What dawned on me is that there is a reluctance on the part of those creating the economic and political union in Europe to create it through democratic means publicly in front of the wider population. I accept though that they are working within the constraints imposed on them by the democratically elected governments of the member states. For me, it mostly feels like they are changing Europe by stealth.
The document is written by the 5 presidents of the EU, of which:-
- Jean-Claude Juncker is the person that David Cameron was really keen to block from becoming European Commission President, on the grounds that he was a blatant federalist.
- Donald Tusker, an ex Polish Prime Minister is assigned to coordinating the negotiations with the UK over its relationship with the EU.
- Martin Schulz , is the President of European Parliament. He came to meet with David Cameron in June 2015,when he started the process of renegotiation. The UK papers reported that he accused Britain of spreading hatred and lies. But I have to say that his comments were reasonable and mirrored a little of the conclusions I came to in my blog "A Timeline of the European Union", whereby the issue of benefits to migrants was a minor element blown out of proportion for the benefit of themedia appetite when compared to size of the welfare budget, which was entirely within the control of the national governments.
But at least I know for sure what the Real Agenda is now. Do I really think that the creation of a United States of Europe would serve us all better for the common good.
This document shows they want to get the economic and monetary union fully developed and in place, develop further a supra national legal entity (i.e. superior to nation states that make up the union) before then allowing people to vote within that Federal Europe. The democratic element is recognised as necessary, however the document is essentially a road map of how to get there, and with democracy coming last of all. We are currently in the stage where the EU acts as advisor to the national governments in the EU/Euro areas. They advise the national governments on ways to get the national economies to converge for greater mutual prosperity and social cohesion. The next stage is for this to be done through legal means where the EU is basically the central government that determines fiscal policy.
It is a road map to a Federal Europe and is this what we want in Europe?
That is the real question behind the UK referendum question.
At first thought, this seems completely at odds with how democracy developed in the UK, Great Britain, England, call us what you want.
But then on reflection it isn't.
Power to the people was only brought down to the great mass of the electorate during the early part of the 20th Century when women were given the vote before the First World War. And this took the best part of 900 years to achieve. Magna Carta represented the start of a legal structure that allowed those in power to rule over the population, but with consent that gradually developed over time. That power was distributed down from the King/Queen who owned everything through their various representatives like Dukes and Earls that were in Royal favour, primarily through land ownership which was really where wealth was originally created by organizing the land for farming. The associated legal structures were developed over centuries through legal precedence. All of this was instrumental in defining property ownership, and from this the industrial revolution could take off. This paragraph, I know, is such a condensed version of events, and can easily be regarded as so brief to be dangerous, however...
Why have we just gone though a 1000 years of democratic development, to then just relinquish everything for a European Federal State in the space of 40-50 years. Why? Why are the peoples of Europe being asked to relinquish their national governments?
It amused me to read somewhere, that a Spanish commentator on the UK's 2015 General election said of the British, " the British really do know how to vote". The result that gave the Conservatives a slim majority may not be liked by everyone, but it certainly was a decisive result when all the commentators were either wishing for, or expecting a hung parliament.
Perhaps the EU Commission was really wanting a hung parliament in the UK, and then the Conservatives would not be able to carry through on their pledge for a referendum.
And on a similar note, I did find it interesting that all those from the EU/IMF troika that have been involved in negotiating with Greece on a further bailout of the Greek economy to help hold it in the Euro zone were all incredulous when the Greek government decided to hold a referendum on the offer, even though the offer had expired. They absolutely do not want issues of such significance to be opened up to the general population. Yes, the democratically elected government of Greece may not be helping the process but one thing is for sure they do respect the democratic process. They know that they were elected to try and get a better deal and relieve the austerity whilst remaining in the Euro. It always looked impossible to achieve these two constraints together but when they can't achieve them they go back to the electorate. I accept serious amounts of money are involved here, and the creditors want their money back, that is for sure. But if you look at the wider picture, the costs that Greece are currently paying are only the costs associated with the creation of this Federal Europe. The two biggest creditors, apart from the IMF are France and Germany. And I thought it was interesting that one Greek commentator said that at least this time there is more openness and transparency for the Greek people on the bail-out discussions. For her the early agreements were discussed in private between the EU creditors and the Greek government at that time.
The will of the people within Europe really is a secondary thought for those keen on developing the European Project. I can't help thinking that if they kept what is best for the people at the forefront of their minds, Europe might develop at a pace and in a manner that was beneficial to the people it is supposed to serve. And if takes a thousand years to achieve then so what! And to keep the people behind you, the leaders have to develop a framework for prosperity for all. But not just when the project is complete but at each stage along this road map.
The current tensions in Europe on so many fronts surely begs the questions
a) are they achieving this prosperity?
b) is it worth it?
....an undecided voter