferes in the banking system even to the level of municipal services, to the general interest of the Member States. And in the future, Brussels technocrats want to govern the wage policy."
  • 21 August 2015: "www.rtdeutsch.com" Wasser, Gas, Strom, Infrastruktur - Die Plünderung von Griechenland kennt keine Grenzen [Water, gas, electricity, infrastructure - The looting of Greece knows no boundaries] "The Greek government is being plundered. In addition to 14 airports, which are taken over by the German Fraport AG [which runs Frankfurt Airport among others], now also almost the entire state infrastructure is for sale. Gas, water, electricity, ports, road networks - everything must go! This is apparent from a document of the Privatization Fund HRADF [Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund] which published the MEP Sven Giegold. To obtain the commitments for new loans of international donors, Greece had to recently embark on far-reaching austerity measures."
  • 23 July 2015: Daniel Munevar in "www.socialeurope.eu" Why I've Changed My Mind About Grexit "But now, as a result of the bailout agreement, Greece is a situation where the costs of staying in the euro have gone up so much that it's possible to establish that there is a trade-off between going out - and facing all of the short-term costs of leaving the euro - versus staying in a circumstance where you are forced to renounce your sovereignty without getting any economic relief in exchange. (...) So this deal simply postpones the inevitable. Because it's clear at this point that there is not enough political will in the eurozone to fix the structural problems of the euro."
  • 14 July 2015: "www.imf.org" An Update of IMF Staff's Preliminary Public Debt Sustainability Analysis "Greece's public debt has become highly unsustainable. This is due to the easing of policies during the last year, with the recent deterioration in the domestic macroeconomic and financial environment because of the closure of the banking system adding significantly to the adverse dynamics. The financing need through end-2018 is now estimated at Euro 85 billion and debt is expected to peak at close to 200 percent of GDP in the next two years, provided that there is an early agreement on a program. Greece’s debt can now only be made sustainable through debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far."
  • 14 July 2015: "www.politico.eu" Schäuble undermines Greek deal. The German finance minister splits publicly with Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time. "German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble cast doubt Tuesday on Europe’s latest rescue plan for Greece, claiming that many Germans would still prefer a ‘Grexit.’"
  • 13 July 2015: "ec.europa.eu" Agreement on Greece; President Juncker satisfied: "There will not be a Grexit"
  • 16 June 2015: "www.bloomberg.com" Tsipras Brands IMF Criminal as Merkel Focuses on Greek Solution "Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hurled criticism at Greece's creditors, accusing the International Monetary Fund of "criminal" responsibility for his country's predicament. Addressing lawmakers in Athens on Tuesday, Tsipras gave no sign of backing down in the standoff over Greece's bailout. Instead, he blasted the IMF's adherence to austerity and accused the European Central Bank of using tactics that were akin to "financial asphyxiation."
  • 15 June 2015: "www.primeminister.gov.gr" Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' statement in Efimerida Ton Syntakton (EfSyn) newspaper on the issues relating to the current negotiation "One can only suspect political motives behind the institutions' insistence that new cuts be made to pensions despite five years of pillaging by the memoranda. The Greek government is negotiating with a plan, and has presented nuanced counterproposals. We will patiently wait for the institutions adhere to realism. Those who perceive our sincere wish for a solution and our attempts to bridge the differences as a sign of weakness, should consider the following:

    We are not simply shouldering a history laden with struggles.

    We are shouldering the dignity of our people, as well as the hopes of the people of Europe. We cannot ignore this responsibility. This is not a matter of ideological stubbornness. This is about democracy. We do not have the right to bury European democracy in the place where it was born."

  • 17 April 2015: "www.burgercomite-eu.nl" Revealed: The protester who 'attacked' Mario Draghi "The most powerful man in Europe was attacked by a 21-year-old activist on Wednesday, causing chaos at the European Central Bank. Josephine Witt jumped onto a table in front of Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, and shouted "end the ECB dictatorship" repeatedly."
  • 30 March 2015: "america.aljazeera.com" Destroying the Greek economy in order to save it "But blackmail is actually an understatement of what the troika is doing to Greece. It has become increasingly clear that it is trying to harm the Greek economy in order to increase pressure on the new Greek government to agree to its demands. (...) It could hardly be more obvious that this is not about money or fiscal sustainability, but about politics. This is a government that European authorities didn't want, and they wish to show who is boss. And they really don't want this government to succeed, which would encourage Spanish voters to opt for a democratic alternative - Podemos - later this year."
  • 7 February 2015: Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos in "www.huffingtonpost.com" All We Are Saying, Is Give Greece a Chance
  • 5 February 2015: "coppolacomment.blogspot.co.uk" What on earth is the ECB up to? "The ECB has abruptly announced withdrawal of the "waiver" under which it was prepared to accept Greek sovereign bonds as collateral for liquidity. This created a considerable Twitter storm, with lots of angry people saying the ECB's action was beyond its mandate and far too precipitate: it should at least have waited for the Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, to meet his German counterpart, and it should not be acting as if the bailout programme was ended when negotiations were still proceeding. (...) Varoufakis is gambling that the Eurozone, and more particularly Germany, will not dare to push him off the cliff because of the consequences for international political relations. If Germany was seen to force Greece out of the Euro by refusing to negotiate, it would become an international pariah. (...) Forcing Greece out of the Euro could result in the disorderly unravelling of the whole thing."
  • 5 February 2015: "deredactie.be" Grieken de straat op voor Tsipras [Greeks to the street for Tsipras] "We will not submit ourselves." The protesters are especially angry at Germany and the ECB. "We are not Merkel's colony".
  • 6 January 2015: "deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de" Gewerkschafter: Troika hat Verwüstung in Griechenland hinterlassen [Trade unionists: Troika has left devastation in Greece] "A group of German trade unionists and intellectuals protest against the threats of the EU and Germany against Greece. "The last two and a half years of unconditional implementation of austerity dictates by the Athens government have left an economically, socially and humanitarian dysfunctional society. Democratic procedures and rules have fallen victim to this process. (...) We were able to get a picture of the real conditions in Greece, the extent of the devastation left by the Troika and by their Athenian command receivers."
  • 12 December 2014: "www.reuters.com" Don't vote 'wrong' way, EU's Juncker urges Greeks "Juncker (...) said he was sure Greek voters understood the risks of an election that polls show could bring to power the left-wing Syriza party. "I assume that the Greeks -- who don't have an easy life, above all the many poor people -- know very well what a wrong election result would mean for Greece and the euro zone. (...) I won't express my own opinion. I just wouldn't like extremist forces to take the wheel."
  • More and more, Angela Merkel is the self declared political leader in Europe.
    • 19 December 2014: "euobserver.com" Germany wants 'successful' presidentials in Greece "German chancellor Angela Merkel at the end of an EU summit said she wants to see "successful" presidential elections in Greece that will allow it to stay on a "stable path". A first round of elections failed and if two more are unsuccessful, there will be early parliamentary elections."
    • 9 December 2014. "Russia's Lavrov says Moscow concerned by German leaders" (news.yahoo.com): "Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signaled that Moscow would not be lectured to and its patience was running out. "Germany has traditionally played a very constructive role regarding EU ties with Russia and the West as a whole with Russia. If Germany would decide to move to issuing orders, then Europe wouldn't win from that and neither would Germany."
    • 8 December 2014: Reaction of the founder of the French Left Party in France, MEP Jean-Luc Mélenchon: "Shut up, Frau Merkel! France is free. Take care of your own poor and your own ruined infrastructure". Ernst Wolff, journalist: "Germany is of course the strongest economy in the EU and is dictating the path in the EU. If the economic situation deteriorates, the cracks between the individual countries will become more obvious." (silveristhenew.com).

      7 December 2014. "Angela Merkel says France and Italy must do more on reforms. Merkel, in an interview with German daily Die Welt, said giving France and Italy more time to finalise their reform plans was defensible. But she then added: "The Commmission has made clear that what has been put on the table so far is insufficient. I would agree with this." (m.economictimes.com).

    • 19 November 2014. Foreign affairs: "When she talks, Putin listens because as Merkel goes, so goes the EU." (www.chicagotribune.com)
  • Read more about the dismissal of Papandreou and Berlusconi under pressure of EU leaders, EU history, 2 - 16 November 2011. Does national sovereignty still exist?

2. BREXIT

23 June 2016: Britain has voted to leave the European Union. 'Leave': 17,410,742 votes (51.9%); 'Remain': 16,141,241 votes (48.1%). Turnover: 72%.

Opinion Geert Noels in www.demorgen.be 24 June 2016: "Should the European Union have remained with its original objectives - a free trade area - then the UK would today be in the EU. (...) Europe has taken decisions which, as they know, don't survive a referendum in all countries. The euro is also an example. Some will say that such large projects can only performed if you ask not always democratic legitimacy, but the straddle has become too large, the refugees, the interest rate policy of the ECB, fiscal corset, but especially the huge regulatory machine that is Brussels. The Eurocrats have lost all touch with the everyday realities of Europeans. They're in the Brussels' Bubble, their own world, where they undoubtedly are working hard, but in a bureaucratic machine that is far removed from the original FTA.

Europe has also evolved gradually from a project of growth and progress to a project of redistribution and extension. (...) A United States of Europe is the dream of many European politicians. A counterweight to China and the United States. They err. Europe will never have the political, budgetary and cultural unity of the USA, nor the dictatorial regime of China. And fortunately. What makes Europe strong, is exactly its diversity, decentralization and even the city-state mentality. The silly idea of European top-down uniformity is transverse to this diverse Europe in which its citizens are attached to. (...) The brexit should pierce the Brussels' Bubble rather than to stubbornly continue on a road leading to new exits"

  • 14 June 2016: "www.dailymail.co.uk" It's not just the plot to let in 1.5 million Turks... DANIEL HANNAN outlines ten bombshells the EU's keeping secret until after you've voted "
    1. Outlawing high-energy dishwashers, hair-dryers and other household appliances
    2. A mid-term review of the European Union's seven-year budget was due at the start of the year. But it's been postponed till after our referendum.
    3. Open borders. David Cameron tried and failed to get an agreement that the EU's free movement rules would not apply to countries that might join the EU in future, such as Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey.
    4. More bail-outs
    5. Deeper integration
    6. European Court of Justice. The greatest extension of its powers has come with the adoption of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. Suddenly, as well as economic issues, euro-judges settle human rights questions. For example, in a preliminary decision, they have ruled against the deportation of hate-preacher Abu Hamza's daughter-in-law after her criminal conviction. She is not a British national, but her son is, and the ECJ holds that her deportation would violate his rights as an EU citizen.
    7. Arts import licences
    8. Wrecking our ports. The EU wants to oblige every port to have more than one provider for its internal services, such as mooring, dredging and unloading.
    9. Quotas for online TV. The European Commission wants online providers to reserve 20 per cent of their content for European programmes which should, it says, be given 'good visibility'.
    10. A European Army
  • April 2016: "standpointmag.co.uk" Why Brexit Could Be A Blessing For Europe LAETITIA STRAUCH-BONART: "All that is to say that if the Brexiteers care about a Europe of nations and not of bureaucrats, they should be careful not to hurt their fellow Europeans too much. They should look further than the referendum, and, whatever its result, anticipate its aftermath. They have to convince the Continent that the new Europe they are advocating — great nations voluntarily exchanging goods, people and ideas - will be a better way to coexist and benefit from each other."
  • 22 February 2016: "www.telegraph.co.uk" EU referendum: David Cameron faces MPs after Boris Johnson backs Brexit - live Boris Johnson: "This is once in a lifetime chance to vote for real change in Britain's relations with Europe," Mr Johnson adds. "This is the only opportunity we will ever have to show that we care about self-rule. A vote to Remain will be taken in Brussels as a green light for more federalism, and for the erosion of democracy".
  • 10 November 2015: "www.gov.uk" A new settlement for the United Kingdom in a reformed European Union In a letter, David Cameron outlined his principles for EU renegotiation: "As you know, questions of sovereignty have been central to the debate about the European Union in Britain for many years. I have three proposals in this area.
    • First, I want to end Britain's obligation to work towards an "ever closer union" as set out in the Treaty. It is very important to make clear that this commitment will no longer apply to the United Kingdom. I want to do this in a formal, legally-binding and irreversible way.
    • Second, while the European Parliament plays an important role, I want to enhance the role of national parliaments, by proposing a new arrangement where groups of national parliaments, acting together, can stop unwanted legislative proposals. The precise threshold of national parliaments required will be a matter for the negotiation.
    • Third, I want to see the EU' s commitments to subsidiarity fully implemented, with clear proposals to achieve that. As the Dutch have said, the ambition should be "Europe where necessary, national where possible".
    • In addition, the UK will need confirmation that the EU institutions will fully respect the purpose behind the JHA Protocols in any future proposals dealing with Justice and Home Affairs matters, in particular to preserve the UK's ability to choose to participate. National Security is - and must remain - the sole responsibility of Member States, while recognising the benefits of working together on issues that affect the security of us all."
  • 9 November 2015: "www.telegraph.co.uk" David Cameron's EU negotiation can't ignore immigration "This week the debate over Britain's future in Europe will enter a critical phase as the formal stage of the renegotiation begins. In a letter to Donald Tusk, the EU council president, David Cameron will set out the broad outlines of the UK's demands for a new settlement. We have a good idea what they are:
    • an opt-out for Britain from the Treaty of Rome's commitment to "ever-closer union";
    • more power for national governments to block EU legislation;
    • tougher benefit rules;
    • and protection for the City from detrimental decisions taken in the eurozone."
  • 3 November 2015: "www.politico.eu" 12 reasons why Cameron will lose on Brexit. "The pundits have got it wrong: The Brits will vote themselves out of Europe."
  • 4 August 2014: "euobserver.com" UK exit better than staying in unreformed EU, says report "A UK exit is better than remaning in an un-reformed EU, according to an upcoming report commissioned by London mayor Boris Johnson. But the report, drafted by Johnson's chief economic adviser Gerard Lyons, also warns an exit could cost London over a million jobs if the City fails to set up new trade policies."
  • 10 April 2014: "www.telegraph.co.uk" Diplomat who won EU exit essay prize silenced by government "After he picked up an £80,000 prize for an essay on how Britain could leave the European Union, Iain Mansfield was poised to become a new, intellectual voice in the media debate on the issue. (...) Mr Mansfield did one pre-recorded interview for Radio 4's Today programme, and then informed the IEA on Wednesday that he could do no more. On Thursday night he was unavailable for comment."
  • 17 February 2014: "www.reuters.com" EU's Reding warns Brexit would isolate London's City "The City would most definitely lose its unhindered access to the (EU's) single market in the case of an exit," Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, told an audience at Cambridge University. (...) "If the UK were to leave the EU, however, it would no longer be able to influence EU regulation," said Reding. "It would have to live with the rules decided on by the EU countries."

    My comment: What the unchosen Commissioner said is "Since the governments of several countries have approved the European treaties, powers have been transfered to the EU. The consequence is that I can speak in the name of all EU-members and that the chosen leaders of the countries now have to accept the rules of the EU as superpower.

    26 February 2014: "www.openeurope.org.uk" New Open Europe/YouGov poll: A majority of Britons and Germans want a greater role for national parliaments in EU decision-making and national control over several key policy areas

    Should the following decisions be taken at the national or EU level?
    Policy Area Britain Germany
    National level EU level National level EU level
    EU migrant's access to benefits 72% 17% 53% 39%
    Police and criminal justice laws 81% 8% 56% 37%
    Employment laws 70% 19% 58% 34%
    Trade policy 48% 38% 29% 62%
    Energy and climate change policy 45% 43% 25% 68%
    Regional development subsidies 66% 19% 63% 25%

    27 February 2014: "www.reuters.com" Germany's Merkel to Cameron: I can't satisfy all Britain's EU wishes "German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Prime Minister David Cameron she did not support the kind of fundamental reform of the European Union he wanted, but said Britain should stay inside the bloc to help make it more competitive."

3. EU-US TRADE TALKS (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP)

  • 1 May 2016: "www.theguardian.com" Leaked TTIP documents cast doubt on EU-US trade deal "Greenpeace says internal documents show US attempts to lower or circumvent EU protection for environment and public health."
  • 26 April 2016: "deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de" Britisches Gutachten: Vernichtendes Urteil über TTIP [British report: Devastating verdict on TTIP]. "The prestigious London School of Economics comes in a report to a withering verdict on TTIP: The Agreement mountains many risks and no benefits. Spicy: The study had been commissioned by the government. However, it disappeared in the drawer. Instead campaigned Premier Cameron in Britain for the Agreement. The TTIP opponents of "Global Justice Now" have obtained under the Freedom of Information Act in the UK, the publication of the single report, which the government had commissioned on the effect of TTIP. The result is likely to Prime Minister David Cameron cause real difficulties and could also affect the EU vote. Because the already in 2013 written report by the London School of Economics (LSE) comes to a damning verdict: The TTIP will afford to Britain no benefit, but mountains of substantial risks and should also greatly impose on the British taxpayer costs."
  • 22 May 2015: "www.theguardian.com" EU dropped pesticide laws due to US pressure over TTIP, documents reveal. "EU moves to regulate hormone-damaging chemicals linked to cancer and male infertility were shelved following pressure from US trade officials over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade deal, newly released documents show. Draft EU criteria could have banned 31 pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). But these were dumped amid fears of a trade backlash stoked by an aggressive US lobby push, access to information documents obtained by Pesticides Action Network (PAN) Europe show. On the morning of 2 July 2013, a high-level delegation from the US Mission to Europe and the American Chambers of Commerce (AmCham) visited EU trade officials to insist that the bloc drop its planned criteria for identifying EDCs in favour of a new impact study. By the end of the day, the EU had done so."
  • 2 March 2015: "www.rtlnieuws.nl" Parlementen mogelijk buitenspel bij vrijhandelsverdrag [Parliaments possibly offside in TTIP] "Will the treaty be presented before national parliaments?"

    EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström: It is a little bit too early to say because it depends legally on whether it is a mixed agreement or not. I would think it would be the case in the end. But it is not clear because after Lisbon treaty the Commission has a lot of power in investment and so. It depends on the actual agreement and the lawyers will look at it. The European Commission is a judicial body. We have to follow the law and the rules. Anyway, it will be approved by all member states and by the European Parliament of course, and the possibly, probably, also by the national parliaments."

  • 17 January 2015: "rt.com" 'We are fed up!':Thousands march against TTIP &GMOs in Berlin (PHOTOS, VIDEO) "A broad alliance of farmers, ethical consumers, and anti-capitalist activists staged a march through Berlin that numbered up to 50,000, to denounce the proposed TTIP treaty between the US and EU, and mass farming technologies."
  • 6 December 2014: Colin Crouch in "www.ippr.org" Democracy at a TTIP'ing point: Seizing a slim chance to reassert democratic sovereignty in Europe "We stand at a tricky juncture. There is a serious danger that the pessimists will be right, that the corporate lobbies of post-democracy will produce a TTIP that sweeps away a mass of protective regulations for consumers, workers and the community at large, to the long-term detriment of our welfare. There is, however, a slim chance that instead we shall have a new appreciation of the need for and scope of transnational democratic action, with expanded world trade and the development of an intelligent pan-European approach to social policy."
  • October 2014: Jeronimo Capaldo in "Global Development and Environment Institute, Working Paper No. 14-03" The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: European Disintegration, Unemployment and Instability "The study forecasts:
    • TTIP would lead to losses in terms of net exports after a decade, compared to the baseline "no-TTIP" scenario. Northern European Countries would suffer the largest losses (2.07% of GDP).
    • TTIP would lead to net losses in terms of GDP. Northern European Countries would suffer the largest GDP reduction (-0.50%)..
    • TTIP would lead to a loss of labor income. France would be the worst hit with a loss of 5,500 Euros per worker.
    • TTIP would lead to job losses. We calculate that approximately 600,000 jobs would be lost in the EU.
    • TTIP would lead to a reduction of the labor share (the share of total income accruing to workers), reinforcing a trend that has contributed to the current stagnation.
    • TTIP would lead to a loss of government revenue. The surplus of indirect taxes (such as sales taxes of value-added taxes) over subsidies will decrease in all EU countries, with France suffering the largest loss (0.64% of GDP).
    • TTIP wouls lead to higher financial instability and accumulation of imbalances."
    More information, 7 December 2014.
  • June 2014 Serge Halimi in "Le Monde Diplomatique" Les puissants redessinent le monde [The superpowers reshaping the world] "Washington, seeing far, does not intend to rely on the Transatlantic Market to conquer the Old Continent, but to divert it from any prospect of reconciliation with Russia. And especially to ... keep under control China. (...) It is probably no coincidence that the most hard intellectual supporter of the Transatlantic Market, Richard Rosecrance, directs in Harvard a research center on the relationship between the US and China. His plea, published last year, insists the idea that the simultaneous weakening of the two major Atlantic powers must get them to close ranks against the emerging powers in Asia: "Unless, he writes, that these two halves of the West meet each other, forming a set in the areas of research, development, consumption and finance, both they are losing ground. The Eastern nations, led by China and India, so will exceed the West in terms of growth, innovation and income - and, finally, in terms of ability, they will project military power (Richard Rosecrance, The Resurgence of the West : How a Transatlantic Union Can Prevent War and Restore the United States and Europe, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2013.). [Read also: Grand marché transatlantique]. (June 2014) "But the Transatlantic Market (TTIP) commercial purpose has also strategic aims: isolate Russia and contain China at the moment when these two powers become more close to each other."]
  • June 2014 Sophia Beunder, Bas van Beek, Roeline Knottnerus, Ivo Kuppens, Jilles Mast, Feiten of fabels: 7 claims over TTIP [Facts or fables: 7 claims about TTIP], Platform Authentieke Journalistiek, TNI en SOMO, June 2014. (HTLM version) "Citizens have no influence on the content of the Treaty, and it is questionable whether they will have a voice regarding the final approval or rejection of TTIP. The international business community has this influence indeed. It is their agenda that has been largely adopted by the negotiators and that will be discussed at this time. Not only do multinationals get direct influence on the formulation of laws and regulations through the 'Regulatory Cooperation Council', governments can be sued if they introduce this legislation affecting the business (read profit forecast).

    In exchange for this transfer of power, European and U.S. citizens are promised economic growth and jobs. The economic growth could be no more than a trivial 0.05 percent per annum and, with existing trade agreements such as NAFTA and KORUS in mind, it is far from certain whether the promised thousands of new jobs will be created. Also, working conditions will come under pressure by a more flexibile labour market situation. Citizens will also be affected by the likely reduction in safety standards in the areas of food, agriculture, environment and energy."

  • 5 June 2014 – The European Commission is aware that its secret negotiations with the U.S. on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) encounter increasing suspicion and resistance. To meet this objection, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht launched an alleged consultation, which was to show how everything is transparent.

    On 3 June, CNCD (Centre national de coopération au développement) showed in a press release that this consultation is a mendacious exercise in public deception. (In Dutch: De Europese Commissie "raadpleegt" de bevolking over TTIP: Ja of Ja)

  • 23 May 2014: "www.doorbraak.be" Handelsverdrag EU-VS: Dubbele aanslag op rechtsstaat [EU-US Trade: Double attack on the rule of law]
    1. One ascertains a worrying lack of transparency and a disproportionate involvement of big business lobbies compared to other stakeholders. The complete negotiations, including all documents of importance, are secret.
    2. One of the most controversial parts of the draft agreement is the arbitration mechanism for investment (Investor-State Dispute Settlement).
  • 8 March 2014: "deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de" TTIP: USA verbieten EU Information der Nationen über Freihandel "The negotiations on the free trade agreement between the EU and U.S. remain secret. Not even the national governments are allowed to see the documents. As a compromise, a "safe room" in Brussels is suggested where a selected representative may read through the draft. The aim of Secrecy: Citizens should not know what is being negotiated in the TTIP."
  • March 2014: "www.attac.de" German film (4 minutes) 'Freihandelsabkommen TTIP stoppen! "With a comprehensive pact, EU and U.S. want to create a transatlantic free trade zone. The proposed trade and investment partnership (TTIP) is sold us as a gigantic growth program - the citizens in EU and USA have to pay with an unprecedented reduction of production standards, consumer protection and workers rights, wage levels, environmental and social conditions, even of our democratic constitutional state. All of these "barriers" would be eliminated in secret negotiations."
  • 17 February 2014: "www.corporateeurope.org" What are you hiding? The opacity of the EU-US trade talks "While Commissioner De Gucht claims that "there is nothing secret" about the ongoing EU-US trade talks, notes of Commission meetings with business lobbyists released to Corporate Europe Observatory under the EU's freedom of information law were heavily censored. The documents show that De Gucht's officials invited industry to submit wishlists for 'regulatory barriers' they would like removed during the negotiations, but there is no way for the public to know how the EU has incorporated this into its negotiating position – or even what has been asked for and by whom – as all references have been removed. (...) Sharing information about the EU's negotiating position with industry while refusing civil society access to that same information is unacceptable discrimination."
  • 30 January 2014: "www.wdr.de" Freihandelsabkommen: Das Märchen vom Jobmotor "The EU Commission is not only talking about jobs, it also promises gigantic economic growth. 120 billions Euros of economic growth for the EU. The Trade Commissioner [Karel De Gucht] is touring Europe to promote exactly this. But according to his own study, this gigantic number means only minute additional growth of 0.5 % over a period of ten years. Reporter: 'So that means 0.05 % growth per year on average. That is not the big effect you are always talking about.'

    K. De Gucht: Let us interrupt. Is that the study that we have commissioned? Can I see it? (...)

    Monitor got hold of a secret position paper of the EU Commission. It suggests that all new laws and regulations should be reviewed according to their contribution to more trade, by a so-called "regulatory cooperation council" ([Rat für Regulierung]. Lobbyists should be consulted from the beginning, before the actual law-makers have a say. (...) The Commission states the "regulatory council" is only a proposal. What will happen with it in the negociations nobody knows, because they are secret.

    J. Bhagwati: 'They have been negotiating in secret and onlu the business lobby was involved? That is fundamentally wrong!' (Translation in English: Source)

4. The Expansion of the Power of the EU in the Field of Human Health

16 January 2014: "www.uva.nl" PhD defence ceremony, Anniek de Ruijter "Anniek de Ruijter explores the relationship between European health care policy and fundamental rights. She investigates, inter alia, the manner in which the European Union dealt with the recent swine flu epidemic. She also throws light on the growing role of European bureaucracy on the protection of health and European policy that regulates access to hospitals and doctors beyond the borders of national health care systems. (...) In some cases the EU's power in the field of health can be legally challenged in terms of fundamental rights. This is even possible in cases where no legal effect was intended by EU health policy. However, not all aspects of EU health policy are challengeable even when a policy may have implications for fundamental rights as a matter of shared values. This puts the legitimacy of EU health policy in a precarious light, particularly when considering that on the basis of Union law there is only limited specific legal basis for the EU to create health policy and limited possibility to challenge its effects." (Source)

A. de Ruijter, A Silent Revolution: The Expansion of the Power of the EU in the Field of Human Health. A Rights-Based Analysis of EU Health Law & Policy.

5. Independence of SCOTLAND, CATALONIA

  • 10 October 2015: Column of Karel De Gucht in hln.be De Ramblas van Europa [The Ramblas of Europe] "A region that separates from a Member State becomes not automatically a member of the EU, even though it meets all the conditions. All Member States should agree, including Spain. I don't see that happen. The recognition of a state, in this case Catalonia, is a competence of Member States. So you can end up in a situation in which some Member States would recognize the independence of Catalonia and that the same Catalonia must remain outside the Union. (...) Could you according to this supposition accept Scotland as a new Member State and reject Catalonia? (...) The biggest problem I find is the decision making in EU with 35 countries, including many small ones. (...) You can only hope that this it is not the crisis too much."
  • 23 September 2015: Karl Drabbe in www.standaard.be Nog liever Viktor Orban dan Artur Mas [Still prefer Viktor Orban than Artur Mas] "Meanwhile, last week, the European Commission torpedoed the independence plans. If Catalonia seperates from the rest of Spain, the new state falls automatically outside the E.U.and has to hand in a new petition to become a member state. (...) If in a region a democratic majority makes a totally legitimate poltical choice, it is no longer welcome at the negotating table."
  • 17 February 2014: "www.bloomberg.com" Salmond Says Forcing Scotland to Drop Pound to Hurt U.K. "Salmond also questioned Barroso's assertion that Scots would struggle to rejoin the EU. "The decision is one for member states, but not to recognize the democratic will of Scotland would run counter to the entire European Union ideal of democratic expression and inclusion," he said."
  • 17 February 2014: "The Guardian" Scotland could join EU 18 months after independence vote, says Sturgeon "Deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, (...) insisted the EU would not deny Scotland its right to be members of the EU since this would run counter to the principle of national self-determination – a founding principle of the EU. (...) "The decision on Scottish independence is for the Scottish people and the decision about continuing membership of the European Union is for the member states. It is a not a decision for the European commission."
  • 16 February 2014 "www.huffingtonpost.co.uk" Independent Scotland's EU Membership Would Be 'Very Difficult, If Not Impossible' Says Jose Manuel Barroso

6. GM MAIZE CROPS

  • 13 February 2014: "www.novinite.com" 12 Member States Oppose GM Maize Crops in EU "Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin and the Foreign Ministers and Ministers of EU Affairs of 11 member states have appealed to the European Health Commissioner Tonio Borg insisting that the EC should reconsider the move to introduce GM maize crops in the EU. "We are certain that the European Commission will not ignore the legal, political and scientific concerns raised by so many member states. The position of the European Parliament is negative, as well," says the letter to the European Health Commissioner."
  • 12 February 2014 "rt.com" EU to approve new GM crop, ignoring majority members' opposition "The European Commission is set to authorize the growing of genetically modified maize on European soil, despite 19 member states voting against the move, highlighting the "absurd" rules of weighted votes in the EU. (...) But because of the so-called comitology rules of the EU, their votes will be insufficient to overturn the decision of bigger member states that support the introduction of insect resistant Pioneer 1507. The UK and Spain are both in favor of GM crops, while Germany abstained and France is staunchly against their introduction. (...) France however warned that if the European Commission goes ahead with the introduction of GM maize, then it risks fuelling further euroscepticism by granting approval in the face of fierce opposition. "We have a majority against it, so I don't understand how we can approve this. Even more so ahead of EU elections. This is dangerous to the image of the EU institutions, it will fuel the idea that Europe doesn't work or works badly," said Thierry Repentin, the French EU affairs minister. While Thierry's Italian colleague called the outcome "indigestible" and his Hungarian counterpart a showcase of the "European absurd".

7. SWITZERLAND

  • 22 December 2016: "euobserver.com" EU and Switzerland agree on free movement "The EU approved a new Swiss law on Thursday (22 December) that will allow EU citizens to work in Switzerland, opening the way to solve a two-year crisis. (...) Juncker's mention of "all forms of freedom" is a reminder that for the commission, the Swiss negotiations could have created a negative precedent for Brexit talks, in which the UK is also likely to seek EU migrant curbs. One of Juncker's spokeswoman said earlier this week that the commission made a "tireless effort to find a compromise" and suggested that the Swiss government had little choice but to agree to the EU demands. (...) The Swiss government now has to find a way to square the newly adopted law with the constitution as modified by voters. One of the solutions it presented on Wednesday would be that the constitutional amendment does not apply to "wide-ranging international agreements", such as the EU-Switzerland agreements and the European convention on human rights."
  • 31 July 2014: "www.openeuropblog.blogspot.co.uk" EU referendum to be held in 2016 or 2017...No, not that one! "Swiss President Didier Burkhalter has today announced that Swiss voters will be asked to vote on the future of their bilateral relationship with the EU "by the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017."

    Last week, the EU told Switzerland that it was not prepared to negotiate quotas on free movement. In other words, in that choice between accommodating Swiss demands or playing hardball that we identified back in February, the EU has definitely opted for the latter approach. Interestingly, the decision not to negotiate was apparently reached by unanimity amongst EU governments, meaning that the UK opposed allowing the Swiss to 'renegotiate'. This is awkward for David Cameron, he was left with a choice of either giving Better Off Outers fresh ammunition ("see what the Swiss can do outside the EU") or accusations of denying the Swiss a similar right to which he wants to give Britain. In addition, in that old EU tradition, the Swiss are effectively being asked to 'vote twice', with a view to them voting 'the right way' the second time around."

  • 9 July 2014: "euobserver.com" EU-Swiss migration hit record levels in 2013 before ban "A record 66,200 EU citizens emigrated to Switzerland in 2013, the highest number since a free movement agreement came into force in 2002, according to the annual report of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economics. Switzerland will impose immigration quotas for EU citizens from 2017, following a referendum in February."
  • 1 March 2014: Geert van Istendael in "De Standaard" Zo zot zijn Zwitsers niet [Swiss are not so foolish] "Has the European Union conditioned us so deeply that we can no longer abide the sight of a real democracy? Do we still realize that in a democracy the power lies with the sovereign people and not with anyone or anything else? Whether we are annoyed by the result of 9 February or not, we should be thankful the Swiss, this time. In Switzerland you can read the day after a plebiscite in the newspapers invariably: The Sovereign has spoken. i.e. the people. And what the people decide, is performed."
  • 27 February 2014: "De Tijd" Erasmus-student kan niet meer naar Zwitserland "Past years, 2900 Swiss students received annually Erasmus grants. 4,100 of the total of 250,000 European Erasmus candidates annually went to Switzerland.
  • 26 February 2014: "www.euronews.com" EU suspends suspends Swiss Erasmus participation for 2014 "In 2014, Switzerland will not participate in Erasmus Plus on equal footing with member states as initially envisaged," said EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor."
  • 17 February 2014: "www.presstv.ir" EU suspends talks with Switzerland over vote results " The European Union (EU) has suspended talks with Switzerland on Bern's participation in EU research and education programs following a Swiss vote to curb immigration. European Commission spokesman Joe Hennon said Sunday that Brussels made the decision after Bern called off a labor market pact with EU member Croatia, which would have given immigrant Croatian workers access to the Swiss labor market. "Given the circumstances and in the absence of a clear political signal to do so, upcoming negotiation rounds have been postponed until Switzerland signs” the Croatia deal, said Hennon."
  • 16 February 2014: "www.bbc.co.uk" Switzerland declines to sign Croatia free movement deal "Both countries had agreed the deal last summer after Croatia joined the European Union. Switzerland said the accord could not be signed "in its current form", after a recent referendum invalidated the Swiss-EU pact on freedom of movement."
  • 10 February 2014: "deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de" Volksentscheid: EU-Funktionäre prügeln auf die Schweiz ein "The reactions of the EU functionaries and ideologues revealed a massive democratic deficit in people who live on the contributions of taxpayers. They do not want that the people in Europe think and decide for themselves. They can not respect that basic democratic decisions are not garbage that you should quickly get in the bin, but an expression of voters' will, which sets the professional politicians a binding directive. The Swiss decision will possibly show for the EU and for Switzerland sustainable consequences: If EU officials remain caught in their distorted, undemocratic rhetoric, then they will [evolve] involuntarily to the tombs of the system that they want to save at all costs - because it feeds them so generously."
  • 9 February 2014 In a referendum demanding caps on immigration (23.5% are immigrants in Switzerland). 50.3% of the voters supported the measure. The turnout was 56%. The reactions of most EU-representatives were negative. Moreover, EU-officials threatened to use the so-called Guillotine Clause. This clause gives both parties a right to cancellation of the entire body of treaties when one new treaty or stipulation cannot be made applicable in Switzerland. (en.wikipedia.org)

8. Decision taken by the German Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe and answer of ECJ

  • 16 June 2015: "curia.europa.eu" The OMT programme announced by the ECB in September 2012 is compatible with EU law "This programme for the purpose of government bonds on secondary markets does not exceed the powers of the ECB in relation to monetary policy and does not contravene the prohibition of monetary financing of Member States." (Press release No 70/15)
  • 14 January 2015: "www.telegraph.co.uk" Europe's imperial court is a threat to all our democracies "The European Court of Justice has declared legal supremacy over the sovereign state of Germany, and therefore of Britain, France, Denmark and Poland as well. The ECJ's advocate-general has not only brushed aside the careful findings of the German constitutional court on a matter of highest importance, he has gone so far as to claim that Germany is obliged to submit to the final decision. (...) The European Court did defer to the Verfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe on a few points. The ECB must not get mixed up with the EU bail-out fund (ESM) or take part in Troika rescue operations. But these details are not the deeper import of the case. Gunnar Beck: "This would be a fundamental transformation of the EU from a treaty organisation, which depends on the democratic assent of the sovereign states, into a supranational entity."
  • 27 July 2014: "www.welt.de" Neue Verfassungsklage gegen Euro-Rettungspolitik "A group of professors has laid down, according to the "Welt am Sonntag" of this week, a constitutional complaint against the single supervisory mechanism (SSM) that should be operational in November. "The banking union has no legal basis in the European Treaties and thus constitutes a violation of fundamental rights," says the Berlin lawyer Markus C. Kerber, Professor of Public Finance and Economic Policy and the initiator of the constitutional complaint. (...) "A European banking supervision could only be introduced by a change in the EU treaties." (...)The plaintiff is preparing already further constitutional complaints against the remaining elements of the banking union: the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) and the associated Single Resolution Fund (SRF). Again, there is, in his view, no sufficient legal basis in the EU treaties." Read also euobserver.com.
  • The Karlsruhe judges have given their critical judgment on the sovereign bond purchasing program of the European Central Bank (ECB).The German Federal Constitutional Court has fundamental objections against the Decision of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank of 6 September 2012 on Technical Features of Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT Decision) The case over the legality of this plan has been handed over to the European Court of Justice (ECJ)

    7 February 2014 The press release of the German Federal Constitutional Court is clear:

    • The Karlsruhe judges have given their critical judgment on the sovereign bond purchasing program of the European Central Bank (ECB). Does the OMT Decision violate the European Central Bank's monetary policy mandate or the prohibition of monetary financing of the budget? If so, this would have to be considered an ultra vires act. ['ultra vires' (Latin: beyond the powers) means 'The doctrine in the law of corporations that holds that if a corporation enters into a contract that is beyond the scope of its corporate powers, the contract is illegal.' (Source)]
    • It is obvious that an ultra vires act cannot be implemented by the German authorities and has to be challenged. Democracy in the process of European integration has to be safeguarded.

    So, there are important reasons to assume that it exceeds the European Central Bank's monetary policy mandate and thus infringes the powers of the Member States, and that it violates the prohibition of monetary financing of the budget. More information on www.ft.com.

9. No taxation without representation

The European Commission cannot be sanctionned by the electorate. But 'no taxation without representation' belongs to the essence of democracies.

  • 13 March 2014: Diego Muro and Guillem Vidal in "blogs.lse.ac.uk" Persistent unemployment poses a substantive threat to democracy in Southern European countries "Bertrand Russell defined democracy as 'the process by which people choose the man who'll get the blame'. If citizens are unable to effectively identify those who deserve to be punished and elect credible alternatives, elections become irrelevant, and citizens develop political disaffection or mistrust against all political institutions (especially the government, parliament and political parties)."
  • 7 March 2014: "www.euwatcher.eu" Philippe Legrain: 'EU in deep trouble after disastrous policies'
    • "Apart from the strong focus on saving the banks, the researcher argues, the eurocrisis has led to a 'huge centralization' of fiscal powers in Brussels. (...) No taxation without representation is what leads to revolution.'
    • the first thing that happens when the new government is elected, is Olli Rehn or someone else who pops up and says: you have to stick to the same policies! Voters nationally will say, hang on a minute, we have a right to decide our future.'
    • 'Eurozone policy makers including the European Commission have made disastrous policy mistakes in recent years. They have failed to solve the real problems which are the banking crisis and excessive private sector debt, and they have created new ones: financial panic in the eurozone which the ECB has now resolved, and this headlong rush into austerity which has led to higher public debt rather than lower public debt. And the employment crisis which is around Europe and particularly in southern Europe, where you have catastrophic figures. And no, there isn't a sense of urgency.' [Potentially, a lost generation is in the making. That is tragic for those young people individually. The social political consequences are potentially very worrying. So, yes we need a much greater sense of urgency.]
  • 6 March 2013 "www.iea.org.uk" Euro Puppets: The European Commission's remaking of civil society Citizens are not being consulted directly. Charities, think tanks and other 'civil society' groups are financed by the European Commission and typically lobby for closer European integration, bigger EU budgets and more EU regulation.
  • N.B.: The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) consists of 45 "captains of industry" from large European transnational corporations including BP, Daimler-Benz, Fiat, Shell, GKN and Siemens. The ERT aims to remove all obstacles to trade within the European Community or, in their own words, to 'complete the internal market'. Each ERT member is a highly influential industrialist with easy access to national and European decision makers. (Source)

  • Paul De Grauwe: Neither the European Commission nor the other members of the Council face the political sanction for the measures they impose on one member country. (Centre For European Policy Studies, CEPS Policy Brief, N0. 214, September 2010: Paul De Grauwe, What kind of governance for the eurozone?)

    Taxes can only be raised in accordance with the parliament. The EC argues that this will still be the case because the national parliaments will approve the budget. But the essence of democratic legitimacy is that those who take decisions concerning taxes and expenses can be punished by the electorate.

    The European Commission, which in the future will require national governments to raise more taxes and/or less expenditures, can by no voter be held accountable. They can not be punished by any voter. That is a significant degradation of one of our most important democratic principles. Critics of the Belgian political system will interject here that the European Commission is more reliable than the national parliament. We can better trust our fate in the hands of the European Commission, rather than of national politicians.

    I don't follow that reasoning. Our democratic system is based on the systematic distrust of the political leaders, even if the latter mean actually well towards us. Democratic control should be exercised at all those who take political decisions, even when it comes to enlightened ghosts such as the staff of the Commission. I am skeptical about the enlightened policy of the Commission on budgetary level. Because of their blind passion for saving, the Commission is also responsible for bringing the Eurozone into a new recession. The Commission makes mistakes, and not the least. Therefore, a mechanism has to be created through which the members of the Commission may be sanctioned by the voters affected by the decisions. That does not exist now. (Paul De Grauwe in the Belgian newspaper De Morgen, 25 February 2013, own translation)

10. Authoritative decisions

Europe has to evolve to a modest Union, not a technocratic authoritarian Union.

  • 28 July 2016: "www.thejournal.ie" Vincent Browne: The EU, its elites and its hyper fans had this coming "One of the "visionary" founders of the European project, Robert Schuman said that European Coal and Steel Community was "to make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible" - and he may have believed that. But what became of it was a huge cartel that enriched the shareholders and managers of the coal and steel industries. And so it has continued ever since."
  • 18 November 2015: Roger Scruton in "www.knack.be" "When faith is gone, a human is reduced to a consumer" "Does the EU have a future? SCRUTON: In the past the EU has been helpful to push forward a common interest which could aim the European nations. At this time, this objective has been overtaken, and the EU rather seems to exert a negative influence. The Union has assumed a life of its own and wants the nation states, which have created the EU, to be destroyed. Therefore the EU has become detrimental to democracy."
  • 10 July 2015: Emmanuel Todd in "www.lesoir.be" "On assiste à la 3e autodestruction de l'Europe sous direction allemande" ["We are witnessing the third destruction of Europe under German leadership"]. "Europe has become a hierarchical, authoritative, "austeritarian" system under German leadership."
  • 3 June 2015: "www.tijd.be" 'Eurogroep wil dat Griekse regering kapituleert' ['Eurogroup wants the Greek government to capitulate'] James Galbraith: "The American economist is keen for what he calls the European techno structure. The control over economic policy has been taken out of the hands of national governments and given into the hands of a secretariat populated by economists who do not look beyond their theoretical apriorism and are to no one accountable. "What's the base of the authority of the European institutions?" Galbraith asked. "Certainly not the results of the policies they dictate."
  • 21 March 2014: "www.irishexaminer.com" Eurozone crisis 'widened democratic deficit' Prof O'Rourke: "Decision making is being taken away more and more from the national level, but it is not being replaced at the federal level. This is very dangerous."
  • 18 January 2014: "left.gr" Alexis Tsipras: We must end austerity to regain democracy "The president of SYRIZA, and candidate of the European Left for the precidency of the European Commission, spoke today in a debate organised by the Dutch Socialist Party in Amersfoort. Here's the full text of his speech."
  • 15 January 2014: "www.theguardian.com" Protection for London's banks at heart of UK's EU reform plans, says Osborne "Without changes to Lisbon treaty, chancellor says, non-eurozone states will have to choose between joining euro or leaving EU. (...) Osborne said that from 2016 the euro group would have enough votes under the Lisbon treaty to pass financial services legislation that would apply across the whole EU, including the 10 member states outside the single currency. (...) Leadsom, who introduced Osborne at the Open Europe conference, said Britain should be able to formalise the "Luxembourg compromise", which allows a member state to call a halt to votes held under the qualified majority voting system if a vital national interest is at stake. Leadsom believes Britain could argue this would apply in this case on the grounds that 60% of the EU's financial services industry is based in the UK. (...) The chancellor said: "The one thing that unites those who urged Britain to join the euro and those who advocate leaving the EU is their shared conviction that any change is impossible and that there is no other way. There is another way. It is time to change the EU and to change Britain's relationship with it and then to place the decision in the hands of the British people."

    The Tory leadership is trying to regain the initiative on Europe after 95 MPs signed a letter calling for parliament to be given a veto over all EU laws. Ministers have said the proposal outlined by the backbencher Bernard Jenkin is unrealistic because it would dismantle one of Margaret Thatcher's main European legacies – denying member states a national veto in deciding the rules of the single market to prevent the likes of France from imposing protectionist measures. (...) "There is a simple choice for Europe: reform or decline. Our determination is clear: to deliver the reform, and then let the people decide."

  • 9 January 2014: Jochen Bittner in www.nytimes.com Europe's Supernova Moment
    • "Never before have Europeans been more tired and disillusioned with the promises of the Brussels mandarins.
    • A first move should be for Europe's leaders to admit that the history of the Continent's integration has not been a complete success. Everyone but them can admit that the European Union has grown far too big on the small issues, and remained far too small on the big issues; it has banned incandescent light bulbs, but it is unable to implement a common energy policy.
    • Astonishingly, it is failing to deliver on the one promise it made above all others: to create a successful single-currency bloc. At no point have the rules been respected by all member states at once.
    • Now it is the wrong people — the populists — who are asking the right questions. Is it really a good idea, for example, to shift more power to the European Commission, a body that has proved repeatedly that it is much better at issuing rules than enforcing them?
    • Europe's leaders should also concede that the so-called euro-skeptics have often been right in the past, and that it was a mistake to tar them as primitive, reactionary heretics. Historically, heretics have often been the ones who finally force a belief system to confront its own weaknesses. And so it should be with the European Union."
  • 1 January 2014: "www.telegraph.co.uk" Europe is slowly strangling the life out of national democracy "This European political directorate has taken decision-making away from national parliaments. On virtually everything that matters, from the economy to immigration, decisions are made elsewhere. Professor Mair argues that many politicians encouraged this tendency because they wanted to "divest themselves of responsibility for potentially unpopular policy decisions and so cushion themselves against possible voter discontent". This means that decisions which viscerally affect the lives of voters are now taken by anonymous, unaccountable bureaucrats rather than politicians responsible to their voters."
  • 11 September 2013: René Cuperus in "www.social-europe.eu" Back To The European Commununity! "My great worry is that the EU is not the exception to that process of authoritarian de-democratisation, but that the EU itself, being a hybrid superstate and supermarket at the same time, managed beyond the borders of political democracy, is a symbol of that: technocratic authoritarianism at the expense of national democracy.

    By history, we are forced to be Europeans; to a certain extent. To a common sensical extent. Becoming European can never mean the laconic self-abolition of the nation state, of national identity. Unless you want to get rid of democracy and the solidaristic welfare states, which can only operate on a smaller scale than in the European empire of 500 million people. The EU, which in the words of John Gray, is a 'failed utopian project' is in serious trouble and in urgent need of reform and reset. (...)

    The second misconception is to think that 'an ever closer Union', a more uniform EU, equals Eutopia. That in itself is a dangerous utopia of exclusion. All those who do not support the idea of a unified EU, or do not fit in, or criticize it, are excluded or demonised for being anti-Europeans, nationalists, extremists. Friend or foe. For or against. That way of thinking presents a ticket for disaster.

    What we need, in the end, is a more modest Union. Back to the European Community! For that the antidote of John Gray's philosophy is indispensable. This modest Union should be in line with the new direction of EU-reform that is likely to be taken according to the Dutch Subsidiarity Review of the Dutch government, an answer to the groundbreaking and notorious Cameron speech on Europe. The Dutch government set out the results of its review of EU competences, under the slogan 'European where necessary, national where possible', claiming that in the exercise of its competences the EU is not adequately respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality in practice. (...) The relevance of the Dutch Subsidiarity Review is that, with all its limitations and weaknesses, it tries to depict 'Another Europe'. A more modest Union. Breaking with the idea of TINA Europe – There is no Alternative for an ever closer Union – and opening windows for a potentially reformed EU, based on a more optimal balance between national democracy and EU-level. No Union, A Community."

  • 24 August 2013: Henryk M. Broder in Die Welt, EU wird zur Sowjetunion mit menschlichem Antlitz [EU is growing to a Sovjet Union with a human face]. Not translated here, but worthwhile reading!
  • 13 August 2013: Book Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy, by Peter Mair. "Chilling account of the end of party democracy, by the leading political scientist. Mair examines the alarming parallel development that has seen Europe's political elites remodel themselves as a homogeneous professional class, withdrawing into state institutions that offer relative stability in a world of fickle voters. Meanwhile, non-democratic agencies and practices proliferate and gain credibility - not least among them the European Union itself, an organization contributing to the depoliticization of the member states and one whose notorious "democratic deficit" reflects the deliberate intentions of its founders.

    Ruling the Void offers an authoritative and chilling assessment of the prospects for popular political representation today, not only in the varied democracies of Europe but throughout the developed world."

11. EU foreign policy towards Ukraine

The Maidan and Odessa killing, trade war and growing threat of war is treated on this page.

  • 15 August 2014: "deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de" Steuergelder: EU bewilligt Moldawien 100 Millionen-Kredit [Tax funds: EU approves Moldova 100 million credit] On Tuesday [12 August] the EU has allocated a credit of 101 million euros to Moldova. The funds will be invested in the reform of public finance and agriculture. But the Gagauz Autonomous Region of the country is against the EU course. She threatens to secede." My comment: Is it the policy of EU to pull in each country of the former Soviet-Union and endanger world peace?
  • 14 August 2014: "silveristhenew.com" RussiaToday: 'Senseless Violence': Sixty killed//injured everyday in E. Ukraine - UN Human Rights Council (Video)
  • 7 August 2014: William Pfaff in "www.williampfaff.com" "America Started This Ukraine Crisis
  • 15 May 2014: "www.tijd.be" EU versnelt akkoorden met Moldavië en Georgië [EU speeds up agreements with Moldova and Georgia] At the European summit of 27 June, the leaders of both Georgia and Moldova will sign their association agreement with the EU, in the presence of the 28 EU leaders. (...) But in Georgia , two pro-Russian separatist regions are unofficially under the control of Moscow. The Transnistrian region broke away from Moldova in 1990 and seeks alliance with Russia.

    Ibidem: Vicekanselier hekelt rol EU in Oekraïnecrisis [Vice Chancellor criticizes EU role in Ukraine Crisis] According to the German chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) it was a sign of little insight to give the impression that Ukraine had to choose between Russia and the EU.

  • 9 May 2014: Ewald Engelen in "www.groene.nl" Brusselse bubble After the publication of the new book from Herman Van Rompuy, Europe in the storm - Lessons and Challenges, Ewald Engelen writes: Here is the worldview of the inhabitants of the Brussels bubble. They despise the people's will, distrust democracy and firmly believe in their own right.
  • 1 May 2014: "langleveeuropa.nl" EU Voorzitter Van Rompuy: "We kunnen de hele Balkan lid van de EU maken" [we can make the whole Balkan member of the EU]: "I think that sooner or later we can make the whole Balkan member of the EU. In Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine the prospect of membership is not on the agenda, but we're going to involve them closer to Europe. If the public opinion has a strong support for it, I do not know. Yet we do it. The whole of Europe outside Russia will be in some way involved in the EU, either as a member or through various agreements. I still find it an inspiring thought." (Own emphasis)

12. Herman Van Rompuy's call to the European Court of Auditors

The European Court of Auditors has to elucidate Brussels spending and not to convince Europeans that 'Europe is not the problem but the solution' (Van Rompuy's call)

  • 7 October 2013 : www.doorbraak.be, Van Rompuy wil Europese Rekenkamer met handrem op [Van Rompuy wants European Court of Auditors with handbrake on] " Van Rompuy:"We should also be teaching to convince Europeans and clearly demonstrate that Europe is not the source of problems but the solution of problems." That last sentence is contrary to the mission of the European Court of Auditors (ECA): "The European Court of Auditors audits the finances of the EU, contributes to improving the financial management of the EU and report on the spending of public funds." Nowhere is stipulated that the Court "should learn and convince Europeans that Europe is not the problem but the solution."
  • 13 September 2013: "The Telegraph" EU auditors must tone down criticism of Brussels spending, says Herman Van Rompuy "(...) In doing so, we share another responsibility, that of being as didactic as we possibly can. You know this well at the Court. Your reports are not released into a void but into the rough and tumble of political life and media reporting. Every year, they generate headlines that 'yet again the EU's accounts have not been signed off', with deceptive allegations of fraud and mismanagement. You and I know that such headlines can be misleading. Normally the Court finds that the accounts are overall correct but that some decisions have been taken without following correct prodedures or other faults have occured. (...) But given this media handling of information, and its impact on public opinion in some countries, the court might want to give some further thoughts as to how it can encourage more nuanced media reporting. It is important that media can have the wide picture with all its nuances. Mesdames et messieurs, au final, nous sommes tous responsable de l'Europe et de son image. Nous avons tous à rendre compte de l'Union. En période de crise, il est plus vital que jamais de nourrir la confiance par un contrôle impartial et une évaluation méticuleuse de l'action publique. Car c'est ainsi seulement que nous parviendrons à établir les résultats de nos actions et les orienter pour les rendre les plus efficaces possibles. Il nous faut aussi être didactique pour convaincre les Européens et démontrer clairement que l'Europe n'est pas la source des problèmes mais bien la solution des problèmes. Mesdames et messieurs, la cour joue pleinement son rôle de socle de confiance pour nos institutions et j'en suis profondément convaincu. Nous continuons à compter sur vous. Merci."

    David Cameron, the Prime Minister, responded to the EU president's comments by describing them "nonsense", according to Downing Street sources. "The prime minister is absolutely clear that the only way to clear up concerns about Brussels spending is to shine more of a light on it, not less. This kind of nonsense is exactly why the prime minister wants to reform the EU and then let the British people have their say on membership," said the source.

    Mr Van Rompuy's comments angered British politicians who have accused him of wanting to whitewash the EU's accounts to mislead the public. Nigel Farage MEP, the leader of Ukip, described the speech as an "incredible" attempt to muzzle the EU's auditors. "The Court of Auditors which has not signed off the EU accounts for 18 years, is asked to go easy and provide good PR only for the EU," he said. In which other banana republic in the world would the president publicly call for less exposure of waste of taxpayers' money?."

    Douglas Carswell, the Tory MP for Clacton, said: "Van Rompuy invokes euro idealism to try to get us to turn a blind eye to dodgy account keeping by his own Eurocrats. In doing so he discredits the very system he seeks to defend."

13. The Troika is not a democratic organism

  • 7 November 2015: "www.youtube.com" The Trail Of The Troika - A Film by Harald Schumann & Arpad Bondy Harald Schumann in the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, 'Trojkabeleid zal Europa nog jaren verdelen' ['Troika policy will divide Europe for years'] "The European press has a problem: no one puts the puzzle pieces together. That's one of the reasons the troika could take its course undisturbedly. The German media have failed completely."
  • 16 January 2014: "www.euractiv.com" Parliament seeks tougher controls on Troika "Four years after the start of the debt crisis in Europe, the economic and financial committee of the European Parliament has started a series of hearings of the main actors of the Troika - the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - who will have to explain how they managed the crisis in the four countries where they were the primary lenders, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Cyprus. On 17 December 2013, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs drew up an enquiry report on the role and operations of the Troika (ECB, Commission and IMF) with regard to the euro programme countries. The following points are mentioned:
    1. Notes that the Troika's mandate has been perceived as being unclear and lacking transparency;
    2. Points out that due to its ad hoc nature there was no appropriate legal basis for setting up the Troika on the basis of Union primary law;
    3. Notes the admission by the President of the Eurogroup before the European Parliament that the Eurogroup endorsed the recommendations of the Troika without considering their specific policy implications;
    4. Takes note of the dual role of the Commission in the Troika as both an agent of Member States and an EU institution; warns that conflicts of interests may therefore exist within the Commission between its role in the Troika and its responsibility as a guardian of the Treaties, especially in policies such as competition and state aid;
    5. Points equally to a possible conflict of interest between the current role of the ECB in the Troika as 'technical advisor' and its position as creditor of the four Member States as well as its mandate under the Treaty;
    6. Notes that the ECB's role is not sufficiently defined, as it is stated in the ESM Treaty that the Commission should work 'in liaison with the ECB', thus reducing the ECB's role to that of a provider of expertise; further notes that the ECB mandate is limited by the TFEU to monetary policy and that the involvement of the ECB in any matter related to budgetary, fiscal and structural policies is therefore on uncertain legal ground;" etc...
  • January 2014: Syndicat European Trade Union "www.etuc.org" The functioning of the Troika: a report from the ETUC "In response to the European Parliament enquiry report on the role and operations of the Troika, this paper sets out the experiences of trade unions with the economic and social policies conducted under the regime of the Troika. It is based on the replies by affiliates from Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Portugal to a questionnaire organised by the ETUC. [European Trade Union Confederation]"
  • 15 January 2014: euranetplus-inside.eu "Future of EU would be better without the Troika" "Austrian MEP Hannes Swoboda, leader of the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament, has explained that EU members would be much better off without the undemocratic instrument of the Troika which pushes for reforms that are against society's basic social rights. (...) He added that the Troika should ask for more democratic control by the European Parliament and the national parliaments. Swoboda explained that the mistake made by the Troika was in demanding the destruction of a social net which is very important for the poor. Cuts to salaries, wages and pensions have undermined the social system in different countries, including Greece."
  • 29 November 2013: "www.etuc.org" Austerity is illegal: European trade unions demand a change of policy - Troika acts against EU law and human rights, according to senior lawyer "The EU's austerity policy is unlawful, according to Professor Andreas Fischer-Lescano, a professor at the Centre for European Law and Politics (ZERP), University of Bremen, who drew up a paper for the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB), the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI). The report was adopted on 28 November in Vienna and presented at a conference of lawyers from across Europe. The European Commission and the European Central Bank are, due to their involvement in the troika, breaching the primary law of the EU, since the Treaty of Lisbon also includes the Charter of Fundamental Rights."
  • 16 - 29 August 2013: Susan Watkins, Vanity and Venality, in London Review of Books, Vol. 35, 16- 29 August 2013. "www.lrb.co.uk" "At supranational level, the 'controls' demanded by Berlin have produced an ad hoc economic directorate with no legitimation beyond the emergency itself. The Troika – it has no official name – was scrambled together in April 2010 to take over direction of the Greek economy, as the condition for its first EFSF loan. Composed of functionaries from the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF, it now governs Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus and Greece, and has been permanently inscribed in the European Stability Mechanism. The Troika issues Memoranda of Understanding on the same model as the IMF, which dictate every detail of the member states' legislative programmes: 'The government will ensure that the legislation' – for cuts in health and education, public sector redundancies, reductions in the state pension – 'is presented to Parliament in Quarter 3 and agreed by Parliament in Quarter 4'; 'the government will present a Privatisation Plan to Parliament and ensure it is speedily passed'; even, 'the government will consult ex ante on the adoption of policies not included in this Memorandum.'

    The new powers of the European Commission and the Troika mark a real diminution of democratic control. Before the crisis, the EU had left major decisions on taxation, pensions, unemployment pay, public spending, health and education in the hands of national governments, considering them sensitive enough to require parliamentary legitimation. Now they are effectively subject to the diktat of EU functionaries. The constitutional niceties have been preserved, so far, in that parliamentary majorities have been found to vote the emergency measures through. But in countries where unemployment and economic misery are running high, the MPs are supported by a minority of voters. In Greece, barely 30 per cent of the total electorate cast a vote for the winning New Democracy-Pasok-Dimar coalition in June 2012; those who did so were mostly pensioners and rural voters, worried for their savings, while in the big cities and among under-55s, a majority voted for the anti-Memorandum Syriza. In Spain, the governing People's Party is down to 23 per cent in the polls, the centre left Socialists even lower, and Madrid's budget strictures are fiercely contested by Catalonia. In Italy more than half the voters opted for Eurosceptic parties in February 2013 and Mario Monti, the EU establishment favourite, crashed out with 10 per cent.

    The problem is Europe's citizens. Substantial new powers for supranational or intergovernmental bodies would require another treaty, which would entail referendum campaigns over ratification in at least two member states – effectively, an invitation to voters to make their dissatisfaction known. In Spain, the number expressing 'mistrust' of the EU has risen from 23 to 72 per cent over the past five years; in Germany, France, Austria and the Netherlands the figure is around 60 per cent. Fewer than a third of Europeans now 'trust' the EU; a majority give unemployment and the state of the economy as their chief concerns."

  • 15 May 2013: dewereldmorgen.be Als de Vos de Europese passie preekt "How anti-democratic the EU is evolving, was clearly demonstrated by the appointment in 2011 of Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos as Prime Minister of respectively Italy and Greece. That appointment was done without any democratic decision of the countries concerned, but by a troika of unelected bodies: the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank. Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos are also former employees of the U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs, as is the current president of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi."

14. Democracy is sacrificed on the altar of monetary union

  • 7 July 2016: "www.youtube.com" How democracy disappeared from the European project. The Dutch Referendum of April 6th, 2016 John Laughland, political philosopher: "The political power across Europe is increasingly alienated, mainly by the European Union itself, because the European Union is a cartel of governments, in which lawmaking is undertaken in secret, behind closed doors, and referendums break open these closed doors and allow the people to have a say in what otherwise is an elite process. (...) Ukraine is a very important geopolitical prize and it has a very specific function in their reasoning which is to drive a wedge between Russia and Europe. (...) A revolution was required in order to get the Ukrainian government to sign it. A bloody revolution, a violent revolution. A revolution led by men of blood, by men of violence. I am talking about the new government in Kiev, they came to power by force, by killing people, by injuring hundreds of policemen, by killing scores of policemen, and by trying to kill the president and the prime-minister, who after all had been elected and who were unversally recognized as the legitimate government of the country. They took power by force. (...) There is no tradition of contestatory journalism anymore in Europe."
  • 6 March 2015: "foreignpolicy.com" Is the Euro Compatible With Democracy? Berlin doesn't seem to think so. "Stripping voters of the right to make legitimate economic and political choices is unsustainable. And as Weimar Germany's tragic history shows, the imposition of unbearable payments to hated foreign creditors leads to political extremism. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times has observed that the eurozone is meant to be a union of democracies, not an empire. Merkel and Schäuble should remember that."
  • 2014: Fritz W. Scharpf in "Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft" Legitimierung, oder das demokratische Dilemma der Euro-Rettungspolitik "European policies imposed in the euro crisis have disabled democratic policy choices at the national level, while the present European euro-rescuing regime lacks democratic legitimacy. But policy choices might now become politicised in the Europe-wide competition of partisan candidates for the Presidency of the European Commission. In that case, voters might indeed be mobilised for or against radically opposed policy options - the continuation of the present austerity regime and the move to a transfer union. The risk is however, that the escalation of transnational conflict might further divide rather than democratise Europe."
  • 31 January 2014: "De Morgen" Geert Mak: "De euro is een gifpil" [The euro is a poison pill] "Geert Mak: There was a great support to curb the immoral behavior of the banking sector and to oppose politically the greed of the deregulated financial sector. It came to nothing. As in the U.S. also European politicians have been hedged in by the financial lobby groups. The anger about this is immense. It also cannot be explained that everyone, especially the youth, for six years now, has to endure the consequences of the almost criminal behavior while the actors with the political knowledge have a lucky escape. Exactly this has ignited the anti-European sentiments.

    Thierry Baudet: There is nothing wrong with intensive international cooperation. I am a strong supporter of it, but the EU is not a partnership, the EU is a bureaucratic superstate in the making.

  • 15 January 2014: Jan Blommaert in "www.dewereldmorgen.be" Macht en schaal: het belang van Europa [Power and scale: the importance of Europe] "The power in the EU is emphatically with the European Commission and the Council (i.e. the European Council of the heads of State or Government, chaired by Van Rompuy). The European Parliament - for its members we may vote - has despite recent additions a very small power package."
  • 21 December 2013: "www.craigwilly.info" The Eurozone's "Democratic Deficit": A Reading List for the Perplexed "
    1. Philippe Séguin (1992): "for there to be a democracy there needs to be a feeling of community belonging strong enough for the minority to accept the will of the majority"
    2. Paul Krugman (1998): "The answer was to put the new system on autopilot, pre-programming it to do what the Germans would have done if they were still in charge"
    3. Paul de Grauwe (1998): "ECB is a law unto itself"
    4. Vítor Constâncio (ECB Vice-President): Eurozone integration aggravated financial speculation and eliminated national democracies' tools for managing economic problems
    5. Handelsblatt: Elected governments depend on the ECB's good will to exist
    6. Deutsche Welle: "The European 'shadow state' faces growing resistance"
    7. Transparency International: We are transfering ever-more power to the "democratic black hole" that is the ECB, making it "the most powerful [EU] institution"
  • 20 December 2013: Bastiaan van Apeldoorn in "www.volkskrant.nl" 'De democratie wordt geofferd op het altaar van de muntunie' [Democracy is sacrificed on the altar of monetary union] "After three years of the euro crisis and the failed attempts to combat them, it is now clearly visible how much of its sovereignty a country really gives up together with its national currency. First, of course, a country loses the exchange rate as an important instrument of macro-economic adjustment. Second, the solvency of some countries - also when their national debt is very well tenable economically - comes much faster under pressure via the financial markets than in countries that have their own currency. (...) The proposed economic contracts are - after six pack, two pack, the European Semester and the fiscal pact - yet another attack on the national budgetary autonomy and thus touch the heart of national sovereignty."
  • 16 November 2013: Paul Krugman in "De Morgen" Eurocrisis ohne Ende "The intention was that the euro would unite Europe, both concretely and symbolically. The currency had to tighten economic ties and to create a shared identity. In reality, it has created a climate of anger and contempt, both among the creditors and the debtors. And the end is nowhere in sight."
  • Nigel Farage (UKIP) to a Croatian reporter in June 2013: "You are joining a political union. You are giving away your ability to make your own laws, you are giving away the supremacy of your own legal system. (...) The experience of the European project over 20 other countries is we all got lulled into joining, believing it is about trade, believing it is about prosperity, believing that the small countries will have a bigger voice. (...) What happened to Greece, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Ireland? We see that economic devastation brought on them because they joined the currency to which they never suited.

    The big argument here is democracy. Do we want to live in free democratic states? Do we have the ability to hire and fire the people who take the big decisions and affect our lives? You cannot be an independent democratic state and a member of this European Union. And the ruling power here in Brussels rests in people who is not elected. (...) I have been an opposing voice within this parliament. Because I have a different view on this European project. I have been called mentally ill. ( As Nigel Farage Warned: "In Two Months Of EU Membership, Croatian Exports Fall 11%", 14 October 2013)

15. Citizens 'governed' by unchosen international organizations

  • Fritz W. Sharpf, After the Crash: A Perspective on Multilevel European Democracy, MPlfG Discussion Paper 14/21, December 2014. "In substantive terms, the new Fiscal Compact combined with the Six-Pack's Excessive Deficit Procedure and the European Semester generalizes the austerity requirements that were initially imposed on debtor states. The Six-Pack regulations adopted at the end of 2011 also include a new Excessive Imbalance Procedure, which invests the Commission with practically unlimited authority to investigate economic conditions in member states, to identify imbalances on a wide variety of indicators, to define some of these as "excessive", to recommend their correction through policy responses involving the full range of national competences, and to enforce these with severe sanctions - unless a qualified majority of the Council should interfere. (...) In total departure from any claims to rule-bound legitimacy, what the Excessive Imbalances Procedure has established is, and is meant to be, an entirely discretionary regime whose scope of delegated authority far exceeds the limits of generally allowable delegation in constitutional democracies."
  • Fritz W. Sharpf, Legitimacy Intermediation in the Multilevel European Polity and Its Collapse in the Euro Crisis, MPlfG Discussion Paper 12/6, October 2012. "At the national level, the independence of central banks and regulatory agencies is supported and could be modified by democratically accountable governments and parliaments, and even the independence of judicial review is exercised in the context of common public space as a horizontal dialogue among (in the language of American constitutional law) "co-equal branches of government" (Bickel 1962). In the EU, by contrast, the horizontal dialogue is transformed into a vertical, hierarchical relationship between supranational authorities and national agents. And efforts to correct the ECB's policy or the rule announced in a Treaty-based ECJ [European Court of Justice] decision would require Treaty amendments that must be ratified by parliaments or referenda in all 27 EU member states. In other words, the ECJ and the ECB are much further removed from the influence of democratically accountable governors that is true of their formally "independent" counterparts in constitutional democracies."
  • September - October 2011: Wolfgang Streeck in "newleftreview.org" The Crises of Democratic Capitalism "As a result citizens increasingly perceive their governments, not as their agents, but as those of other states or of international organizations, such as the IMF or the European Union, immeasurably more insulated from electoral pressure than was the traditional nation-state. In countries like Greece and Ireland, anything resembling democracy will be effectively suspended for many years; in order to behave 'responsibly', as defined by international markets and institutions, national governments will have to impose strict austerity, at the price of becoming increasingly unresponsive to their citizens. (...) More than ever, economic power seems today to have become political power, while citizens appear to be almost entirely stripped of their democratic defences and their capacity to impress upon the political economy interests and demands that are incommensurable with those of capital owners." (Wolfgang Streeck in New Left Review 71, September-October 2011)
  • 27 February 2006: "www.brusselsjournal.com" Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship Vladimir Bukovsky: "I have no doubt about it. There will be a collapse of the European Union pretty much like the Soviet Union collapsed. But do not forget that when these things collapse they leave such devastation that it takes a generation to recover. Just think what will happen if it comes to an economic crisis. The recrimination between nations will be huge. It might come to blows. Look to the huge number of immigrants from Third World countries now living in Europe. This was promoted by the European Union. What will happen with them if there is an economic collapse? We will probably have, like in the Soviet Union at the end, so much ethnic strife that the mind boggles. In no other country were there such ethnic tensions as in the Soviet Union, except probably in Yugoslavia. So that is exactly what will happen here, too. We have to be prepared for that. This huge edifice of bureaucracy is going to collapse on our heads. This is why, and I am very frank about it, the sooner we finish with the EU the better."

16. Human rights have little reason to celebrate. A strong economy is built on the poverty of the people?

  • 20 February 2014: Greece's deepening health crisis a result of continued healthcare budget cuts, says study
  • 10 December 2013: Jan Wouters, Laura Beke and Katrien Meuwissen in De Tijd, De mensenrechten hebben weinig reden tot vieren [Human rights have little reason to celebrate] "Poverty and inequality are increasing in quick succession. The entire spectrum of human rights is shaking. From the right to work, a dignified standard of living and an adequate social security, to the freedom of expression, the right to participation and the democratic accountability of those who are pulling the strings of society. Although the world for decades takes statements of principle on the 'indivisibility' of civil, political and socio-economic rights, governments in whole Europe are threatening not to redeem the basic promise of human rights protection."
  • 25 November 2013: Protests in Spain against the 'ley antiprotesta'
  • 22 November 2013: Sudden death' actions in psychiatric wards in Greece
  • But meanwhile in Germany:

  • Radio 1, Belgium, "Vandaag", 20 September 2013: Rik Tirions reports an election rally by Angela Merkel in Würzburg. "Wir haben die letzten Jahren zeigen können dass trotz einen internationalen Finanzkrise, trotz einen Eurokrise, für Deutlschland vier gute Jahren hatten. Mehr Menschen haben Arbeit, mehr Menschen können ihre Familie ein eigenes selbständiges Leben geben." [We have proven the last few years that despite an international financial crisis, despite a euro crisis, regarding Germany we knew four good years. More people work, more people can give their family a private independent living.]
  • 2 September 2013: Armes Kreuzberger Blog, Dr. Merkel: "Der Euro sichert Deutschlands Wohlstand". "According to the now present protocol Merkel literally said on the euro-rescue: "Because the euro secures prosperity to Germany, because the euro secures jobs in Germany, because that is our very personal advantage." [Laut mittlerweile vorliegendem wörtlichem Protokoll hat Merkel zum Thema Euro-Rettung gesagt: "Weil der Euro Deutschlands Wohlstand sichert, weil der Euro Deutschlands Arbeitsplätze sichert, weil das unser ganz individueller Vorteil ist."]

17. The nomination of the new President of the European Commission

18. The role of Barroso in tobacco lobby case

  • 8 February 2016: www.euractiv.com Commission snubs watchdog's demand for Big Tobacco transparency "The European Commission has snubbed an EU watchdog's demand for more transparency in the executive's dealings with Big Tobacco, drawing further criticism from the European Ombudsman. Emily O'Reilly had called on the executive to publish online every meeting officials have with tobacco lobbyists. The Ombudsman investigates maladministration in the EU institutions. Today (8 February), O'Reilly said she "strongly regretted" the rebuff, which meant the Commission effectively ignored United Nations health guidelines and the fact Big Tobacco lobbies across multiple departments (DGs). The Commission, which has had a turbulent record on tobacco lobbying, said it acts in accordance with the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

    "Public health demands the highest standard," she said in a statement that could precede a damning indictment of the Commission in her final report."

  • 5 October 2015: euobserver.com EU officials kept tobacco meetings under wraps "Ties between the European Commission and the tobacco industry have been hidden from public scrutiny in contravention to UN rules. The findings, released on Monday (5 October) by European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, point to long-held suspicions of corporate lawyers lobbying senior staff under the previous Commission steered by Jose Manuel Barroso."
  • 8 July 2014: euobserver.com Dalli lawyers say Barroso trampled his rights
  • 3 July 2014: euobserver.com Judges to cross-examine Barroso in tobacco lobby case

    He is to answer judges' questions as a witness in the tobacco case on Monday (7 July), before lawyers from both sides give their arguments on Tuesday. (...) As a signatory of the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the EU is required to reveal all meetings with the tobacco industry. The convention's preamble says that all parties "need to be alert to any efforts by the tobacco industry to undermine or subvert tobacco control efforts and the need to be informed of activities of the tobacco industry that have a negative impact on tobacco control efforts".

19. Desintegration of the EU and Orwellianism

  • 2 July 2016: www.activistpost.com Yanis Varoufakis on the European Constitution, Economic Disintegration and Orwellianism " In this video the former finance minister of Greece and founder of DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025), Yanis Varoufakis, provides us insights into why the European constitution does not represent European citizens and lacks democratic substance. He also talks about the disintegration of the European Union, what forces are driving its demise and how Orwellian language is used to hide this."

B. Example of an undemocratic measure taken by the European Commission: The ban of incandescent light bulbs

See Summary: Dangers of CFLs and LED Lights

C. The introduction of the euro in countries which were not suitable for it

Further reading about democratic deficit

  • Dirk Rochtus, Duitsland. De macht van Merkel, August 2017
  • Douglas Murray, The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, June 2017
  • Yanis Varoufakis, Adults in the Room. My Battle With Europe's Deep Establishment, January 2017
  • Bart Haeck, Na de kater. Hoe we ons geloof in de Europese Unie verliezen, April 2017
  • Mathieu Segers, Yoeri Albrecht, Re: Thinking Europe. Thoughts on Europe: past, present and future, May 2016
  • Robert D. Kaplan, In Europe's Shadow. Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond, February 2016. Translated in Dutch as "Duister Europa. Twee koude oorlogen en een reis door Groot_Roemenië.", March 2016
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe, May 2016
  • J.L. Black, Michael Johns, The Return of the Cold War. Ukraine, The West and Russia, 2016. "www.routledge.com" p. 220: Ivan Katchanovski, The Maidan massacre in Ukraine: a summary of analysis, evidence and findings. "The book pays special attention to the often ignored origins of the crisis within Ukraine itself, and the permanent damage caused by the fact that Ukrainians are killing Ukrainians in the eastern parts of the country. It also assesses why Cold War belief systems have re-emerged so easily, and concludes by considering the likely long-term ramifications of the crisis, arguing that the deep-rooted lack of trust makes the possibility of compromise even harder than in the original Cold War."
  • Mervyn King, The End Of Alchemy: Money, Banking And The Future Of The Global Economy, 3 March 2016. "Lord King wrote: "The counter-argument - that exit from the euro area would lead to chaos, falls in living standards and continuing uncertainty about the survival of the currency union – has real weight." "But leaving the euro area may be the only way to plot a route back to economic growth and full employment. The long-term benefits outweigh the short-term costs." (www.express.co.uk)
  • Ivo van de Wijdeven, De rafelranden van Europa, January 2016. (Dutch language) "The conflicts we see today, often have roots in the past. Border conflicts are in some way in the DNA of the world map. All the more reason to dive deeper into the history of the borders. In contrary to the cliché, history does not repeat itself. But by knowing the past, we can present it in perspective."
  • Tania Kambouri, Deutschland im Blaulicht: Notruf einer Polizistin, November 2015. Translated in Dutch: Vrouw in het blauw. Noodkreet van een politieagente, January 2016.
  • Luuk Van Middelaar, Philippe Van Parijs, After the Storm. How to save democracy in Europe, October 2015. "The central, topical theme of this collection is the democratic legitimacy of Europe and its institutions. Where one sees too little European democracy, another sees too much Brussels presumption. The euro crisis exposed the tension between democracy and a currency union, and between the nation states of the EU." (Source: www.lannoo.be) In Dutch: Na de storm. Hoe we de democratie in Europa kunnen redden, October 2015. Ivan Krastev in De Standaard, 31 October 2015: "The EU can collapse very soon."
  • Martin Sandbu, Europe's Orphan: The Future of the Euro and the Politics of Debt, September 2015. More "Sandbu traces the origins of monetary union back to the desire for greater European unity after the Second World War. But the euro's creation coincided with a credit bubble that governments chose not to rein in. Once the crisis hit, a battle of both ideas and interests led to the failure to aggressively restructure sovereign and bank debt. Ideologically informed choices set in motion dynamics that encouraged more economic mistakes and heightened political tensions within the eurozone. Sandbu concludes that the prevailing view that monetary union can only work with fiscal and political union is wrong and dangerous-and risks sending the continent into further political paralysis and economic stagnation."
  • Erik Loomis, Out of Sight. The Long and Disturbing Story of Corporations Outsourcing Catastrophe, May 2015. Info: "When jobs can move anywhere in the world, bosses have no incentive to protect either their workers or the environment. Work moves seamlessly across national boundaries, yet the laws that protect us from rapacious behavior remain tied to national governments. This situation creates an all-too-familiar "race to the bottom," where profit is generated on the backs of workers and at the cost of toxic pollution."
  • Kevin Featherstone, Dimitris Papadimitriou, Prime Ministers in Greeece. The Paradox of Power, July 2015. More.
  • Bruno Tersago, Groeten uit Griekenland [Greetings from Greece], 2015
  • Arjan van Dixhoorn, Pepijn van Houwelingen in the name of Burgercomité-EU, Manifest aan het volk van Nederland [Manifesto to the people of the Netherlands], 2015. "Exactly 10 years ago, on June 1st, the Dutch population with a large majority spoke out against the European constitution. On this occasion, the Burgercomité-EU presents on May 27 its 'Manifesto to the People of the Netherlands'." (Source)
  • Thierry Baudet, Indispensables Frontières. Pourquoi le supranationalisme et le multiculturalisme détruisent la démocratie [Indispensable borders. Why supra-nationalism and multiculturalism are destroying democracy], March 2015
  • Denis MacShane, Brexit: How Britain Will Leave Europe, 2015. "He looks at the key personalities who shaped our European policy - from Churchill to Heath and Wilson to Thatcher, Blair and Cameron - and the key issues of immigration, economy and media influence which have heightened Eurosceptic feeling in the UK. (Source)
  • Derk Jan Eppink, Het rijk der kleine koningen. Achter de schermen van het Europees Parlement, [The kingdom of little kings. Behind the scenes of the European Parliament] 2015
  • Gabriele Krone-Schmalz, Russland verstehen. Der Kampf um die Ukraine und die Arroganz des Westens [Understanding Russia. The battle over Ukraine and the arrogance of the West], 2015
  • Richard Sakwa, Frontline Ukraine: crisis in the borderlands, 2015
  • George Friedman, Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe, January 2015
  • Susan George, Les usurpateurs. Comment les entreprises transnationales prennent le pouvoir [The Usurpers. How transnational companies take power], 2014. "These usurpers interfere in the affairs of the world (...), infiltrate the United Nations and under the leadership of Davos, work towards a world reflecting their image. They decide the content of strategic trade agreements, which are negotiated in the greatest secrecy but always under the watchful eye of the private sector. This entrepreneurial clique holds ordinary citizens under his control and does not worry about the public interest and the common good. It is time to stop them." (Source)
  • John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, The Fourth Revolution. The Global Race To Reinvent The State, 2014. The conclusion has the title: 'The Democratic Deficit'.
  • Olaf Cramme, Sara B. Hobolt, Democratic Politics in a European Union Under Stress, November 2014
  • Jan Marinus Wiersma, Ernst Stetter, Sebastian Schlubach (Eds), Problems of Representative Democracy. A Challenge for Progressives, November 2014. Comment
  • Owen Jones, The Establishment. And how they get away with it., 2014. "Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today - and it is time they were challenged." Read more at Penguin Books Translated in Dutch: "Het establishment", 2015.
  • Martin Wolf, The Shifts And The Shocks. What We've Learned - and Have Still to Learn - From the Financial Crisis, 2014. Comment by Felix Salmon "www.nytimes.com"
  • Wierd Duk, Angela Merkel Koningin van Europa, [Angela Merkel Queen of Europe] July 2014
  • Marcel Fratzscher, Die Deutschland-Illusion. Warum wir unsere Wirtschaft überschätzen und Europa brauchen [The Germany-illusion. Why we do overestimate our economy and Europe], September 2014. "But the beautiful picture is deceiving. Germany has since 2000 recorded significantly less growth than other European countries. Two out of three workers are worse off today than 15 years ago." (Source)
  • Hans-Werner Sinn, The Euro Trap. On Bursting Bubbles, Budgets, and Beliefs, July 2014. "This book offers a critical assessment of the history of the euro, its crisis, and the rescue measures taken by the European Central Bank and the community of states. The euro induced huge capital flows from the northern to the southern countries of the Eurozone that triggered an inflationary credit bubble in the latter, deprived them of their competitiveness, and made them vulnerable to the financial crisis that spilled over from the US in 2007 and 2008." (Source)
  • Martin Höpner and Mark Lutter, One Currency and Many Modes of Wage Formation: Why the Eurozone is Too Heterogeneous for the Euro, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, August, 2014. "Nevertheless, we argue that there are currently only two possible choices. The Eurozone members can either pay the possibly prohibitive costs of dismantling the existing European exchange rate regime, or they can accept authoritarian intervention into democracy and autonomous wage formation, despite the political and social costs this implies and the asymetric nature of such an intervention, which would primarily affect countries that have failed to meet the ECB's inflation target upwards rather than downwards."
  • Sophia Beunder, Bas van Beek, Roeline Knottnerus, Ivo Kuppens, Jilles Mast, Feiten of fabels: 7 claims over TTIP [Facts or fables: 7 claims about TTIP], Platform Authentieke Journalistiek, TNI en SOMO, June 2014.
  • John Erik Fossum, Agustín José Menéndez (eds), The European Union in Crises or the European Union as Crises?, Arena Report No 2/14, May 2014
  • Stephen Booth, Christopher Howarth, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: A failed experiment in pan-European democracy?, May 2014.
  • Ewald Engelen, Europese mythes. Boekje voor burgers, 19 May 2014. It is high time that we're going to claim our democratic rights. Hence this booklet for citizens. (www.libris.nl)
  • Timothy F. Geithner, Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, 12 May 2014
  • Bart Staes, Europa wordt wakker! Van een neoliberale naar een sociale, solidaire en duurzame Europese Unie [Europe wakes up! From a neoliberal to a social, inclusive and sustainable European Union.], 2014. The booklet is written from outrage. Now, who has a shred of sense of justice and reads this booklet, can not but share the outrage. (Source)
  • Daan Ballegeer, Ons Europa is niet dat van hen, 6 May 2014. Europe does not deserve to get extra money as long as the current money pot is so poorly spent. (Daan Ballegeer, De geldpot van Europa kan beter besteed worden, in De Tijd, 6 May 2014)
  • Arno Wellens, Het Euro evangelie (Waarom het mis gaat met onze munt) [The Euro Gospel. Why it goes wrong with our currency], May 2014.
  • Arjo Klamer, De euro valt, en wat dan? [The Euro falls, and then what?], 5 May 2014. Arjo Klamer is professor of the Economics of Art and Culture at Erasmus University in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). 'At the time France asks European emergency aid, Germany pulls the plug.' ('Dat de euro valt, is voor mij zeker' ['That de Euro falls, is certain to me'], De Standaard, 26 April 2014)
  • Bruno de Haas, Laat de leeuw niet in zijn hempie staan. Waarom de euro ons zal opbreken., April 2014 "Political parties wish to solve the crisis through the European supervision of banks and European policy coordination. But is the source of the crisis not the euro itself? Does the euro not block a healthy growth in the European Community? Bruno de Haas is sounding the alarm. Better now turned by halves. But who has the political courage to do so?" (More info in Dutch)
  • Syp Wynia, Vervlogen Visioenen. Groter, Machtiger, Meer. Hoe Europa zich vertilt, April 2014
  • Vesa Kanniainen, The Future of the Euro. The Options for Finland, April 2014.
  • José Bové, Hold-up à Bruxelles. Les lobbies au cœur de l'Europe, 2014
  • Marnix Krop, Hart van Europa. Hoe Duitsland ons uit de crisis voert en tegen welke prijs., [Heart of Europe. How Germany takes us out of the crisis and at what price.] 2014
  • Philippe Legrain, European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right, April 2014.Explanation.
  • David Marsh, Europa's impasse, hoe de eurocrisis kan worden opgelost en waarom dat niet gebeurt, [Europe's impasse, how the euro crisis can be solved and why it does not happen], 2014. See comment on this book in Knack, 'De euro heeft de crisis nog verscherpt' ['The euro has exacerbated the crisis'], 16 April 2014.
  • Jean Wanningen, Het eurobedrog. Waarom Nederland uit de euro moet, April 2014. "We should just stop now to pursuit of a centrally planned federal state. Simply because the peoples of EU Member States don't want to be governed from Brussels. This book is not only an analysis of why the euro currency has a devastating impact on the economy in the eurozone, but also comes out with a solution to the deepest financial economic crisis ever. With an extensive foreword by Professor Hans-Olaf Henkel, the German chief economist and former president of the German employers' association BDI." (Source)
  • Reinhard Crusius, Rettet Europa, nicht nur die Banken! [Save Europe, not only banks!], March 2014. Interview with the author.
  • Coralie Delaume, Europe. Les Etats désunis, 6 March 2014. "Germany has managed to make the European institutions its best allies and its driving belts of its own interests. Elsewhere, the resignation of politics has become the rule. It is most often accompanied by a terrible economic crisis. A situation that people accept worse and worse, feeling that in the name of "Peace", they are asked to endorse all at once their impoverishment and their abandonment of their sovereignty." (Source)
  • Julien Rochedy, L'Union Européenne contre l'Europe. Et si l'UE était la pire ennemie de l'Europe?, 2014. Since 2011 he leads the young National Front and is a founding member of YEAH (Young European Alliance for Hope).
  • Frédéric Lordon, La Malfaçon. Monnaie européenne et souverainité démocratique, 26 Mars 2014. Lordon denounces a Europe built without Europeans, in absolute denial of any expression of popular sovereignty. (Source)
  • George Soros, with Gregor Peter Schmitz, The Tragedy of the European Union. Desintegration or Revival?, 11 March 2014.
    • "But the European Union is not a nation. It is just an association of sovereign states, a very incomplete association, and it may not survive. This euro crisis has converted what was meant to be a voluntary association of equal sovereign states that sacrificed part of their sovereignty for a common benefit into a relationship between debtors and creditors." (www.bbc.com)
  • Hans Geeroms, Stefaan Ide, Frank Naert, The European Union and the Euro - How to deal with a currency build on dreams, February 2014. "They indicate that the Greek debt is unsustainable, the banking sector still remains extremely fragile, and Italy and France are the biggest threat to the future of Europe because they are 'building unsustainable debts'." (Knack, 23 April 2014).
  • Michael Biggs, Thomas Mayer, Latvia and Greece: Less is more, in Economic Policy, CEPS High-Level Briefs, 12 February 2014
  • Geert Mak, Thierry Baudet, Thuis in de tijd, 2014
  • Seppo Lindblom, Huojuva tasavalta, 2013. The author believes that the EU is strengthening the bureaucracy and creates the ground for populist movements. The debt turbulence shakens the political system. (kirja.elisa.fi)
  • Fritz W. Sharpf, Political Legitimacy in a Non-optimal Currency Area, Max Planck Institute For The Study Of Societies, Discussion Paper 13/15, October 2013. Comment in Dutch: Democratie en EMU 2.0 gaan niet samen.
  • Jean-Pierre Chevènement, 1914-2014: l' Europe sortie de l'histoire?, 16 October 2013. See the French website of the author.
  • Paul Scheffer, The hidden vitality of Europe, Felix Meritis Essays, 2013
  • Peter Mair, Ruling The Void: The Hollowing Of Western Democracy, 2013
  • Wilhelm Hankel, Die Eurobombe wird entschärft, 2013
  • Hans-Olaf Henkel, Die Euro-Lügner. Unsinnige Rettungspakete, vertuschte Risiken - So werden wir getäuscht, 2013
  • Fritz Bolkestein, Cassandra tegen wil en dank, Prometheus, 2013
  • François Heisbourg, La Fin du Rêve Européen (The end of the European dream), 2013. "The dream has given way to nightmare. We must face the reality that the EU itself is now threatened by the euro. The current efforts to save it are endangering the Union yet further. (...) You cannot create a federation to save a currency. Money has to be at the service of the political structure, not the other way around."
  • Wolfgang Streeck (director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies), Gekaufte Zeit: Die vertagte Krise des demokratischen Kapitalismus, 2013. Translated as: Wolfgang Streeck, Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism, 2014. Translated in Dutch as Gekochte tijd. De uitgestelde crisis van het democratisch kapitalisme, 2015.
  • Wolfgang Streeck and Armin Schäfer, Politics in the Age of Austerity, 2013
  • Thierry Baudet, Oikofobie, 2013
  • João Ferreira do Amaral, Porque Debemos Sair do Euro, 2013
  • Vaclav Klaus, Europe - The Shattering of Illusions, 2013.
  • Henryk M. Broders, Die letzten Tage Europas. Wie wir eine gute Idee versenken., 2013 Comment
  • A.G. Harryvan, J. van der Harst, Europa in het Nederlandse parlementair-politieke debat 1945-2013, Uitgeverij Boom, 2013
  • David Marsh, Europe's Deadlock: How the Euro Crisis Could be Solved - and Why It Won't Happen, Yale, 2013
  • Robert Oulds (Director of the Bruges Group), Everything you wanted to know about the EU, 2013
  • Thierry Baudet, Pro Europa dus tegen de EU, December 2012
  • Dani Rodrik, The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy, 2012
  • Sahra Wagenknecht, Freiheid statt Kapitalismus. Über vergessene Ideale, die Eurokrise and unsere Zuknuft, 2012. (Comment (German))
  • Björn Wahlroos, Markkinat ja demokratia. Loppu enemmistön tyrannialle [Markets and Democracy. End the tyranny of the majority], 2012. He shows that the social and economic success requires more than just democracy: functioning markets and effective hierarchies. The winner will perform the one that best combines these three governances. (www.suomalainen.com
  • Thierry Baudet, De aanval op de natiestaat, 2012. He defends the paradox that Europe without autonomous countries stimulates an intolerant and closed nationalism.
  • David Owen, Europe Restructured. The Euro Zone Crisis and its Aftermath, August 2012
  • Martin Höpner and Armin Schäfer, Integration among Unequals: How the Heterogeneity of European Varieties of Capitalism Shapes the Social and Democratic Potential of the EU, July 2012
  • Thilo Sarrazin, Europa braucht den Euro nicht, May 2012
  • Ulrich Beck, Deutsches Europa, 2012. Translated as German Europe, March 2013. "The euro crisis is tearing Europe apart. But the heart of the matter is that, as the crisis unfolds, the basic rules of European democracy are being subverted or turned into their opposite, bypassing parliaments, governments and EU institutions. Multilateralism is turning into unilateralism, equality into hegemony, sovereignty into the dependency and recognition into disrespect for the dignity of other nations. Even France, which long dominated European integration, must submit to Berlin's strictures now that it must fear for its international credit rating." (www.amazon.co.uk)
  • Fritz W. Sharpf, Legitimacy Intermediation in the Multilevel European Polity and Its Collapse in the Euro Crisis, MPlfG Discussion Paper 12/6, October 2012. "Now if present policies to rescue the euro and the more permanent regime that is being established to prevent future crises of the Monetary Union lack democratic legitimacy - what is to be done? The obvious solution would be to stop defending the euro, to acknowledge the common responsibility for having created a dysfunctional supranational regime, and to seek agreement on a common, organized and orderly return to the more flexible regime of an (improved) European Monetary System, which had worked reasonably well between 1979 and 1999. Unfortunately, however, all European policymakers have categorically ruled out this option (...)."
  • Fritz W. Sharpf, Kann man den Euro retten, ohne Europa zu zerstören? Thesen, 12.04.2012
  • Wim van Rooy, Remi Hauman, Sam van Rooy, Europa wankelt - de ontvoering van Europa door de EU, 2012
  • Fritz W. Sharpf, Monetary Union, Fiscal Crisis and the Pre-emption of Democracy, ZBE 2/2011
  • Johan Van Overtveldt, Het einde van de euro, 2011. [The end of the euro]
  • Michael Lewis, Boomerang, 2011. Comment New York Times "He also explains why taxpayers in Germany — the euro zone's largest economy, with resources critical to a rescue plan — are reluctant to keep bailing out other countries they regard as profligate, indolent and irresponsible. This is why, Mr. Lewis writes, "European leaders have done nothing but delay the inevitable reckoning, by scrambling every few months to find cash to plug the ever growing holes in Greece, Ireland and Portugal, and praying that bigger and more alarming holes in Spain, Italy and even France do not reveal themselves." "
  • Olly Figg, Europe On €387 Million A Day. Why The World Cannot Afford The EU, St Edward's Press, England, 2010
  • Jochen Bittner, So nicht, Europa! Die drei großen Fehler der EU, 2010 [Short description: For many Europeans, the EU is a kind of spaceship, nearly lifted, inscrutable and, possibly annoying if it descends again to send strange signals in the form of new regulations, such as a light bulb ban. (...) Brussels, now synonymous with Europe, can be easily equated with a caste of anonymous apparatchiks. Not even the people's anger finds a target object. This is not heartwarming.]
  • Daniele Ganser, NATO Geheimarmeen in Europa. Inszenierter Terror und verdeckte Kriegsfürung [NATO Secret Armies in Europe. Staged Terror and Covert Warfare], April 2009. Also NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, 2005.
  • Marta Andreasen, Brussels Laid Bare. How the EU treated its chef accountant when she refused to go along with its fraud and waste, July 2009
  • David Craig, Matthew Elliott, The Great European Rip-Off: How the Corrupt, Wasteful EU is Taking Control of Our Lives, 2009
  • Christopher Booker, Richard North, Great Deception: The Secret History of the European Union, 2005
  • Christopher Booker, Richard North, The Great Deception: Can the European Union Survive?, 2005
  • Larry Siedentop, Democracy in Europe, 2001
  • Steven P. McGiffen, The European Union: A critical Guide, Pluto Press, 2001. Excerpts
  • Paul van Buitenen, Blowing the Whistle: Fraud in the European Commission, 2000.
  • Colin Crouch, Social Change in Western Europe, January 2000
  • Bernard Connelly, The Rotten Heart of Europe, 1996.

About whistleblowers

  • Marta Andreasen, Brussels Laid Bare. How the EU treated its chef accountant when she refused to go along with its fraud and waste, July 2009. In 2004, the commission fired its chief accountant Marta Andreasen after she said the EU's budget was being fiddled. (Source: EU institutions to be probed on whistleblower rules) Five minutes with Marta Andreasen, UKIP MEP for South East England: Yes, I think it has a democratic deficit because the legislation that affects our lives is produced by an unelected body, which is the European Commission. Our taxes go to an unelected body, which is the European Commission. So from that point of view I think it is an undemocratic arrangement. Of course people will say, "well you vote for MEPs every five years and they should represent your interests", and this is true, but ultimately the institution that proposes legislation is the European Commission. Even if we vote in favour or against the legislation proposed, the Commission still keeps the power to develop the implementing measures for every piece of legislation. Also: en.euabc.com; en.wikipedia.org
  • Paul van Buitenen, Blowing the Whistle: Fraud in the European Commission, 2000. Paul van Buitenen was a Dutch assistant auditor in the European Commission's Financial Control Directorate becoming the whistleblower who first drew the attention of a Member of the European Parliament to the irregularities, fraud and mismanagement within the Commission. He was suspended, had his salary halved and ordered to face disciplinary action. He fought on and his exposures triggered the collapse of Jacques Santer's Commission, of which Edith Cresson was particularly criticised. (ourworldinbalance.blogspot.be; en.euabc.com; wikipedia) He quit the institution in 2002 because nothing had changed, he said. (Source: EU institutions to be probed on whistleblower rules)
  • Michel Sautelet
  • Dorte Schmidt-Brown
  • Dougal Watt. See also JUST Response network

Quotes

Interesting event: The Bruges Group. An address and question time with Professor Bernd Lucke, founder and leader of the Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland) political party which opposes the euro. This event took place in the House of Commons on Wednesday 12th June 2013.

Last update 12 December 2017