The European Reform Treaty is another step towards unaccountable global governance
Tony Blair vowed to give us a referendum on the EU Constitution. He later resolved to issue multiple referendums and a multi-million pound propaganda campaign until we voted yes. Then, before leaving office, he endorsed “a less ambitious new treaty that would not require a referendum”. Brown has accordingly “ruled out” a referendum on the resurrected EU Constitution (aka the “Reform Treaty”), ignoring the hundreds of thousands of citizens who signed last-minute petitions.
Vague rhetoric about the protection of British parliamentary sovereignty is pure spin. The long-term plan has always been to create a federal European state, and Brown is doing nothing to inhibit or expose it.
“It is psychological terrorism to suggest the spectre of a European superstate” said Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at a Sienna news conference last June. “Those who are anti-EU are terrorists”. As much as I am alarmed by this language, I can see how people might sympathise with the underlying conception. That some of the most publicised opposition to the EU has come from shrill, rabble-rousing tabloids like The Sun, and smug, ignorant characters like Robert Kilroy-Silk, has taught euro-curious liberals and centrists to equate warnings of a federal Europe or “superstate” with populist fear-mongering.
In fact, a centralised European government has clearly been the agenda for many years and has largely been actualised. There is a European Commission – an unelected executive accompanied by 54,000 similarly unelected bureaucrats. There is a European Parliament, whose members are unaccountable to even the fraction of people who voted for them as, in a paralysis of paperwork, they rubberstamp the Commission’s proposals. There is a European Court of Justice. Angela Merkel, the same German Chancellor who drafted the new “Reform Treaty”, has endorsed a common European army.
The new treaty itself proposes a European head of state, an EU diplomatic corps and foreign minister, a common system of criminal justice, and, as it happens, supranational treaty-making powers normally held by sovereign nations.
Still, many assume that the EU will always be securely intergovernmental. Where’s the proof that the project is geared towards supranationalism? First, the EU’s embryonic history reveals that the key founding ideologues behind the project, Jean Monnet and Arthur Salter, were obsessed with the idea of devising a self-perpetuating, clandestine, supranational bureaucracy that would construct a United States of Europe, acquiring powers from nation states through incremental osmosis. This mirrors the current attitude of such figures as former French President and author of the EU Constitution, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who wrote in Le Monde that by making cosmetic changes to the Constitution “public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly”. Though fairly transparent to most, the morphed “Reform Treaty” follows d’Estaing’s plan to “camouflage” the “innovations of the Constitutional Treaty…by breaking them up into several texts”.
Second, documents recently uncovered by BBC Radio 4 from the archives of Hugh Gaitskell, Labour Party leader from 1955 until 1963, showed that the first elitist “Bilderberg” conference in 1954 had already decided upon a political European Union. This demonstrates how the 1951 European Coal and Steel Community and the 1957 European Economic Community (renamed the European Community in 1992) were simply necessary stepping-stones. Remember, we had a referendum in 1973 on an “Economic Community” not a “European Union”.
So what’s the problem with a politically unified, federal Europe? The European Council on Foreign Relations, newly created this month, states in its manifesto: “individual European countries regard the world as beyond their control. But if it speaks with one voice, the Europe Union can help shape the world order.” I recognise the appeal of this rallying language, especially at a time when the US government is the bad cop and it seems like we need a unified, alternative foreign policy.
Unfortunately, the US government’s foreign policy does not simply reflect the madness of a rogue group in the Whitehouse, but also the madness of a wide range of multinational corporations and political personalities, well-represented in the USA’s own Council on Foreign Relations, which itself advocates a “harmonised” North American Community.
Political globalisation is a contrived mechanism of unaccountability. The consolidation of political power into “one voice” really means “no voice”, unless you are a corporate spokesman with access to global councils. Brown himself was headhunted for the 1991 Bilderberg conference. His refusal now to give us a referendum on the “Reform Treaty” is an undemocratic symptom of an entirely undemocratic project.