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Euro politico's in their true colours?

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posted on May, 30 2005 @ 05:27 AM
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Are the politicos showing their true face?


"If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves the question again", Mr Juncker said in an interview with Belgian daily Le Soir.
www.euobserver.com...

Just keep comming back till the voters learn which way they must vote.


But in the meantime the leaders can cherrypick parts of that unholy mess and impose them



And although renegotiation looks doubtful, it is possible that the incoming British presidency might be able to bring into force parts of the constitution that can be enforced without a treaty, such as mechanical changes, like scrapping the six-month rotating presidency of the EU..
www.euobserver.com...




posted on May, 30 2005 @ 06:46 AM
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Originally posted by vengalen
Are the politicos showing their true face?


"If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves the question again", Mr Juncker said in an interview with Belgian daily Le Soir.
www.euobserver.com...

Just keep comming back till the voters learn which way they must vote.


- If all they did was attempt to keep placing the same document before the people then you might have a point.

The thing is they have never done that.

Witness the Nice Treaty Ireland rejected, the EU revised it and the revised document was what was then placed before the Irish people and they the said "yes" to.


But in the meantime the leaders can cherrypick parts of that unholy mess and impose them



And although renegotiation looks doubtful, it is possible that the incoming British presidency might be able to bring into force parts of the constitution that can be enforced without a treaty, such as mechanical changes, like scrapping the six-month rotating presidency of the EU..
www.euobserver.com...


- Er, and what?
Why shouldn't some of the less contentious (and for that matter some of the more vital 'mechanical or admin' provisions) be implemented by the democratically elected Ministers (some only just elected a couple of weeks ago, as in the case of the UK) through collective agreement?

Are you seriously trying to tell anyone that scrapping the rotating presidency is/was a cornerstone of the "no" campaign, anywhere?


Government by referenda is (IMO in any case) a less than ideal way to do anything........as we are witnessing right now, many people 'use' the event to say something other than what is being asked.


[edit on 30-5-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 06:55 AM
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Originally posted by vengalen
But in the meantime the leaders can cherrypick parts of that unholy mess and impose them


I actually intended to post in favour of doing this, assuming the parts they were talking about enforcing would just be little structural changes as the quote from vengalen implies.

Then I found this:


Some suggest the EU could take some of the key parts of the constitution - an EU foreign minister, new voting arrangements, the European Council presidency - and push these through separately.


news.bbc.co.uk...

An EU foreign minister is a 'mechanical change'? The things they are talking about enforcing anyway are things that were at the heart of the 'constitution' which was rejected. If they can just go ahead and do it anyway, what was the point of the referendum?

This may be a very big test of the democratic credentials of the EU.


edit: damn it sminkey, you got that one in quick. I need to learn to type faster


[edit on 30-5-2005 by Chris McGee]



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 07:13 AM
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Originally posted by Chris McGee
An EU foreign minister is a 'mechanical change'?


- Just like the proposed President this is not an idea that equates with a US type national President (or British PM) or Foreign Minister.

It is much more akin to a CEO or head of department operating under agreed mandate.


edit: damn it sminkey, you got that one in quick. I need to learn to type faster


- Call me speedy Chris!


(nice to see you back out on the boards by the way)



[edit on 30-5-2005 by Chris McGee]



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 09:09 AM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
Government by referenda is (IMO in any case) a less than ideal way to do anything........as we are witnessing right now, many people 'use' the event to say something other than what is being asked.


So you'd be happy without the people giving their opinion and letting the Governments all decide?



The image above scares me...Governments are approving the EU constitution without putting it to a vote, the media reports support for the constitution but the only true voice is in a fair and fully democratic vote.

So much for democracy in the EU




[edit on 30-5-2005 by UK Wizard]



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 09:29 AM
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It is much more akin to a CEO or head of department operating under agreed mandate


Hmm, i'm not convinced. I've been looking around for a decent description of the responsibilities of the foreign minister, this is the best i've come up with so far:


The EU foreign minister will be responsible for strengthening co-operation with and between member states and making sure they all support EU foreign policies properly. Moreover he or she will propose EU action on specific countries or areas and will also represent the EU on foreign-policy matters at summits, talks, conferences and in international organisations. In addition, the foreign minister will handle other (non-CFSP) external EU action and will run the EU diplomatic service- commission delegations around the world- along with staff from the council and national ministries. Furthermore, he or she will orchestrate civilian and defence tasks as part of the EU common security and defence policy and guarantee EU overseas action is consistent with other policy areas.


EU foreign minister

When it says they will represent the EU at summits etc, i'm assuming this is only if none of the member states has a delegation there? Let's say there is a summit and Britain is attending and also disagrees with 'official' EU policy on the matter at hand. How would that work? The EU minister would supposedly be representing all of the countries of the EU but one of them would be disagreeing with them. Sounds like a recipe for a bit of a farce.



making sure they all support EU foreign policies properly.


This could be taken two ways. One, you could take it to mean they will be acting as an EU enforcer making sure member states toe the line. Two, you could take it to mean administrative support, correct documentation used etc.

I'm not sure which way to take that, i'll have to dig a bit deeper on it.

Either way, it is one of the things that was at the heart of the constitution and one of the things that was vigourously debated in the run up to the referendum. It certainly doesn't sound like small potatoes. This, to my mind, shows it is something people were concerned about and voted against and hence should not just be forced through anyway. To do so would be going against the majority opinion and the will of the French people.



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 09:47 AM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
So you'd be happy without the people giving their opinion and letting the Governments all decide?


- So long as we are all liberal open and free representitive democracies, yes.

There is absolutely nothing scary about countries shunning referenda, referenda themselves can be abused to the point of being very scary things, actually.


Governments are approving the EU constitution without putting it to a vote


- .....and for the very good reason that referenda are far from an ideal way to decide the issue.

People have a habit of using them to say things about issues other than the one put to them (as France has just done and Holland is likely to on wed.).

You might also consider how they are wide open to abuse and their simplicity be cynically hijacked as if they stand for 'pure democracy' (as some would love to be claiming here).


the media reports support for the constitution but the only true voice is in a fair and fully democratic vote.


- What planet are you on Wizard?
The British media is so massively 'euro-sceptic' it is beyond funny.


So much for democracy in the EU


- Please explain.

What has actually happened to have you convinced there is no democracy, hmmmm?

[edit on 30-5-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 10:04 AM
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Originally posted by Chris McGee
I've been looking around for a decent description of the responsibilities of the foreign minister, this is the best i've come up with so far:


- Good find Chris.

(it is an enormously 'dense' document)


The EU foreign minister will be responsible for strengthening co-operation with and between member states and making sure they all support EU foreign policies properly.

When it says they will represent the EU at summits etc, i'm assuming this is only if none of the member states has a delegation there? Let's say there is a summit and Britain is attending and also disagrees with 'official' EU policy on the matter at hand. How would that work? The EU minister would supposedly be representing all of the countries of the EU but one of them would be disagreeing with them. Sounds like a recipe for a bit of a farce.


- I take the key word here to be "properly".

If there is disagreement then (s)he would hardly be properly representing the if that were ignored or glossed over.

My understanding is that it would not be especially dissimilar to what happens now.
In other words they go with what they can agree on and attempt further agreement later between themselves, if necessary.

As is obvious from the quote the role is one of coordination and mandated representation.


Moreover he or she will propose EU action on specific countries or areas and will also represent the EU on foreign-policy matters at summits, talks, conferences and in international organisations.


- This is pretty normal stuff too, the staff in the Dept will examine and assess as and when directed to by the governments (or the FM as directed by the govs) and the subsequent proposals, options and decisions will be put at the various arena.


In addition, the foreign minister will handle other (non-CFSP) external EU action and will run the EU diplomatic service- commission delegations around the world- along with staff from the council and national ministries.


- EU Civil Service stuff.


Furthermore, he or she will orchestrate civilian and defence tasks as part of the EU common security and defence policy and guarantee EU overseas action is consistent with other policy areas.


- Again, merely a single point orchestrating the implementation of policy as defined and agreed by the national govs.


Either way, it is one of the things that was at the heart of the constitution and one of the things that was vigourously debated in the run up to the referendum. It certainly doesn't sound like small potatoes.


- IMO it's all a matter of perspective.

If you want to imagine the sky is falling in and this is the worst thing ever I suppose you can because when the matter is mainly theoretical it's diffeicult to stop people doing their 'yeah but you know what they're really going to do' routines.


This, to my mind, shows it is something people were concerned about and voted against and hence should not just be forced through anyway.


- I'm not for one moment doubting that some people actually voted no to the 'constitution'.
Fancy that huh?


It is perfectly clear though that many people voted on French domestic issues and worries to boot the French gov (as some will on Wed in Holland and to kick their gov) and this had nothing to do with the 'constitution'.


To do so would be going against the majority opinion and the will of the French people.


- Well this is all speculation at the moment.

We will see what technical, mechanical or admin proceedures the govs implement soon enough I suppose. Undoubtedly they will press ahead with some of the measures (those dealing with rationalising treaty and agreement seem to be prime for this as those originally intended for an EEC/EU of 7, 9, 12 or 15 are likely to be very very clunky for the now 25 soon to be 27).

But equally let's not kid ourselves on this stuff either, some of those opposed to this were never opposed to any particular measure or proposal but the entire enterprise and always have been, this is merely the latest vehicle for expressing that.
(.....and here I am referring to those in countries like ours, the UK, currently writing miles of copy intent on convincing anyone who'll listen that France has suddenly accepted the British anti-EU 'line', as if
)

This is what the govs have been referring to when they talked about a "no" vote causing the EU grief as it strengthens the hand of those who would love to see the EU disintegrate.

It won't, of course, but now we have the distraction of the chorus of the anti side louder for several more months, unfortunately.


[edit on 30-5-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 10:22 AM
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You might also consider how they are wide open to abuse and their simplicity be cynically hijacked as if they stand for 'pure democracy' (as some would love to be claiming here).


And politicians aren't going to abuse their position, they make promises at the start of their term and only vaguely stick to them to keep in power.
No system is perfect but the people of Europe should be able to strongly influence what happens!


- What planet are you on Wizard?
The British media is so massively 'euro-sceptic' it is beyond funny.


I was refering the mainland Europe not the UK




What has actually happened to have you convinced there is no democracy, hmmmm?


The fact that Governments are making such important decisions without the voice of the people backing them.



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 10:39 AM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
And politicians aren't going to abuse their position, they make promises at the start of their term and only vaguely stick to them to keep in power.


- Er, that's the beauty of democracy Wizard.

We get to judge just how well they did what they said they would try and do.
If they did enough we keep them if not we kick them out.

Sorry if that isn't good enough for some but there you go, democracy warts and all.
It's a terrible system, maybe the worst one possible - except, as Winnie C once said, for all the others.


No system is perfect but the people of Europe should be able to strongly influence what happens!


- Er, we do.
They're called elections we have them regularly.


I was refering the mainland Europe not the UK


- ........and your grounds for claiming the continental media is slavishly pro-EU is?

(In this referendum you do know the French press for instance was divided and even the pro side were less than enthusiastic, hmmm?

......and you do know that much of the French opposition to this Treaty is nothing at all to do with the stock British euro-sceptic criticisms and all about a hostility to the British notions of economic 'flexibility' etc etc)


The fact that Governments are making such important decisions without the voice of the people backing them.


- So what are you saying?
Everything from now on connected with the EU is to be tied to a referendum?

Dream on. Ain't going to happen.
We elect governments to operate the systems of gov for us; this is a legitimate part of that and they have every right to decide matters.

This is the point about referenda, they create conflicts of primacy (which is the more valid; the elected gov and it's Ministers or a referendum result clearly influenced by factors unconnected to the referendum question itself?)

In truth that is what the anti-side would love (until we get to a time when the pendulum swings the other way).
But then the right-wing have always loved referenda.
In this case they think it would ham-string the EU.

By the way -
The fact is the treaty itself was a huge victory for British diplomacy and the British and Eastern European vision of Europe.
How can the British 'right' claim to have anything "imposed" upon Britain when the French reject this treaty for being too British?


[edit on 30-5-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 11:49 AM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
We elect governments to operate the systems of gov for us; this is a legitimate part of that and they have every right to decide matters.

This is the point about referenda, they create conflicts of primacy (which is the more valid; the elected gov and it's Ministers or a referendum result clearly influenced by factors unconnected to the referendum question itself?)


That could be one of the things they did wrong with the constitution. They tried to make it all-encompassing. Most people aren't going to bother reading an entire 400 page document let alone understand all the legalese (as you pointed out, it's very dense). We have elected representatives who would have the time and will to go through it properly with professional legal advice, sort out the bits they don't like and try to get them changed.

They should have let the governments push the small stuff through their respective parliaments in the usual way leaving only the big, constitutional matters for referenda. All of the stuff about qualified majority voting, decision making, reform of the commission, the bits about leaving the EU and the EU parliament could (should) have been left out and decided by governments.

If they'd done that it would have been much harder for either side to muddy the waters of debate with nationalistic emotion and given people a real idea of the benefits the constitution could bring rather than have two stridently polarised camps exaggerating both sides of the argument.

Perhaps this wouldn't have satisfied Valery Giscard d'Estaing's ego though.

I think Wizard has a good point on the democratic deficit facing the EU. For as long as we have unelected representatives as part of the decision making process the EU will always seem like an old boys club. Democracy by appointment isn't democracy.

And sminkey, don't think I didn't notice the 'New Labour sidestep' you did when 'answering' my point about the foreign minister attending summits.


(edited for spelling)

[edit on 30-5-2005 by Chris McGee]



posted on May, 30 2005 @ 03:55 PM
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Originally posted by Chris McGee
That could be one of the things they did wrong with the constitution. They tried to make it all-encompassing. Most people aren't going to bother reading an entire 400 page document let alone understand all the legalese (as you pointed out, it's very dense). We have elected representatives who would have the time and will to go through it properly with professional legal advice, sort out the bits they don't like and try to get them changed.

They should have let the governments push the small stuff through their respective parliaments in the usual way leaving only the big, constitutional matters for referenda. All of the stuff about qualified majority voting, decision making, reform of the commission, the bits about leaving the EU and the EU parliament could (should) have been left out and decided by governments.

If they'd done that it would have been much harder for either side to muddy the waters of debate with nationalistic emotion and given people a real idea of the benefits the constitution could bring rather than have two stridently polarised camps exaggerating both sides of the argument.


- I think that's fair comment.
The thing is, IMO, they were acting to be seen as going out of their way to engage the people.

Those that want to see the EU as anti-democratic, self-serving, monolithic and dictatorial entity attempting to 'force' the people to do x, y or z have this as an obvious and rather embarrassing (for them) example of where the EU (over some of it's biggest and most fundamental issues) has attempted to do no such thing, in fact quite the opposite.


Perhaps this wouldn't have satisfied Valery Giscard d'Estaing's ego though.


- ....and so is that too, perhaps.
I think he meant well but completely misjudged his audience and was badly advised.

Given the way this has been seen on the continent as 'Anglo Saxon' and pro-globalisation etc etc I am suspicious of how this was 'sunk'.
I doubt there are too many with the traditional continental view of what Europe should be weeping over this loss. My bet is they see it as temporary but necessary.

I also think that for this reason the euro-sceptics (especially in the UK but also those of a more pro-liberal market view on the continent) who imagine this is a 'good' outcome are being short-sighted to say the least.


I think Wizard has a good point on the democratic deficit facing the EU. For as long as we have unelected representatives as part of the decision making process the EU will always seem like an old boys club. Democracy by appointment isn't democracy.


- This is where I have to laugh.

On the one hand people claim they want the national governments to always be sovereign and yet when faced with this point about appointments etc they start talking about this 'EU democratic deficit'.

You can't have it both ways.

The fact is that the EU democratic deficit exists precisely to ensure the national govs remain sovereign because given the choice that is the only credible choice.

It's an easy target and all too easy to play games over but the fact is that the national govs will always remain the prime legitimate democratic 'voice' of the people, once this is accepted (as opposed to played with by those who would cynically use this to further their agenda) then the EU structures can be seen as nothing unusual at all, in fact it makes a good deal of sense.


And sminkey, don't think I didn't notice the 'New Labour sidestep' you did when 'answering' my point about the foreign minister attending summits.


- What? You didn't think that was a reasonable summation?

Do you not think (s)he will act in a delegated manner subject to the approval of the sovereign member states?


[edit on 30-5-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 04:39 PM
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they checked german opinion to the EU constitution,
96.9% were against it, hell, what do you expect?

OF COURSE they didnt do a referendum there!!!!



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