Monday, April 26, 2004

Welcome to Our Prison House of Nations

Below is a edited version of a statement from Anthony Coughlan, Director of the EU Research and Information Centre, Dublin, and his colleagues, issued to mark the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 25 Members on 1 May.

"As everyone is well aware, in a few days our State will cease to exist as an independent sovereign entity."

President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, Mlada Fronta Dnes, 22 April 2004

Like inmates in our EU prison, we welcome new companions. We can be confident the new arrivals will in time help us to break down our political prison walls. At the same time we do not wish on the 10 new Accession countries the loss of national democracy and political independence they now face.

Last year's referendums on their Accession Treaties were travesties of democracy. Public funding, the mass media and the referendum rules were grotesquely unbalanced in favour of EU accession. The EU Commission, ever anxious to increase its own power, interfered massively in favour of the Yes-side - almost certainly in breach of EU law, which gives the Commission no competence in treaty ratification. The result was that voters in the Accession countries went to the polls in virtual total ignorance of the undemocratic, power-hungry, institutional monster they are joining next weekend. All the more bitter will be the inevitable popular disillusionment in these countries.

The 10 Accession countries have got a thoroughly bad deal economically and politically. They are required to take into their domestic law the 80,000 or so pages of EU directives and regulations adopted by the EC/EU since 1957, which they had no part in making, even though many of these are quite unsuited to their different circumstances.

The collective imperialism of the EU 15 is shown by their insistence that each of the 10 new members must agree to abolish their national currencies and adopt the euro in due time as a condition of their joining the EU, even though Britain, Denmark and Sweden are not abolishing their currencies. When the East Europeans were client states of the USSR, the Russians never required them to adopt the rouble. Yet the EU 15 is insisting that the newcomers commit themselves to adopting the euro as a condition of their joining the EU.

EU membership transforms Government Ministers from Executives subordinate to Legislatures at national level into supranational legislators at EU level. Instead of having to obtain the support of their national parliaments in order to pass laws, they can now make these laws or directives for 450 million Europeans behind closed doors as one of an oligarchy of 25 persons on the EU Council of Ministers, and responsible as a collective to nobody. This is a huge increase in their personal power.

The political dynamics of a 25-Member EU will be fundamentally different from a 15-Member one. The new members will strengthen the international movement to restore democracy to the nation states of Europe. This week's enlargement of the EU is almost certainly the beginning of the end of Euro-federalism. Let us rejoice at that.

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