Sunday, December 14, 2008

President Klaus and the Lisbon Constitutional Treaty

I have to say that I was not surprised to read of treatment received by President Klaus of the Czech Republic in the EU Parliament. Christopher Booker today asks his readers to imagine the EU demanding the Queen fly the Ring of Stars flag next to the Royal Standard.

I first saw this story regarding the EU's chiding of President Klaus on Bruno Waterfield's blog on the DT.

So what is President Klaus's great crime? It was he, as Prime Minister that sought to take the Czech Republic into the EU in the Post Soviet era. From what I can tell, President Klaus's fault is that he will not toe the line and help roll in the EU Superstate across continental Europe.

Back in June, right after the Irish had voted NO to the Lisbon Treaty, a regular blog respondent on the DT's blog, called TBW, posted the Email address of Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Jiri Weigl, Chancellor of the Office of President Vaclav Klaus on a comment thread where Daniel Hannan was reminding us that There is nothing nice about Europhiles. A number of people, including myself, took up TBW's request that we all email to offer our support to the leadership and people of the Czech Republic.

So, on a quite busy work day I cleared a few moments and typed out some thoughts and feelings and clicked send. Of course, I felt that would be the end of it; after all I can only imagine how many emails these offices must receive in a normal day, let alone during appeals for people to email going out on the internet.

Here is the email I sent...

Mr President,
Prime Minister,

You must be receiving increasing email traffic today and over the weekend, I am sure that many people have come to realise that the fate of democracy is in your hands this week. I will try to keep this communication short, which is difficult when addressing a matter of such great concern.

I write to you as a subject of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I assume from next year I will no longer be considered as such, but I will be a citizen of Europe . This is not a prospect I look forward to. I am not a person of influence or wealth, but my birth in the UK allowed me to be born to a free society where I received education and a healthy upbringing. I am today writing to you about my concern.
Last week the Irish electorate said No to the Lisbon Treaty, you are aware of course that they are the only electorate to be consulted on this matter. Their voice should not be ignored.

The course of the European EU project is about to reach a very critical juncture where by it must be decided whom has the control and the real power of the EU. At the moment, it is not the citizens of Europe, and you will be familiar that the participating Nation-States are having their influence eroded too.

Sirs, I put it to you that you are in a uniquely historic position. The Constitutional Treaty must not be allowed to pass in its current form. It is a tool for the destruction of the individual nation states, and a symbol of new European Imperialism.

Speaking as someone from the UK, the EU is unpopular here, and this Constitutional Treaty even more so. Yet, we have not been consulted by popular vote whether we as a nation wish to surrender yet more control to the EU state. In fact, outside of Ireland there has been no popular consultation.
Sirs, this is not a Constitution that enshrines freedom on its citizens like the US model. Let me be so bold as to remind you of how the US decided to frame such a mandate, its opening line being:

“We the people of the United States , in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for a common defense, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America .”

Having reviewed the EU Treaty, I see no wish to “secure the Blessing of Liberty” upon the Citizens of the EU, the form in which it takes is that which suits lawyers and Bureaucrats enslave a common purpose and agenda upon all citizens of the EU.

It is perhaps ironic that the governments of the Central and Eastern European States that have so recently thrown of the yolk of Communist Rule from the East may be able to secure such essential freedoms for the people of the West now. I implore that you do not lead us into the same threat, but that is what this Constitutional treaty represents. The EU is not freedom enshrined it will inevitably lead to freedoms and people enslaved.

Sirs, you need no lectures from me on freedom and democracy. However, I implore you to consider the individual liberties your citizens will fore go and reduced control of The Czech Republic will have within the EU.

This treaty has no legitimate mandate, the Irish have voted no, they should not be punished and “left behind” the EU must respect the wishes of its voters, to not do so shows contempt upon the people they claim to represent. To seek to press on will undermine and authority the EU has and in the long run will provide a platform for dissent and rebellion within Continental Europe, that could bring about a future conflict.

Europe needs it leaders to speak out about individual Liberty and Freedom, not centralise and surrender it hard fought sovereignty.

Should M. Sarkosy or Ms Merkel, or Mr Brown come to you and insist that this Treaty moves forward, please say no. Please point out that such control over the citizens of the EU should have no ambiguity on its legitimacy. If they insist that this will damage Europe , they are trying to coerce your influence through mis-truth and suggestion. Europe will be stronger when its people are freer. M. Sarkosys people also said “non” in 2005 and Mr Brown and Ms Merkel were to scared to put this question to their own electorate.

Finally, Sirs, I would also beg of you that for this or any resembling treaty in the future, you consider putting this to referenda of your own people and allowing for open, public debate.

I thank you for taking the time to read this.

Regards

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So I was of course delightfully surprised and humbled when I received a reply from Jiri Brodsky one day later.

Dear Daniel

Thank you for your kind letter addressed to President Klaus. President Klaus read your letter personally and asked me to reply to you.

I agree with you fully that the voice of the Irish electorate should not be ignored. The European Union must not be based on ignoring its own democratic principles. The Lisbon Treaty was democratically and convincingly rejected by Ireland, so it cannot come into force. Any attempt to neglect this fact and push the Treaty through by political pressure and manipulation is disastrous for the future of the integration process. I hope that people in Ireland, Great Britain and in other countries across the EU will not allow for that. Therefore I consider your voice so important. I can assure you that President Klaus’s response is resolute and it is the following: the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty cannot be continued and the will of the Irish electorate must be respected.

President Klaus will continue to speak about individual liberty and freedom, and also about the Czech historical experience with different kinds of forced integration. Seeing some reactions of the EU member states’ leaders gathering at the European Council summit, and suggesting that the Irish vote needs to be “repaired”, I am tempted to use the same adjective before the word “integration” today.

Below, I attach the translation of President Klaus’s interview with Lidove noviny which I hope will be of interest to you.

With all best wishes

Jiri Brodsky

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What do you think about the Irish NO?
The whole of Europe should thank the Irish people for slowing down the current erroneous processes towards more unification, towards the suppression of nation states, towards a ‘Europe of regions’, and towards greater centralization from above, which the Lisbon Treaty embodied. The referendum was a perfect example of what ordinary people think about this development – at odds with the EU-supporting politicians whose motivation lies elsewhere. I thanked a few Irish personally.


What does the Irish NO mean for the fate of the Lisbon Treaty in your view? What impact will it have on the EU as a whole?
I cannot imagine any development other than recognition of the fact that this is not the way to go. Let’s seek a European model different from a supranational state with its centre in Brussels. Let’s go back to a community of friendly, effectively cooperating states. Let’s keep most of the competencies on the level of states. We should let people living on the European continent be Czechs, Poles, Italians, Danes, and not make Europeans of them. That is a flawed project. The difference between a Czech, a Pole, an Italian and a Dane (as random examples) and a European is akin to the difference between Czech, Polish, Danish languages and Esperanto. ‘Europeanness’ is Esperanto: an artificial, dead language.

What follows from the Irish NO for the Czech Republic? Should we continue preparing for ratification under these circumstances, or is it no longer necessary? The British, for instance, have declared that they are going to continue the ratification process regardless of the results in Ireland...
Ratification cannot be continued, the Treaty can no longer enter into force. To continue as though nothing has happened would be pure hypocrisy. This would be more significant news about the ‘state of the Union’ than the Irish NO. The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic ended last Friday. To pretend something else is undignified – at least if we presume to live in a world where one plus one equals two. I don’t think the British themselves declared anything; it was the Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown who made a declaration. British democracy is much more complex.

Does the Irish NO change your attitude towards the possibility of holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic? And if so, how?
There is now no need to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in our country as there is nothing to vote on. The only possible question would be: ‘Do you, the Czechs, want the Irish to vote again and differently?’ It is not about us today.


Should the European Union attempt to create an entirely new document in the wake of the Irish NO, instead of dusting the Treaty off or revising it?A document is only ever the last step. We need a new perception of the European integration process. It is necessary to explicitly refuse the post-Maastricht development towards an ever closer union. The resulting document must be written on a different basis and by different people.
It cannot be written by a German politician who thinks in federalist terms and has been in the European Parliament for the past 30 years. Nor can it be written by a French politician for whom ‘Europeanisation’ is a way to increase the greatness and the importance of France, or by a representative of a country which wants to find solutions to some of its historical traumas ‘via Europe’.
What is needed is detached consideration about the correct administration of ‘public goods’ – which of them belong at the level of towns, regions and states and which at the level of the continent. And above all, which of them do not belong anywhere, because the issue is not public but ‘private good’, which must remain subject to the decision-making of free individuals.

What impact will the Irish decision have on the Czech EU Presidency in 2009?We will have a few more competences than we would have had had the Lisbon Treaty been in force. The Treaty substantially weakened the states and therefore also the presidency of any one of them. But let us not live in illusions. I know well that the entire concept of a rotating presidency is, to a certain extent, just playing at real democracy.

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So President Klaus feels that the Irish vote must be respected and that the Lisbon Treaty cannot be ratified without their consent. Because of the Irish NO vote the Lisbon Treaty is in effect NULL and VOID; it cannot be brought into force without all member states ratifying it. Ireland has said NO, the Czech Republic has not ratified, yet, but then again neither has Germany. They need Irland to vote again for a yes vote.

But why the poor treatment in the EU Parliament?

The EU's Parliament does not like President Klaus because he has spoken out against "Europeanism" and "NGOism"

They do not like President Klaus, or Mr Professor, because he has received more than 50 Honourary Degrees since 1990, published over 20 books on various social, economic and political issues as well as publishing articles in the Libertarian free-market Cato Journal.

They do not like President Klaus because he promotes free-market principles.The do not like President Klaus because he does not subscribe to their doctrine on climate change. They presumably did not like that he has offered to publically debate the matter with Al Gore. An invitation that as I understand has still not been accepted.

So I ask you one question. If the EU Parliament does not like President Klaus. If they can find only contempt for a man of honour and history; what do YOU suppose their opinion is of ordinary people like you and me?

If you would like to also email President Klaus office to offer your support, then email Jiri Brodsky at Jiri.Brodsky@hrad.cz

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