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Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

The failures of EU democracy

So, will the European Citizens’ Consultation forum, launched yesterday in a variety of EU languages, actually prove a success?

Based on past attempts, I don’t hold out much hope – these things are usually either ignored (remember Timothy Garton-Ash’s European Story initiative? No? Precisely…), or quickly swamped by foaming-at-the-mouth British eurosceptics making “witty” comments and generally making their fellow countrymen look like a bunch of rude idiots (read the comments at Margot Wallstrom’s blog or on the Debate Europe forum recently?)

So, which is it going to be – ignored or hijacked by the anti-EU brigade?

Pessimist? Moi? Well, after five years of vague attempts to encourage constructive online discussion of the EU (albeit with precisely zero resources), and having witnessed the EU-focussed blogosphere expand by only a tiny fraction during that time despite several concerted efforts, I have good reason to be.

The EU, you see, is very, very dull and very, very complicated. Dull and complicated things are not the most attractive at the best of times. (And yes, I have indeed noted this before. Many, many times.)

How to make people want to discuss the EU more? Simple: give them some indication that their input is valuable. At the moment, there is none: “Come vote for an MEP (usually on a party list system) of whom you’ve never heard to go to Brussels and Strasbourg to vote on things over which they have little control (being proposed by the Commission and easily vetoed by the Council) and about which you’ll never hear (unless they make the tabloids)!” – Hardly the most rousing call to increased democratic engagement, is it? Yet that’s all the peoples of Europe have currently got.

Little wonder that European elections – and referendums – always end up so parochial. And little wonder that the EU itself continues to inspire so little interest among the people it supposedly exists to benefit.

29 Comments

  1. Nosemonkey,

    Do you really mean that the European Union is complicated? You only have to monitor events full time, helped by a competent support staff to be able to follow proposals when they whale-like surface for air after their long and deep dives…

    And the inspiring candidates fielded by the European political parties to fill the important posts of Commission President, High Representative and President of the European Council. The media and coffee table discussions are positively brimming with heated debates on their relative merits and dismerits…

    And the heroic intergovernmental rescue packages proclaimed every week, just to be dismantled in a cacaphony of national solutions next day…

    Surely you must be wrong; people are only too timid to praise the reception of their active support and feedback, to say nothing of their decisive influence on the course of the EU.

    Seriously, when our political leaders declare that they are going to activate citizens, the Commission is requested to invent yet another PR exercise.

    That’s the way to go, but not to heaven.

  2. Hmmm, the smell of satire floats through the blogosphere… :-D

  3. An internal letter from Margot Wallstrom to the Parliament’s President on Dec 1: “In next year’s elections, the legitimacy of your parliament, and that of the Union as a whole is at stake.”
    The European Commission is intervening, with a budget of EUR17 million, for the first time in the 30 year history of European elections because of worries over turnout.

  4. I see, critics of the EU can only be “foaming at the mouth” and it`s all one sided with the embarresment of fellow nationals. Witty comments are annoying when it`s the other side making them.
    Margot says she apreciates her critics and I bet without them her blog would be boring – something you say you dont want the EU to be.
    You (EUrophiles) are at liberty to go on her blog and the Debate EU blog and try to convince us that the EU is a Good Thing. It`s not our fault that your side seems so incapable of making a point which even starts getting sympathy.
    As to making the EU less boring and brought to everyones attention — the simplest way is for our contribution to it (£20 billion) to be directly taxed from every taxpayer, a bit like the TV tax. You see that invoice for the sum they want to extract- and soon everyone wants to know more and have their say. But would you EUrophiles really want that ?

  5. Robin, point by point:

    1) Because some critics of the EU are foaming at the mouth doesn’t mean that all are (classic logical fallacy there). Nor did I say that all are – only that the ones who are a bit over-the-top are embarrass me. There’s any number of eurosceptics that I have a lot of time and respect for. They tend to be the ones who avoid terms like “EUSSR” and conspiracy theories. They are also rarely to be found on the web.

    2) Yes, Margot’s blog would be duller without the comments, no doubt about it. She rarely writes about anything interesting, probably because of her high-profile position. Personally, though, I find the predictably repetitive nature of the comments even more dull.

    3) Us pro-EU types did pop on there for a bit at the start, but soon got bored at all the personal abuse that was chucked our way by you antis. (I did, at any rate…) Same goes for Debate Europe.

    4) £20bn you say? Divided by the UK’s population of 60m that works out as £333.33 per capita per annum – £28 a month. In comparison, I’m paying £1,200 a year in Council Tax, and get very little return on my investment. I doubt it would be too hard a sell.

    Of course, you could try and sell this as “it costs each of us 90p a day to stay in the EU!” – but your £20bn figure is a bit suspect (what was your source for that?).

    Taking into account the rebate etc., the net UK contribution for 2007 has been estimated at just £4.7bn. Which works out as £78.33 per capita per annum, or £6.50 a month.

    (Of course, not everyone’s a taxpayer, so per captia figures are a bit silly. But then again, the UK’s tax revenue doesn’t just come from individual contributions. In fact, only about 30% does. Which should drop the total even further.)

  6. To be honest I think the problem lies in the narrative that democracy can be replaced with information or consultation, for that matter. You quite rightly describe the problems of the EU system of government and the power of the people to affect the Government, but like Ms Wallstrom seem to think that debate and information can solve the problem of voter participation and at the same time give the EU basic public legitimacy.

    The only reason information and debate would have its place in a democratic society is so that the voter can make informed choices, instead with the EU what we have is the removal of the power of the voter to make effective choices. For me, democracy means it is much more important that people can make effective choices. Sort out the effective democratic choice and voter participation will follow.

    In reality all the EU is attempting to do with its debate Europe and its consultation forums is to put the horse before a non existing cart. That is why I and many others describe these measures as propaganda.

    I would by the way like to suggest the EU Referenda that we have seen are bound to be parochial, or perhaps a better word would be regional or national, because they have revolved around a member state deciding if it wishes to accept the details of an EU treaty. In that regard it is entirely an internal matter for the state in question.

    If for instance the good people of Ireland are not happy with certain clauses in the Lisbon Treaty from their own “parochial” point of view, then obviously they have the democratic right to make their collective view known, and have their view as expressed by the ballot box acted upon, that is democracy at work. The fact that the leaders of all the other member states in their wisdom forbade their citizens the opportunity to express their views on Lisbon in no way belittles the Irish vote.

  7. Robin,

    Ultimately representation and taxes go hand in hand. The so called financial perspective (long term budget), member states’ contributions and the unanimity rule in the European Council practically guarantee the sub-optimal budgets we have and will continue to have even if the Lisbon Treaty enters into force.

  8. Maybe I’m mistaken but the European Citizens’ Consultation forum is not so new. I seem to recall the offshoot of the Power Inquiry (now defunct) functioning as the UK platform for this project – they even held some events (in York?) attended by a randomly selected audience of participants. Unfortunately the links are all now obsolete because the PowerInquiry website has been taken down.

    Going even further down memory lane, prior to the Debate Europe site there was a forum called “Futurum”, also hosted by the Europa website. I contributed for the best part of two years to this site – this was before moderation became established as the norm. The innovative and refreshing feature of the Futurum site was the participation, during its first six months of operation, of real movers and shakers in the European debate.

    European Commissioners, the President of the European Parliament and other influential individuals would post an article on a particular theme to spark debate and maybe two weeks later summarise the dialogue and acknowledge the input of contributors, positive and negative. One drew a real sense of direct connection with those at the top of the decision making process – sadly this has all but disappeared but maybe you can remind Margot Wallström about the value of such interventions in fostering a increased sense of access to the corridors of power?

  9. Ken – yes, democracy first, debate coming at the same time would be preferable. But the EU started out as little more than a talking shop. Despite the various aspirations that some of the more utopian founding fathers may have had, it was not a political body in the way that, say, the US Presidency or British parliament is. The democratic elements have slowly evolved along with the organisation itself – let’s not forget that the European Parliament only became an elective body in 1979…

    By trying to promote debate and interest in the EU, the hope is that further democratisation should follow. If the people want the vote, they will get it. At the moment, turnout is so low that (at the risk of sounding anti-democratic, which I’m not – especially) to implement further democratic reforms seems a bit pointless…

  10. Nosemonkey,
    Your points
    1;Your posts imply or say that all EUrosceptics are Foamers at the Mouthers.You never mention any other type, so we can only assume, up to now, that that is how you bracket them, and thus all EUrosceptic views are of no consequence. If that is so, you cant have a debate except with EUrophiles (perhaps that`s what you want).
    I accept that there are embarrasing and ignorant EUrosceptics. Do you accept there are also some on your side- the ones who self abase their country all the time,the ones who are so obsequeous to EUrocrats like Margot,the ones who use terms like Little Engladners and other cliched labels ?

    2; Hate to be pedantic, but you are saying that something that is dull is more dull than something that is duller than it.

    3;Having a thick skin helps.(And seeing off your abuser,and being in the right)

    4; £20 billion was the last figure I saw,been trying to find the true figure for a long time. Whatever the figure, it is payed by the taxpayers directly and the others indirectly by higher prices.
    So the £333 may be smaller than your council tax, but who said your council tax was right ? Or your income tax ? Or any of the taxes we pay directly or indirectly.(Your council tax could be high because some of the reasons are the EU-like your rubbish collection)
    The billion figure also is not taking into effect other costs of the EU, like the £300 000 000 not collected every year from foreign hauliers in the UK.
    So an invoice from the EU to us all would heighten peoples awareness of it. What other way would beat that ?

  11. Ralph,

    It would seem to be something hidden away. As though deliberate

  12. All well and good but it is not as if they do not know how a democratic system of government works or how it needs to be constructed.

    The idea that people will only get democracy when they show enough interest in an anti – democratic institution by playing at democracy thorough channels allowed, when they know fully that nothing they can do – short of outright rebellion – can effect the EU, is an empty argument.

    To return to the Irish vote, enough people expressed an interest, but they democratically voted to reject the Lisbon treaty, the outcome of that vote and that interest is likely to be that their votes will be rejected in the same way the French and Dutch votes were rejected.

    The formation of the EU is being created in a fundamentally anti-democratic manner one that ignores and rejects all public expressions that do not accord with the elitist’s wishes.

    What is really meant is that once construct has been completed it might allow some democracy to filter through, we might be allowed to vote for the President, or once they are created, we would be allowed to vote for EU wide political parties, but such democracy as allowed will only exists within the EU arena. Until that point is reached the EU will remain totally anti- democratic and its so called moves toward including the voters in debate, are nothing more than a propaganda exercise designed to build towards the eventual goal of a united Europe by building a European Demos.

  13. They just had such a golden potential with the Lisbon treaty. Cause the only real lame thing about Lisbon is that the EU President is elected by the European Council. I love the Lisbon treaty, but it’s just super-friggin-lame that the election of the official who’s supposed to be Europe’s #1 statesman doesn’t get there through a mandate of the people, but instead the leaders of the member countries.

    If they had any fresh thinking, they could’ve constructed it to be presidential through having a European wide election for the post. At least then the media would’ve begun to cover the horse race, etc.

  14. There is an aspect concerning a popular mandate for the EU, to this point the EU -although it likes to suggest otherwise -only has a mandate derived from the member states, it lacks a mandate directly from the people.

    This lack has inbuilt problems for the EU because at present the leaders of the member states can quite rightly claim that they have political authority because the popular mandate resides in the member state and not the EU.

    It is quite clear that the goal of the EU is to replace the member state as the political authority, to achieve this, the EU needs to show that a popular mandate resides in the central EU and not the member state.

    An attempt towards this goal was made in the preamble to the EU Constitution; there was clause which reads;

    GRATEFUL to the members of the European Convention for having
    prepared the draft of this Constitution on behalf of the citizens and States of Europe, WHO, having exchanged their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows:

    The Lisbon Treaty lists the states and says

    the states HAVE RESOLVED to amend the Treaty on European Union, the Treaty establishing the European Community and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community WHO, having exchanged their full powers, found in good and due form, HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

    The citizens are not mentioned as having exchanged their full powers.

    There is however another route, looking towards the USA it too went through just this argument with the leaders of the states claming that they held the popular mandate and not the central federal system but the nation wide election of the president was used by the US supreme court in its ruling that the political sovereignty of the people resides in the federal system, as there was obviously a USA wide demos. Thus because all Americans voted for the post of President, the federal government had political authority over the states.

    Hence the popular election of the EU President would allow a similar argument to be advanced in the ECJ.

  15. Ken Adams,

    Yes, the citizens were downgraded in the Lisbon Treaty. One can also look at Article 1 TEU:

    By this Treaty, the High Contracting Parties establish among themselves a European Union, …

    Interestingly, the Philadelphia Convention had a mandate only to amend the Articles of Confederation, but decided to write a new Constitution. Subsequent ratification allowed it to enter into force.

    In Europe, I doubt that the Court of Justice would institute a federal state based on the existing or the Lisbon Treaty.

    In my understanding, either a constituent assembly or a (last) treaty between member states would have to propose the cession of states’ powers to the people and would require approval in the member states (willing to enter).

    This kind of a qualitative jump would justify national referendums, whereas the Constitutional Treaty or the Lisbon Treaty do not.

    Later the Constitution could be amended by the ‘Federal Republic of Europe’.

  16. I do not think you understood my point, sorry for not making myself clear. I was making the point that if the President is elected by an EU wide election, that in itself could be construed to mean there was a European demos, and therefore the EU had gained popular authority directly from the people, rather than allowing the member states to maintain their position as guardians of EU citizenship and popular authority.

    This was exactly the case with the US when it too was debating the authority of the sates v the federation.

    There will be no qualitative jump that require referenda in all member states, this will happen in the same manner as all the other transfers of power to the EU, at some point the balance of power will shift completely to the centre. We are already well past the stage of a confederation, that milepost past with Maastricht when we were made citizen of the EU, in a confederation the citizenship at all times remains with the States. If there would be a trigger for a qualitative jump that require referenda Maastricht would have been the point.

  17. So, Ken – you want more democracy in the EU, but not TOO much democracy, in case that could legitimise the thing? Heh… ;)

    This is, of course, part of a wider problem. The EU is currently still both a political project and an economic one, with aspects both of government and NGO. It’s not fully governmental, but not fully non-governmental. Which means that – in its current form – it’s probably about right that it has some democratic elements, but doesn’t necessarily need full democracy.

    But thanks to having SOME elements that seem governmental, and having introduced SOME (flawed) democratic elements, everyone seems to have started assuming that the whole thing should be constructed based on the votes of the people, and then gets hugely frustrated when democratic reforms don’t happen fast enough.

    As far as I can tell, this is a problem peculiar to the EU, thanks to its unique – and very confusing – status. After all, the IMF’s not a democratic organisation, neither’s the UN, nor NATO – and no one’s attacking them for not allowing the people a vote, nor denying their legitimacy. (At least, not for not being democratic…)

  18. It`s easier to leave the IMF,Nato and UN, which dont have such a profound affects on peoples lives as the EU (outside of third world countries).
    Flawed as those (and WTO) may be, I dont see how they impinge all the way into everyones lives as the EU does.
    There may be a neccesity to be in the IMF, Nato and the UN. Being in the EU is certianly debateable.
    As you say, because the EU is both a political problem and a economic problem that fuzzies its reason for being, so that debate about it can have the debaters switching reasond for being in/out. No such vagueness about NATO. It`s about military and defence, not making a new state out of differnt nations.

  19. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one giving up on Debate Europe early on. I was feeling a bit guilty of betraying my own ideals for lack of patience there, but feeling I wasn’t the only one makes it easier. ;)

  20. The EU is not comparable with the other international organisation, we are not citizen of those, also after Lisbon is ratified the EU will be eligible to join nations based international organisations such as the UN and the Council of Europe, thus making is more like a state than an international organisation.

    It is a false argument to say I want more democracy in the EU, my position is that it is being created in an anti – democratic underhand manner, whilst all the time pretending it is not happening. If we are to exchange our nation and become full meaningful citizens of the new state of Europe we should be allowed to democratically decide that is what we want to happen.

    The EU is not presently recognised as a state, but it is already directly affecting every part of our daily lives, so it is in a very large part, our government. At no time have we chosen that this would be the case, to talk now about allowing us possible the chance to vote for the President is ignoring the fact that we have not yet chosen to exchange our nation state. But it is worse because the very fact of voting for the President will be evidence that we have accepted. The acceptance of the new nation must come first, then we can talk about how it should be made answerable to the people.

  21. Ken Adams,

    What I am saying is that we should embark on a democratic and federal European republic as the best option for our security and prosperity in a changing world.

    Nothing underhand there.

    The move to legitimate and accountable European level government would have to be democratic in itself.

    The electorates willing to participate would form the new Europe, while the reticent ones would negotiate their relations with the core group forming the new political entity.

    What I find surprising is the feeling some have that the existing European Union (or a future federation) is pervasive in their daily lives and that the customs, languages and cultures of Europe are somehow extinct or becoming so.

    (The only point where I see something of the kind is the spreading use of English as a ‘lingua franca’, a second or third language for increasing numbers, causing the French government such concern. Incidentally, the situation would be somewhat comic if neither the British nor the Irish participated in the new republic of Europe.)

    The essential powers of the European federation would be foreign policy and defence, internal market and external trade as well as a federal system of justice plus the government and taxes necessary for these purposes. The power to change the Constitution would be in the hands of the elected parliament.

  22. Ralf – come on, you don’t seriously believe that such an outcome’s even remotely likely in the foreseeable future, do you?

  23. Nosemonkey,

    You aren’t seriously asking me to become a fortune-teller, are you? I’m just an EU citizens who believes that EU level democracy would be a better thing sooner rather than later.

  24. Ralph, sorry I was not suggesting that you were being underhanded.

    However, the political argument is not being made that “a democratic and federal European republic is the best option for our security and prosperity in a changing world.” and the people are not being allowed a voice in the construction, in fact those voices which have managed to get through are simply ignored.

    What instead is happening is the federal republic is being created in absence of debate about the end point, amongst a whole plethora of misinformation and misdirection (the other argument can be seen in NM comment which boils down to : it isn’t going to happen anytime soon so we need not bother about )

    I would not wish to confuse the power the EU has to control our daily lives with a diminution of our customs, languages or cultures, I would imagine that we would still be allowed to dance around the maypole, but the control would come in the fact that we would have to meet EU health and safety laws first. Not I hasten to add that I would find those objectionable in themselves, it is just that we already have a fully formed legislature which we endow with the power and authority to make our laws. Unfortunately that legislature has chosen to outsource much of its power without first asking the people if that is democratically acceptable.

    I would like to see a fully fledged debate about the EU, its desirability its end point and our place, if any, within it, preferable before it becomes impossible to even think about leaving.

    NM is bemoaning the lack of public awareness and involvement in the EU, the way to get the public involved is to be open and honest about the dream of a united EU and allow us to make the decision whether we want to become part of that dream. It is not to keep pretending that the people we elect still have the power to hold our government to account and still make 100% of the laws which govern us. It is this charade that is causing a falling off of support for our own political parties and a disinterest in EU politics. We are being on one hand told that the EU is not important will never become our nation state, or it will be so far in the future that it is irrelevant and on the other asked to participate.

  25. Ken and Ralf – you’re both approaching this from the assumption that a federal superstate is where the EU is headed.

    Me? I see little or no evidence of that, and – most importantly – little or no evidence of any real desire for such an outcome among the member states. Yes, you’ll always get a few (like Ralf) who enthusiastically advocate this as the EU’s final destiny, and some of them have even been in fairly influential positions – hence all the eurosceptic scare stories about Jean Monnet’s grand plan and suchlike. But they are a tiny minority.

    So being “open and honest about the dream of a united EU” is impossible – because that is just ONE dream for the EU’s future, and certainly not one shared by everyone involved in the project. Ralf may love that idea. Other pro-EU types (more accurately, pro-European integration types) are markedly less keen.

    Just look at the reality of the current situation – the nation-oriented protectiveness displayed by pretty much all EU governments when it comes to any reform negotiations. Germany refusing to implement the European Arrest Warrant. France defending its vastly disproportionate share of CAP payments. Poland constantly threatening to use its veto to get its own way. Italy dropping hints about dropping the Euro. The stalemate we’ve found ourselves in ever since the late 1990s. And so on and so on and so on…

    A federal superstate may well turn out to be the end result of the current drive towards closer (yet still limited) co-operation and integration – but when I say I don’t see it as being likely in the forseeable future, I mean not in at least the next 100 years or more. Because we’re not even on that path yet. We may be on a path that leads to a path that leads to that path, but there are countless other forks in the road before we get there.

    Because the EU is not going to reach its final form in any of our lifetimes. We’re decades if not centuries away from anything approaching a United States of Europe, and any number of things can – and probably will – crop up in the meantime to prevent this from happening.

    Ken, you say “I would like to see a fully fledged debate about the EU, its desirability its end point and our place, if any, within it” – me too. We’ve reached a point where this is essential for EVERY EU member state, because the organisation has indeed evolved beyond a mere economic partnership into something more. The member states don’t know where it’s going. The permanent staff of the EU institutions don’t know where it’s going. The people certainly don’t know where it’s going.

    If the governments of the member states had been sensible, they would have started to get the people involved in the 90s, at least in the run-up to the negotiations over the Treaty of Nice. That they didn’t is not because they wanted to shove us down the path of a superstate against our will, but because they’re all too protective of their own national powerbases to risk giving up their ability to influence events. This same attitude is what is continuing to prevent further radical reform.

    If we had such a debate – with the people always at the heart of it – I am confident that we could reform the EU into a whole new organisation that would be able to (more or less) meet everyone’s needs and desires. If we had such a debate, in other words, it should not be asked – as you seem to want to put it – “do we join a federal EU superstate or pull out altogether?”, but “what – if anything – do we want from a pan-European organisation?”

    If the end result is that the current EU is broken up and something new – or even several new things – is raised in its place that can more appropriately meet the needs and desires of the people of Europe along with the various member states, I’d be only too happy. Because, as I’ve said many times, I may see further European integration as the best way forward for the people Britain, but not necessarily the kind of European integration that we are currently seeing via the current European Union.

  26. Nosemonkey,

    For me the crucial question is if there’s a need for a strong and united Europe in world affairs. In my view Europe could do some good in the world and would enhance our common security and prosperity.

    Having answered the ‘Why?’ with ‘Yes’, I reckon real powers require real democracy.

    This does not mean that I am either enthusiastic or optimistic. Gibbons may turn out to be the next historian Europe needs. Civilisations have come and gone.

    I don’t underestimate the fervour with which national leaders cling to power and to the ‘liberum veto’, and incite their populations to ‘patriotism’. In other words, I am not at all sure that Europe is heading towards a federal superstate.

    But since the need is there, I don’t have to stay with the behind the curve crowd who hanker back to bygone days. Before Julius Caesar? King Harold? Queen Victoria?

    It is probably futile to speculate if a century or more is needed before Europeans generally reach the conclusion that a federation is or would have been a better option.

    Still, I would imagine that the European Union is going to experience deep humiliations during a time span much shorter than that. If national level democracy evolved slowly and erratically in Europe, the step to the following level might be a little bit swifter.

    One can try to approach the challenges from a strategic viewpoint or with the mindset of a metric martyr.

    In each case, it would be good to ask where that road ultimately leads.

    This is the thorough debate Ken is calling for, although from another angle.

  27. I believe we have agreed to differ before about the end position of the EU, I really do not see the disparity that is so apparent to NM, where he sees disunity; I see a common purpose and common direction. I would disagree that we are not on path towards a federal state as there has been so far no evidence that this is not the case, all we are seeing is political realignment taking us into ever deeper integration.

    The road is clear the direction is clear, not once has the Aquis been breached, which if it had, would indicate that there was some doubt about the direction, not one treaty has reversed the flow of power from the member state to the centre, the only dispute is the speed of travel not the eventual destination. Even the idea of a two speed EU is more of the same, the clue is in the title, speed, being the operative word.

    The French and Dutch rejected the Constitution, this was reformed as the Lisbon Treaty which achieves the same power transfers as the Constitution, this has in turn been rejected by the people of the only member state to allow them a voice and now the Irish it seems are going to be asked again to rethink their answer. If there was any doubt about the required end result the whole process would have been scrapped when it was first rejected, instead the movers for a federal state have done everything they can to force the issue further towards their goal. And there is only one state leader who has the balls or the basic honesty to stand up and say hold on we are supposed to be democratic.

    The wait and see argument is not really wait and see but lets proceed along the road at a pace we can achieve politically, it is not asking the question but avoiding the consequences of the already defined answer.

    The leaders of the states are not in my view clinging to power for their individual state, they mostly seem only too happy to remove the power from their own states parliaments, and have that power of government decided in the EU arena. No the argument revolves around the division of power within the EU system only. In that way it is a force against the EU becoming democratic, because the States leaders have found a method of protecting themselves from their own parliaments and of silencing the power of their people, they have created a kind of dictatorship and intend to cling to that power.

    The formation and the advancement of the Federal state is being undertaken in a piecemeal fashion, as fast as it can be and a slowly as it must to meet temporary political blocks, but the end result has never been in doubt.

    I agree with Ralf, as each step towards integration is suggested in each case, it would be good to ask where that road ultimately leads.

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