Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The EU's Anschluss 

The European Union is keen to get its treaty ratified, so much so that it's willing to uncover its contempt for national sovereignty in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Cabinet meets in emergency session today to consider how to persuade their stubborn President to sign the Lisbon treaty � under intense pressure from Paris and Berlin to complete the ratification as soon as possible.

With President Klaus demanding a last-minute amendment as the price of his signature � the final approval required in the 27-nation European Union � the Government is locked in a trial of strength with its head of state and on the brink of a constitutional crisis. If it supports his demands the treaty might have to be reopened amid lengthy delays, possibly allowing time for David Cameron�s Conservatives to win the next British election and hold a referendum on the treaty as they have promised.

If the the Czech Government opposes President Klaus then it may have to resort to a form of impeachment or strip him of his treaty-signing powers so as to complete ratification.

Barely disguising the anger felt in European capitals, Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Prime Minister of Sweden, which holds the EU�s rotating presidency, told a signing ceremony by Poland that Czech assent was eagerly awaited. He added: �We do not need more delays.�
Jeremy Rabkin, author of the Case for Sovereignty, described it a few years ago:
All members of the EU have now bound themselves to a scheme in which the European Court of Justice treats mere treaties as superior to national constitutions � and national courts give priority to the rulings of this European Court, even against their own parliaments and their own national constitutions. This is way, way, way, beyond anything we could accept in America. To find an analogy, you must imagine that NAFTA officials in Montreal claim the authority to override the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court � and federal judges in America agree that the NAFTA policy must take priority.

What makes the European scheme particularly bizarre � at least from our point of view � is that Europeans aren't really prepared to pursue their "Union" to its logical conclusion. They don't trust the EU to have an army or police or even criminal courts of its own. So Europeans are entrusting supremacy to a government they don't really trust � at least not enough to entrust with traditional attributes of sovereignty.
In the long run, the American scheme is bound to be more respectful of individual rights and personal liberty, because we start from the recognition that people can disagree whereas the EU is always presuming some consensus that will � supposedly � be discovered by bureaucrats and judges.
Daniel Hannan warned months ago that "in order to preserve the anti-democratic order in Brussels, the national leaders must sacrifice a measure of their domestic democracy, too." It is now on full display in Prague.

Labels: ,