Even now the EU Constitutional project, that has struggled over the last few years and will come to fruition today, the 1st December, is beginning the start of its disintegration. The machinations of the last two months following the Irish referendum result reveal everything that is wrong with an EU, dominated by a political elite and directed by a France-German axis. Objections to the Lisbon Treaty identified by the NO campaigners in Ireland and dismissed as dishonest will be subject to the test of time. As each of those issues come to a head and are revealed to prove the warnings to be right, it will not just be a matter of saying “we told you so”.
Research conducted after the Referendum showed that voters who had previously voted No and switched to vote Yes were not really in support of the Lisbon Treaty, but switched due to a sense of economic vulnerability. Only 17% of the Yes voters thought that the treaty was good for the EU. Suprisingly the 18-24 year old age group were the biggest supporters of the No campaign. Although the No Campaigns, especially Coir, fought a magnificent campaign they were the victims of a bias that favoured the Yes campaigns. RTE provided more coverage for the Yes Campaign and the European Commission interfered illegally. The Yes campaigns were able to massively outspend the No campaigns with Dublin buses carrying advertisements for a Yes vote and Ryanair had one of their planes repainted with a Yes vote livery. Despite this the deciding factor was fear arising from the consequences of the collapse of the Irish economy.
Immediately following the announcement of the result pressure was exerted by the European Commission on the Polish President to ratify the Treaty, which he did within a week. Then it was the turn of the Czech President to be pressured; Vaclav Klaus held out for a month and only signed after the Czech Constitutional Court decided that the Treaty did not violate the Czech Constitution and he received guarantees that the Czechs would obtain an opt out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It was the Germans who created this last obstacle by raising the prospect that Germans expelled from the Sudetenland might be able to reclaim their lost lands under the Charter. This then prompted the Slovakians and the Hungarians to raise similar concerns but they were bought off with Declarations that gave them some comfort. As the clocked ticked towards midnight Aland, the autonomous Finnish Island, ratified the Lisbon Treaty. In the last week of November their parliament voted 24 to 6 in favour. All the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed.
Vaclav Klaus opposition was based on the Treaty giving too much power to Brussels and the need to safeguard the sovereignty of the Czech judiciary. This was amply demonstrated by the extent of pressure and interference by the European Commission in the internal constitutional processes in Poland and the Czech Republic. French and German politicians, especially Sarkozy, were making inflammatory statements that bordered on threats and their diplomats were making direct approaches to government officials and the Czech judiciary. The only thing missing was the mobilisation of panzer tanks on the Czech border.
By contrast, the statutory provisions introduced by the German Parliament mean that the German Constitutional Court can override decisions of the European Court of Justice. This has not been agreed with the other twenty-six Member States. The Lisbon Treaty is not being implemented as intended as the Heads of Member States have realised belatedly that their own power is threatened. The new post of EU Foreign Secretary has been the subject of a tussle for control between the EU Council and the EP. It has now been downgraded to the status of a European Commissioner, albeit a Vice-President, with resulting accountability to the EP. There are many vice-presidents of the European Commission, which gives the President of the Commission the ability to dispense favours in return for support. Perhaps the worst example is the way the provision in the Treaty that was intended to reduce the number of Commissioners has been used instead to ensure that every Member State has a Commissioner. Behind the scenes France and Germany have agreed to agree policies and vote as one to ensure control of the EU institutions and the placement of their nominees.
The European Parliament elections in June have shown that people are disengaged from EU institutions over which they have no control and cannot influence. The Big Blue Machine just continues to roll on regardless. However, there are signs of resistance. The Lithuanian Parliament has rejected the vote in the EP against their ban on promoting homosexuality as an infringement of their sovereignty. They are taking steps to have it annulled and make sure that the EP does not in future exceed their legitimate remit.
In the European Council sphere attempts to introduce abortion as a right have been quashed and the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to ban the display of the Crucifix in Italian schools is being challenged and derided. This follows on from the same ruling in Spain. Similar rulings in Romania have been challenged and overturned. The popular response will not be a violent revolution or even a velvet revolution. People will just stop taking notice and ignore EC Directives and Court decisions. Civil disobedience will be so widespread that the machinery of government will grind to a halt. The EU will deflate like a big balloon.