Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

The Lisbon Treaty

Old 12-15-07, 07:52 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,921
The Lisbon Treaty

This seems to be largely going under the radar. Interesting analysis from this Irish professor:

These Boots Are Gonna Walk All Over You

From the desk of The Brussels Journal on Thu, 2007-12-13 21:00

An analysis by Prof. Anthony Coughlan

Today the European Union leaders signed the Lisbon Treaty. This treaty gives the EU the constitutional form of a state. These are the ten most important things the Lisbon Treaty does:

1. It establishes a legally new European Union in the constitutional form of a supranational European State.

2. It empowers this new European Union to act as a State vis-a-vis other States and its own citizens.

3. It makes us all citizens of this new European Union.

4. To hide the enormity of the change, the same name – European Union – will be kept while the Lisbon Treaty changes fundamentally the legal and constitutional nature of the Union.

5. It creates a Union Parliament for the Union's new citizens.

6. It creates a Cabinet Government of the new Union.

7. It creates a new Union political President.

8. It creates a civil rights code for the new Union's citizens.

9. It makes national Parliaments subordinate to the new Union.

10. It gives the new Union self-empowerment powers.

(He gives a deeper analysis of all these points here: http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2773 )


Some of his other points:

Allowing for the special features of each case, all the classical Federal States which have been formed on the basis of power being surrendered by lower constituent states to a higher Federal authority have developed in a gradual way, just as has happened in the case of the European Union. Nineteenth century Germany, the USA, Canada and Australia are classical examples. Indeed the EU has accumulated its powers much more rapidly than some of these Federal States – in the short historical time-span of some sixty years.

The key difference between these classical Federations and the new European Union is that the former, once their people had settled, share a common language, history, culture and national solidarity that gave them a democratic basis and made their State authority popularly legitimate and acceptable. All stable States are founded on such communities where people speak a common language and mutually identify with one another as one people – a "We". In the EU however there is no European people or "demos", except statistically. The Lisbon Treaty is an attempt to construct a highly centralised European Federation artificially, from the top down, out of Europe's many nations, peoples and States, without their free consent and knowledge......

If there were to be a European Federation that is democratic and acceptable, the minimum constitutional requirement for it would be that its laws would be initiated and approved by the directly elected representatives of the people either in the European Parliament or the National Parliaments. Unfortunately, neither the Lisbon Treaty nor the EU Constitution it establishes contain any such proposal.

The peoples of Europe do not want this kind of highly centralized Federal European Union whose most striking feature is that it is run virtually entirely by committees of politicians, bureaucrats and judges, none of whom are directly elected by the people. The Constitutional Treaty setting it up has already been rejected by the French and the Dutch in 2005. As French President Nicolas Sarkozy has admitted, the Prime Ministers and Presidents have agreed among themselves on no account to have referendums on the Renamed Constitutional Treaty, for that would be rejected everywhere again.

Only the Irish are enabled to have their say on it because of the constitutional case taken before the Supreme Court by the late Raymond Crotty. That action by that great Irishman stopped the State's politicians of that time from ratifying a previous European Treaty, the Single European Act, in an unconstitutional manner.
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 12-15-07, 08:04 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
Charlagmane's empire is alive again after 1200 years
al_bundy is offline  
Old 12-15-07, 08:14 AM
  #3  
Moderator
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 32,264
While at the same time, Belgium is falling apart over linguistic differences. It's kind of ironic, seeing that Bruxelles is the capital of Europe.
wendersfan is offline  
Old 12-16-07, 08:19 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Where the sky is always Carolina Blue! (Currently VA - again...)
Posts: 5,167
I think it's been a fairly big deal in the UK as well. The current PM (Brown) promised a referendum (when he took power) on membership in the new "treaty" - much like the one that caused the last version to fail in France, Germany (or Spain - can't remember), etc. Of course he didn't deliver a referendum (currently about 60% of brits were opposed to signing) - and even Sarkozy was determined to push this through France without a repeat of the last one.

I don't see some of the current leaders in Europe remaining in power after the next few general elections as a result of this fallout, but you never know.
Tuan Jim is offline  
Old 12-16-07, 09:49 AM
  #5  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
Originally Posted by wendersfan
While at the same time, Belgium is falling apart over linguistic differences. It's kind of ironic, seeing that Bruxelles is the capital of Europe.

forgot the details

is it the ethnic belgia people and the ethnic french?
al_bundy is offline  
Old 12-16-07, 10:48 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
 
wishbone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 20,505
Originally Posted by al_bundy
forgot the details

is it the ethnic belgia people and the ethnic french?
No More Belgium?
wishbone is offline  
Old 12-16-07, 01:39 PM
  #7  
Moderator
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 32,264
Originally Posted by al_bundy
forgot the details

is it the ethnic belgia people and the ethnic french?
Dutch-speaking Flemish in the north and French-speaking Walloons in the south. Francophone Bruxelles, while an independent political entity, is in (surrounded by) Flanders, and will possibly be made into a city-state like Singapore.
wendersfan is offline  
Old 12-16-07, 04:54 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
When did they change it from Brussels to Bruxelles?
JasonF is offline  
Old 12-16-07, 05:00 PM
  #9  
Moderator
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 32,264
Originally Posted by JasonF
When did they change it from Brussels to Bruxelles?
They didn't. Bruxelles is the French spelling, and the one I tend to use.
wendersfan is offline  
Old 12-18-07, 08:12 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: East County
Posts: 33,102
Originally Posted by wendersfan
Dutch-speaking Flemish in the north and French-speaking Walloons in the south. Francophone Bruxelles, while an independent political entity, is in (surrounded by) Flanders, and will possibly be made into a city-state like Singapore.
How serious are the current disputes? Any more so than previous ones?

This fascinates me as Belgium was probably my favorite destination when I was a kid living in West Germany. Brussels was amazing, particularly the museums. And the people treated Americans better than any other country in Western Europe, imo.
B.A. is offline  
Old 12-18-07, 09:44 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
forgot where i read it, but the way Europe is going it is going to look like the pre-Holy Roman Empire pretty soon with tiny countries all over the place
al_bundy is offline  
Old 12-18-07, 12:02 PM
  #12  
Moderator
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 32,264
Originally Posted by B.A.
How serious are the current disputes? Any more so than previous ones?
It's pretty bad. These linguistic differences have been simmering for about 40 years now, and it seems like it's getting worse and worse all the time. I'm guessing that, with greater European integration, a lot of Belgians seem to think it wouldn't be so bad if the country fell apart. Here are a couple of news stories, one from about two weeks ago, the other from yesterday.

<b><a href = "http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/12/01/belgium.ap/index.html">Belgium crisis grows as talks fail</a></b>

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- Talks aimed at forming a governing coalition in Belgium collapsed on Saturday, more than five months after general elections.
art.leterme.afp.gi.jpg

Yves Leterme had been asked to form a government and become its prime minister.

Yves Leterme, the politician who had been asked to form a government and become its prime minister, resigned his mandate, unable to heal a rift between Dutch-speaking and Francophone parties.

King Albert II accepted the resignation of the Dutch-speaking Christian Democrat leader. It remained unclear what the monarch would do next to resolve one of Belgium's deepest political crises of the past half-century.

Leterme resigned after one of four prospective coalition partners refused to back a plan designed to lead to more autonomy for the country's rival linguistic camps.

Leterme's own Dutch-speaking Christian Democrats backed a plan for a conference of legislators to debate constitutional reforms that would grant more powers to Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. The Liberals on both sides of the linguistic border, which slices Belgium into northern Flanders and southern Wallonia, did too.

But the fourth prospective coalition partner -- the French-speaking Christian Democrats refused to agree.

Christian Democrats and Liberals between them won 81 of the 150 legislative seats in June 10 elections. But their government talks have been mired in linguistic spats, with Francophone politicians resisting demands by Dutch-speakers for more autonomy within the Belgian federation.

Belgium comprises 6 million Dutch-speakers and 4.5 million French-speakers.

The stalemate in government talks stems from fears in Wallonia that granting more powers of self-rule to Belgium's rival regions will dry up the flow of money from prosperous Flanders to Wallonia, Belgium's poorer, Francophone southern half.

Leterme's offer contained a proposal to have the constitutional reform convention consider shifting social security and taxation from the federal to the regional governments.

In Wallonia, tinkering with social security has long been seen as eroding the principle that the rich pay more to support the poor.

The call for more self-rule in Flanders has become increasingly loud in the past 20 years under pressure from the rise of the far-right Flemish Interest Party, which polled 19 percent of the vote in June. Its anti-immigrant, pro-independence views have pushed mainstream parties to the right, even forcing Leterme's long dominant Christian Democrats into an alliance with a small nationalist party.

There is no deadline for concluding government talks.

Linguistic disputes have long dominated Belgian politics. Regional autonomy has been granted step-by-step over the past three decades but there has never been a debate as fierce and divisive as the one that has surfaced in the past six months, with politicians openly debating the possibility of Belgium's breakup.

Until a new government can take office, the outgoing center-left government has stayed on in a caretaker capacity.
<a href = "http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/17/europe/belgium.php"><b>Belgian king moves to ease political crisis</a></b>
By Stephen Castle
Published: December 17, 2007

BRUSSELS: Lacking a government for more than six months, King Albert II on Monday turned to the man who lost the last elections, Guy Verhofstadt, asking him to help Belgium out of its protracted political crisis by forming a temporary government.

Verhofstadt, who has been a caretaker since June when talks on forming a new coalition began, accepted the job but said he did not want to remain in power beyond March 23, 2008.

Tensions between Flemish and French speakers are at the heart of the impasse and have provoked speculation about an eventual breakup of the country. A majority of the 10.5 million Belgians are Dutch-speakers and live in Flanders while a sizable minority of Francophones live in the poorer south of the country.

The latest political maneuvers came as the country's linguistic battle even engulfed its annual beauty contest.

The new Miss Belgium, Alizée Poulicek, 20, was booed after she failed to answer a question in Dutch and switched instead to French during the contest in Antwerp, a stronghold of Flemish nationalism. Poulicek, who also speaks English and Czech, told VRT television that she would try to learn more Dutch.

Because many powers have devolved to regional governments, the lack of a federal government has so far had a limited impact on most citizens.

But the political paralysis has blocked decision-making on some economic and social policies.

Thousands of trade union members marched Saturday to protest the failure of politicians to form a government and tackle rising fuel and food prices.

After a meeting with the king on Monday, Verhofstadt issued a statement accepting the task of forming a government because of the "gravity of the situation in which our country finds itself."

Providing he can assemble the necessary support, Verhofstadt will head a government until March when he plans to hand over to Yves Leterme, the leader of the Flemish center right who emerged in the strongest position after the elections in June.

It remained uncertain whether the initiative Monday would break the deadlock. "It is not clear how this government will be formed and it is not clear whether the next government in March will be a strong one or simply another temporary administration running up to the next elections in 2009," said Caroline Sägesser, a researcher at the Centre de Recherche et d'Information Socio-Politique in Brussels.

Despite the acute tensions between the two communities, there is no majority for a breakup of Belgium, according to an opinion poll conducted for RTL-TVI and La Libre Belgique.

"The question is: What will be left at the federal level?" Sägesser said.

"Maybe just foreign affairs, defense and justice so that the federal government becomes a shell."
wendersfan is offline  
Old 12-18-07, 03:11 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: East County
Posts: 33,102
thanks, wenders.
B.A. is offline  
Old 01-27-08, 07:58 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,921
Interesting piece here on the methods being used to avoid national referendums:



Despotism in the European Parliament

Posted by Daniel Hannan on 25 Jan 2008 at 13:45


I thought that, after eight years in the European Parliament, nothing could shock me any more. I was wrong.


The Parliament is seeking to override its own rules

Yesterday, the President of the Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, asked for, and was granted, arbitrary powers to suspend the rules of the institution in order to disadvantage the tiny number of MEPs who want a referendum on the [European Constitution] Lisbon Treaty.

I have come to expect hypersensitivity to criticism, flouting of rules, intolerance of dissent, authoritarianism. But nothing had prepared me for such blatancy.

Hans-Gert openly admitted that the behaviour of his Euro-sceptic opponents was within the rules. And he wasn’t asking to change those rules – a procedure that would take time. No, he simply wanted permission to disregard them. Permission was duly granted, by 20 committee votes to 3.

Hans-Gert’s letter is worth quoting in full:

Dear Mr Leinen, [Jo Leinen, a German Socialist, is Chairman of the Constitutional Affairs Committee]

In the course of the current part session, Parliament was confronted on several occasions with procedural requests which were formally based on and fulfilled the requirements of a provision of the Rules of Procedure, but which according to the full conviction of myself and of other Members of the House were moved with the intention of obstructing the procedures of the House.

I take the view that my overall responsibility for the implementation of the Rules of Procedure and the powers conferred on me by Rule 19 include the power not to allow such practices.

I should therefore be grateful if, pursuant to Rule 201(1), you could submit to the Committee on Constitutional Affairs the following question for urgent consideration:

‘Can Rule 19(1) be interpreted as meaning that the powers conferred by this Rule include the power to call an end to excessive use of motions such as points of order, procedural motions, explanations of vote and excessive, indiscriminate requests for separate, split or roll call votes where these appear to the President to be aimed at deliberately disrupting the procedures of the House or the rights of other Members.’

I would appreciate it if I could have your Committee’s interpretation before the opening of the next part session.


*************

I haven’t made this up: you can see a copy of the original letter over at England Expects.

Re-read the letter slowly. Hans-Gert accepts that our demands for electronic votes and for the right to explain how we voted were perfectly legal. But he does not ask for the rules to be changed. He asks for the right to ignore them at his own discretion – that is, to ignore such requests when they come from Euro-sceptics.

His fig-leaf – more of a strawberry-leaf, really – is Rule 19 (1). This, too, is worth quoting:

“The President shall direct all the activities of the Parliament and its bodies under the conditions laid down in these Rules. He shall enjoy all the powers necessary to preside over the proceedings of Parliament and to ensure that they are properly conducted.” (Emphasis added)

In other words, the President is bound by Rule 19 to uphold the Rules of Procedure, not allowed to set them aside as he pleases.

The whole business is outrageous. I am almost tempted to compare it to the Nazi Ermächtigungsgesetz – the Enabling Act of 1933 which allowed Hitler to override parliament and the constitution. But I won’t because a) it would be disproportionate and b) it would be terrifically rude to Hans-Gert, who lost his father in the war and who, for all that he is behaving appallingly on this occasion, is a decent man and a democrat. Which is why I am so disappointed in him. He, of all people, should be alive to the dangers of assuming discretionary powers in order to bulldozer the law.

Let me instead quote the grand-daddy of British resistance against Euro-totalitarianism, Edmund Burke. What most bothered him about the French Revolution, more than its republicanism, its atheism, its threat to the peace of Europe, was that it owned itself bound by no law.

“They must be worse than blind who cannot see with what undeviating regularity of system, in this case and in all cases, they pursue their scheme for the destruction of every independent power,” he wrote in his Letters on a Regicide Peace. “Their will is the law, not only at home, but as to the concerns of every nation. They have swept aside the very constitutions under which Legislatures acted and the Laws were made.”

Eerily prescient, no? And what has driven the European Parliament to these lengths? What has provoked them to tear up their own rules? A massive filibuster that was preventing them from passing any Bills? Hardly.

As loyal readers of this blog will know, the President of the European Parliament already enjoys considerable discretionary powers. But MEPs have two rights that even he cannot override: we can demand that votes be counted electronically rather than by a show-of-hands (a slightly slower procedure, but a more accurate one, and one that allows everyone to see how their MEPs voted); and we can ask for the right to explain, in not more than one minute, why we voted as we did.

A handful of pro-referendum MEPs – souverainistes from Poland and France, Scandinavian Left-wingers, UKIP and Conservatives from Britain, along with Jim Allister from Northern Ireland, the most honest man in Unionist politics – decided to make full use of both procedures in order to protest about the cancellation of the promised referendums and the implementation of large parts of the constitution in anticipation of formal ratification. I have been ending every speech, in a playful echo of Cato’s “Delenda Est Carthago", with “Pacto Olisipiensis Censenda Est” – The Lisbon Treaty must be Put to the Vote.

Two dozen MEPs making a series of one minute speeches hardly constitutes a filibuster. At worst, we would have kept MEPs from their lunch for half an hour and perhaps delayed the start of the afternoon session. But even this is intolerable to the parliamentary authorities. Blinded by their resentment of “anti-Europeans”, which is in turn a surrogate for the fear and contempt they feel for their own electorates, they have abandoned any pretence at legality in order to prevent us making our point in the chamber. The very sound of someone calling for a referendum is offensive to their guilty ears. The sight of even so moderate and respectable an MEP as Kathy Sinnot, an Irish disability rights campaigner, wearing a tee-shirt with the word “REFERENDUM” has led to her being summoned for disciplinary action.

What they really hate, my federalist colleagues, is being reminded of the fact that they all supported referendums until it became clear they would lose them. We are their bad consciences, the ghosts at their feast.


To prolong the Macbeth reference a little, the shocking thing about their behaviour is not that they are trying to silence their critics, nor even that they are breaking the rules – after all, they are doing so on a much grander scale by reviving the constitution following two “No” votes. No, the breath-taking aspect of the whole business is that they haven’t troubled to hide the illegality of what they’re doing. They’ve happily put it all on paper. As Lady Macbeth puts it:

“What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?”

But there comes a point when the arrogance of power, the sense that there is one rule for the elites and one for everyone else, becomes intolerable. A point where Birnam Wood starts advancing on Dunsinane. By behaving as they have, MEPs have brought forward that moment.

It is now clear that the constitution has no legitimacy. It is becoming clear, too that the European Parliament has lost whatever shreds of legitimacy it might once have had. So let me close with another prescient quotation from Burke:

“Who that admires, and from the heart is attached, to true national parliaments, but must turn in horror and disgust from such a profane burlesque and parody of that sacred institution.”


Posted by Daniel Hannan on 25 Jan 2008 at 13:45

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/politic...parliament.htm

Daniel Hannan is a Daily Telegraph leader writer and Conservative MEP for South East England. He has written seven publications on the EU, and was the first person in Britain to campaign for a referendum on the European Constitution. He contributes regularly to a number of Continental newspapers.

Last edited by Ky-Fi; 01-27-08 at 08:03 AM.
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 01-27-08, 08:21 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
that's awesome, it's just like star wars
al_bundy is offline  
Old 01-27-08, 11:43 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,921
Originally Posted by al_bundy
that's awesome, it's just like star wars

I was gonna post a clip from the movie, but this guy is better :


<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/h4PosO7GFY4&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/h4PosO7GFY4&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 02-19-08, 05:25 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Ky-Fi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Posts: 10,921
All right, the music might be a little overly dramatic, but there's some nice passionate speeches in here in favor of letting the European people have a vote on the treaty. And one guy even uses the "I am Spartacus!" line

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/qkHK_EFfTCM&rel=1&border=0"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/qkHK_EFfTCM&rel=1&border=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent"width="425" height="355"></embed></object>
Ky-Fi is offline  
Old 02-19-08, 06:01 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk God
 
kvrdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 86,200
Quite interesting.
kvrdave is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.