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Our future under a ratified Lisbon Treaty – I.

category national | eu | opinion/analysis author Friday May 23, 2008 13:16author by Howard Holby Report this post to the editors

"Democracy means having the choice. Dictatorship means being given the choice." (Jeannine Luczak)

One of the main conclusions of our former publication [1] have been that the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is in effect new elections in Ireland. The issue of the Lisbon referendum is of even higher relevance than parliamentary elections, because the decision on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty is not merely to elect temporary representatives into the next term of the government and the parliament, but - upon transferring the current powers of the nation state of Ireland to the federal state in Brussels – it is a decision on accepting or rejecting the permanent construction of a new federal government and parliament. Without publicising this fact the ongoing government campaign to promote a ‘yes’ vote on the referendum amounts to the deprivation of the voters of their most fundamental democratic right to meaningful elections. The present study offers further evidence for the above statements by revealing the general erosion of democracy in the countries targeted by the Lisbon process.


Part I.
1. Our last defence against Lisbon: restoring the conceptual pillars of democracy
2. The collapse of democracy through the collapse of domestic and international laws

Part II.
3. The collapse of democracy through the collapse of meaningful elections

Part III.
4. Our future under a ratified Lisbon Treaty: no sovereignty, no freedom
5. Our future under a ratified Lisbon Treaty: no choice of systems = system of no choices
6. Our future under a ratified Lisbon Treaty: spinning into the dark


Part I.

1. Our last defence against Lisbon: restoring the conceptual pillars of democracy

Whenever the conceptual adequacy underlying a statement is not fulfilled or some of the key semantic elements of a concept are missing, the very meaning of the concept is lost and the term in any language that is used to denote the concept becomes an empty label. Accordingly, if the concept of democracy is not realised in a society, the term “democracy” is degraded into an empty and content-free character string, and as such may be applied to any political system of any country, including those properly identified as dictatorial regimes. However, the EU, even in the Lisbon Treaty claims the following:

1. The Union’s action on the international scene shall be guided by the principles which have inspired its own creation, development and enlargement, and which it seeks to advance in the wider world: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.

The conceptual analysis of democracy, the rule of law and the examination of the extent to which these concepts are realised in practice have become our last defence against the power-grab performed by the political class of Europe under the Lisbon process. Instead of the approach of legality when being confronted with the issue of the Lisbon Treaty, the objective definition of democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law have remained our last resort to preserve the freedom of Europe.

Before moving to the main discussion of this study we emphasise again the constitutional identity of the Lisbon Treaty. The point in emphasising the fact that the Lisbon Treaty is a constitution of the federal state of the EU is to highlight that a “yes” referendum would mean the loss of national sovereignty of Ireland and of all EU-states, in economical, political, social, military and other aspects.

“Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty would transform the EU from a European federation of states, into a federal state, one in which state power no longer derives from the people—as is required by our Basic Law—but rather from the EU itself.”
“Professor Schachtschneider comments on this: “The simplified revision procedure is the farthest-reaching transference of constitutional sovereignty to the European Council, the leaders of the Union. It does not even require the approval of the European Parliament, not to mention national parliaments. This general clause is an essential component of the existential statehood of the European Union—a statehood which is to be expanded by this treaty reform. By means of this empowerment, the EU will gain the most far-reaching constitutional sovereignty, without having been democratically legitimized to do so—certainly not by some Union citizenry endowed with original sovereignty.”

The fact that the Lisbon Treaty is the EU’s federal constitution has been proven from two directions 1) by providing detailed comparison to demonstrate the identity [3] between the Lisbon Treaty and the former EU Constitution, which, as its name suggests, was considered a new constitution for a federal Europe, and 2) by conceptual maps between a generic constitution and the Lisbon Treaty [4, 5]

It has been proven by prior analysis that the Lisbon Treaty is a written set of doctrines and practices that form the fundamental organising principle of a political state, with provisions to specify how the EU-state as a federal government is to be organised, what rights it shall have, and what voting and other rights shall be retained by the people. It lays down the provisions for the political organisation of the EU-member states and the functions of the institutions of a new government in Brussels. [4] According to prominent academic professionals of the National Platform:
“The new European Union will have its own government, with a legislative, executive and judicial arm, its own political President, its own citizens and citizenship, its own human and civil rights code, its own currency, economic policy and revenue, its own international treaty-making powers, foreign policy, foreign minister, diplomatic corps and United Nations voice, its own crime and justice code and Public Prosecutor. It already possesses such normal State symbols as its own flag, anthem, motto and annual official holiday.”
“Working under the central command of the Commission we find the Cabinet Government of the new Union: the European Council with a selected (not-elected) President. “The Treaty turns the European Council, the quarterly “summit” meetings of Member State Heads of State or Government, into an institution of the new Union, so that its acts and failures to act will, like all other Union institutions, be subject to legal review by the EU Court of Justice. Legally speaking these summit meetings of the European Council will no longer be “intergovernmental” gatherings of Prime Ministers and Presidents outside supranational European structures. As part of the new EU´s institutional framework, they will instead be constitutionally required to “promote the Union’s values, advance its objectives, serve its interests” and “ensure the consistency, effectiveness and continuity of its policies and actions.” (Art. 9 amended TEU). They will also “define the general political direction and priorities thereof” (Art.9b). The European Council thus becomes in effect the Cabinet Government of the new Federal EU, and its individual members will be primarily obliged to represent the Union to their Member States rather than their Member States to the Union.”

After the ratification of the Treaty the actual governmental and parliamentary functions currently performed by the national state offices would be transferred to the respective EU-institutions. The process of the transfer would not necessarily be rapid and spectacular, although it will have to be completed within the given election cycle, in order to exploit the existing unanimous agreement among the national and the federal lead at any point in time. Regardless of the length of time span, sooner or later the transfer of the state functions to Brussels would leave Ireland in the status of “a sub-partial legal entity, and in effect Ireland, like the other EU-states, will lose the core of their existential statehood, and will be relegated to being mere regional administrative bodies.” [2]

In the next parts of the article detailed evidence will be provided that under the current politics implemented by the European political class the very conceptual basis of democracy is being pre-empted, primarily through pre-emptying the democratic meaning of the rule of law.

2. The collapse of democracy through the collapse of domestic and international laws
“The will of the people is the best law.” (Ulysses S. Grant)

Further to the main points so far elaborated on the Lisbon process [6] it should also be pointed out that the expected insufficiency of any legal approach regarding the Lisbon Treaty is due to the common underlying false reasoning that any parliamentary decision should be considered acceptable if it does not contradict the law. The embedded circular reasoning in the law-based argument is that something is legal because it is "legal". The contradiction in such reasoning can be captured through the fact that the law itself and the interpretation thereof can be pliable to support what is against the law. However, what is superior to the adherence to the letter of the law is to avoid that the letter of the law would be crafted to foster an undemocratic political-legal system:

“If political liberty or the duty to obey the law depends on actual obedience by state officials it becomes necessary to examine if it is true that obedience to the superior rules by state officials is a guarantee of political liberty and if it is true that state officials obey the law rather than basing their decisions on their own personal preferences.” [7]

For this reason the reliance on technical details of the law itself rather than capturing the conceptually substantiated democratic and constitutional requirements of the law and its interpretation, could leave a wide gap between the law and the very meaning of the rule of law.

“The rule of law is among the essential pillars upon which any high-quality democracy rests. What is needed is a truly democratic rule of law that ensures political rights civil liberties and mechanisms of accountability which in turn affirm the political equality of all citizens and constrain potential abuses of state power... Without a vigorous rule of law defended by an independent judiciary, rights are not safe and the equality and dignity of all citizens are at risk. Only under a democratic rule of law will the various agencies of electoral, societal and horizontal accountability function effectively without obstruction and intimidation from powerful state actors. And only when the rule of law bolsters these democratic dimensions of rights equality and accountability will the responsiveness of government to the interests and needs of the greatest number of citizens be achieved.” [8]

Regarding responsiveness and accountability, which are other essential pillars of parliamentary legitimacy: “The assumption underlying this argument is that administrative authority must ultimately be grounded in popular sovereignty vested in the elected political leadership. This means that accountability is to the elected rulers a thesis that emanates from a mandate theory of legitimacy. In this formulation accountability can be little distinguished if at all from total administrative responsiveness to the present set of rules.” [9]

Regretfully the main political trends in the EU countries appear to continuously justify the concerns regarding the abolition of the rule of law in the “democracies” of Europe under the ongoing pressure of Lisbon. The national parliaments are performing a radical shift toward parliamentary dictatorship disguised as “parliamentary democracy”. It has become virtually futile to refer to domestic or any law under the current circumstances, in which state officials - on both member state levels and federal EU-level - are altering the fundamental laws rather than obeying them. In lack of truly independent courts to secure the constitutional conditions of the performance of the national parliaments, the political system in Europe has become what political theory calls “constitutional dictatorship”. Citing the great Italian scholar, Sartori on the constitutional dictatorship: “the dictator is legibus solutus, above the law, he is not limited by law. It is without substance to claim that a legal system can be effective in recalling a dictator if it is the dictator himself who exercises constitutional powers.” [10]

Similarly to the unconstitutional and undemocratic practices of the national parliaments in most of the member states to adjust the domestic law to serve the interests of the EU-federalism, rather than obeying the national laws, the very same deviation from the extant basis of the law can be captured on an international level. The Lisbon Treaty itself, specifically, Declaration 17. reveals this:
“At the time of the first judgment of this established case law … there was no mention of primacy in the treaty. It is still the case today. The fact that the principle of primacy will not be included in the future treaty shall not in any way change the existence of the principle and the existing case-law of the Court of Justice.” (FINAL ACT (2007/C 306/02): 17. Declaration concerning primacy)

First, this reasoning is a profoundly dishonest way to make a legally binding statement by avoiding including such statement in the treaty in a straightforward fashion.

Second, the primacy of the Union law determines the overall primacy of the Union over the member states, because the law making (legislative) and law enforcing functions are the very basis of all other state functions, and it is the primacy of the law that will ultimately determine the control of one political unit over another in every possible aspect: the political, financial, economical, social, etc.

Third, according to this declaration it is not necessary to stipulate the primacy of the Union law in the present and the future EU-treaties, because the primacy of the Union law is already in effect. This declaration clearly claims that the EU has been following and will follow the practice of placing the Union law above national laws without existing contractual basis. By such a statement the EU has admitted that it has been continually breaching international laws by positioning itself with sovereign legal functions above other sovereign countries without any prior international agreements. In essence, this declaration attempts to legalise what is illegal by retrospectively legalising former illegal acts of arbitrarily overriding existing international agreements, and it is an attempt to maintain legality of the current illegal status quo, claiming that this practice will remain in place, despite the fact that the lack of contractual basis is still the case.

"The End of National Sovereignty
And in fact, what emerges from the declarations issued by the conference of governments concerning the reform treaty, is that henceforth, the Union's laws are to be given precedence over those of the member-states. In Declaration 27, it says explicitly: "The conference points out that the treaties, and the laws set into place by the Union on the basis of those treaties, in harmony with current ongoing jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and under the conditions defined by that ongoing jurisdiction, have precedence over the laws of the member-states."
And in an opinion issued by the Legal Service of the European Commission on June 22, 2007, it says: "According to European Court of Justice ongoing jurisdiction, the precedence of EU law is one of the the pillars of the law of the Union.... The fact that this principle of precedence is not incorporated into the future treaty, does not alter the fact of its existence, nor of the existing ongoing jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice." Come again? EU law has precedence over German law, but that's not even part of the treaty? And just in order to find this radical revision, one must look it up in the Declarations, and then, just to be sure, look it up once again in a court opinion, which states why this principle doesn't appear in the treaty text, but is in force nevertheless?

Urging the ratification – either with or without referendums – of an international treaty that contains such provision is by itself the abolition of the very basis of the international law. Elimination of the guiding principles of international laws on constitutional and sovereignty-related terms, such as arbitrarily overruling the laws of sovereign countries, entails a serious international conflict and is already a valid basis for an international litigation case against the evidently unjust and unlawful practices of the Court of Justice.

(to be continued)


[1] “What does the government hide by hiding the Lisbon Treaty?”

[2] Helga Zepp-LaRouche: “Abolishing Democracy by Stealth:
Constitution for Feudalism in Europe”

[3] Comparison of the Lisbon Treaty and the former EU Constitution:
Jens-Peter Bonde’s book on the Lisbon Treaty:
Index with more than 3,000 alphabetical entries to search the Lisbon Treaty by topics:

[4] “Ireland: a vital fact proven; the Lisbon Treaty is a constitution”
(Conceptual map: the Lisbon Treaty is a constitution)

[5] “These Boots Are Gonna Walk All Over You”
An analysis by Prof. Anthony Coughlan

[6] “Summary of the Lisbon Treaty research”

[7] Adam Przeworski, José María Maravall: “Democracy and the Rule of Law”, Cambridge University Press; 1 edition, p. 96, Jul 21 2003)

[8] Larry Jay Diamond, Leonardo Morlino: “Assessing the Quality of Democracy” Johns Hopkins University Press, November 2005)

[9] Helen. Desfosses, Abdo I. Baaklini: “Designs for Democratic Stability: Studies in Viable Constitutionalism” (M.E. Sharpe, February 1997)

[10] Giovanni Sartori: “Dittatura, in Elementi di teoria politica”, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1987, 51–87.

[11] “Assessing Alternative Indices of Democracy” by Axel Hadenius from the Uppsala University and Jan Teorell from Göteborg University, (The Committee on Concepts and Methods, International Political Science Association Teaching and Research in the Social Sciences, August 2005)

[12] "The main constitutional aspect of constitutionalisation"

[13] “Cowen to kick out FF treaty ‘rebels’”

[14] Encyclopædia Britannica

[15] “Lisbon Treaty explained by political science: an equivalent of coup d’état”

[16] The institutional construction and decision mechanisms of the EU are similar to the ex-communist regimes, such as the former USSR:
“Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship”

[17] “Lisbon campaigners clash on neutrality”

[18] “Top Reasons to Vote NO to Lisbon Treaty”

Other sources:

“Defend Sovereignty - Neutrality - Democracy: Vote No to Lisbon!”

“Voting No for a reason: Lisbon Treaty OR a Europe of democracy”

Bonde’s Briefing 19.12.07: Born in sun and sin
"The EU’s Prime Ministers met Thursday 13 December 2007 11.30 in Lisbon to solemnly sign the Lisbon Treaty which none of them has had time to read.
The text has on purpose been made totally unreadable, and the numbering system has been changed time and time again, Bonde, who was present at the signing ceremony, writes."


Leading politicians on the identity between the Lisbon Treaty and the former EU Constitution:
“EU Empire - Lisbon Treaty / EU Constitution”

Popular sovereignty is abolished and the principle of unanimity is breached by the EU - by dropping the results of the former referendums of the French and the Dutch peoples:
“European Parliament: Members’ Protest - 12.12.2007”

Parliamentary democracy and rule of law are abolished by the EU:
“Power Grab by EU Parliament President (updated)”

Nigel Farage’s speech in the European Parliament after the power-grab:
“Ireland's call - Vote no to Lisbon”

Movie on the Lisbon Treaty: “End of Nations - EU Takeover & the Lisbon Treaty”

“Video on the Irish campaign by the ERC2:”

Nigel Farage reveals the past of the Commission members:
“Nigel Farage on who’s who in the EU commission”

“The Lisbon Treaty: Ireland Speaks For Democracy”

“Too COSI: what are they hiding? (on the EU’s Standing Committee on Internal Security)”

“Demand a Referendum on EU Lisbon Treaty”
article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche

The Lisbon Treaty is the milestone of a gradual process of absorbing the sovereignty of Europe’s nations, according to the professors of Vienna University:
“EuropeNews: “10,000 demanding referendum on Lisbon Treaty”

“Free Europe”

“Wrong Man, wrong Europe”
An article by Susan George, the board chair of the Transnational Institute and honorary president of Attac France

BBC UK: The European Parliament’s decision on not publicising the audit report on a series of abuses of staff allowances:
“MEPs keep 'fraud' report secret”

“The Result of European Unification Will be War”

“A Business View: A Bad Deal for Ireland and Europe”

“Data Watchdog Questions EU's Controversial Fingerprint Plan”

Related Link: http://howardh.wordpress.com/
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