In the Telegraph:
The new push for a European Union federation, complete with its own head of state and army, is the “final phase” of the destruction of democracy and the nation state, the president of the Czech Republic has warned.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Václav Klaus warns that “two-faced” politicians, including the Conservatives, have opened the door to an EU superstate by giving up on democracy, in a flight from accountability and responsibility to their voters.
“We need to think about how to restore our statehood and our sovereignty. That is impossible in a federation. The EU should move in an opposite direction,” he said.
Speaking in Hradcany Castle, a complex of majestic buildings that soars above Prague, and is a symbol of Czech national identity, Mr Klaus described Mr Barroso’s call for a federation, quickly followed by the German-led intervention, as an important turning point.
“This is the first time he has acknowledged the real ambitions of today’s protagonists of a further deepening of European integration. Until today, people, like Mr Barroso, held these ambitions in secret from the European public,” he said. “I’m afraid that Barroso has the feeling that the time is right to announce such an absolutely wrong development.
“They think they are finalising the concept of Europe, but in my understanding they are destroying it.”
Mr Klaus is a courteous old-school European, a keen and frequent public speaker, who insists on an intellectual critique of ideas rather than the personal criticism that often substitutes for serious political debate today. To his “great regret” he finds himself a lone fighter for democracy among Europe’s heads of state.
“When it comes to the political elites at the top of the countries, it is true, I am isolated,” he said. “Especially after our Communist experience, we know, very strongly and possibly more than people in Western Europe, that the process of democracy is more important than the outcome.
“It is an irony of history, I would never have assumed in 1989, that I would be doing this now: that it would be my role to preach the value of democracy.”
In his book, Europe: The Shattering of Illusions, to be published by Bloomsbury on Thursday, Mr Klaus makes the case that the EU has evolved into its current form because political leaders have found it convenient to turn away from their nation states, where voters have historically been able to hold them to account.
“Political elites have always known that the shift in decision-making from the national to the supranational level weakens the traditional democratic mechanisms (that are inseparable from the existence of the nation state), and this increases their power in a radical way. That is why they wanted this shift so badly in the past, and that is why they want it today,” he writes.
“The authors of the concept of European integration managed to short circuit the minds of the people, making a link between Hitler’s aggressive nationalism (nationalism of a totally negative type) and the traditional nation state, calling into question the existence of nation states in general. Of the many fatal mistakes and lies that have always underpinned the evolution of the EU, this is one of the worst.”
Of the UK Conservative party:
With sadness, more than anger, he concludes that the Conservatives, in government under David Cameron, are no better than any other national politicians with “two faces”, who “show one to their voters and the other when speaking in Brussels, at various EU summits and similar events.”
“We see it best with the British Conservatives after Margaret Thatcher. With the full weight of public opinion behind them, sharply opposing the euro and any further transfer of powers to Brussels – winning many a vote thanks to this – as soon as they step on to the continent, their resolve to fight for these principles evaporates,” he writes.
Richard North of Eureferendum comments that we’ve never had democracy anyway:
The important issue here – as we have pointed out before is that the European Union is a collective. It is a series of institutions whose governance is shared by several bodies, not least the European Council which is made up from the heads of states and governments of the EU member states.
Crucially, in this context, the essence of a nation state is a territorial entity, stemming from its occupation and legitimate ownership of land, making it a geographical as well as a political unit.
The European, lacking any territorial possessions that could remotely be called a state, and having no ambitions in that direction, cannot be considered a nation state. Like the Vatican of old, which it increasingly resembles, the EU is a supra-national government – a government without a state. It exercises its power over and via the governments of formerly independent nation states, of which it is the supreme government.
Such a super-government cannot, by its very nature, be democratic, but its owes its continued existence to the assent of the parliaments and governments of those individual member states. For them, the EU is a mechanism for by-passing democracy. Vesting their powers in this supra-national body makes them people-proof, insulating them from democratic control.
Nice comparison with the Vatican. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. I guess Herman van Rompuy is a sort of pope, and Manuel Barroso is a top cardinal. And the Vatican was never in the least bit “democratic”.
So what happens when people ‘lose their faith’ in the EU?