— EP President Tajani (@EP_President) October 19, 2017
The European Parliament is having a plenary session again. Which means it is time for European leaders, many of whom have not been elected, and parliamentarians representing a paltry 42.5% of ‘European’ voters to say how important democracy is again. And again. And again. Here are some of the more headache-inducing quotes in the brochure explaining the EU’s plan for the future of Europe.
For starters: Mercedes Bresso (S&D, Italy). This was salient enough to present it as an important illustration of the European Parliament’s vision of a ‘future of Europe‘ (PDF):
“The European Union doesn’t need a populist revolution. It needs peace and to adapt to the necessities of our time. This means coping with democratic challenges, providing citizens with social, fiscal, and ecological protection, defending their right to safety in a very degraded international context and delivering on our moral obligations to our neighbours.“
Again, this is a quote the EU itself chose to use to communicate to ‘its’ citizens. Is this a ‘vision of the future’, or are these ramblings? What is a ‘populist revolution’? Where are they taking place? And how can she claim the EU needs peace? That same EU always claims it brings peace, and indeed claims:
“We are looking back on over 70 years of peace, which our continent has never known before.“
Really, how much can you claim Europe needs peace, if your institution says it has had it for 70 years? She sounds like the Second World War ended a week ago.
But it gets worse. Back in 2004, the EU proposed the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. However, the treaty was defeated by referenda held in The Netherlands and France in 2005. Instead of taking these acts of democracy as a sign that its citizens did not want an EU constitution, the EU pressed on. Instead of the defeated constitution, it proposed, and had accepted the Lisbon Treaty. As a treaty, not a constitution, it was not subjected to a referendum. This is the background to much of the ‘populist revolution’ Bresso is complaining about: complete disregard for the democratically expressed wishes of European citizens.
So when the EU calls for “a more democratic Europe” and to do so “both within and beyond the frame of the existing Lisbon Treaty” and the brochure mentions MEP Reimer Böge (EPP, Germany) saying:
“What we want is to reestablish trust, like in an insurance system. Everyone chips in. In the event of a crisis that they cannot cope with alone, everyone receives aid.“
Well, let’s just quote the great poet Lady Gaga:
“Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the crack in that motherfucker’s reflection.“
But of course, the prize for ‘stop talking please, you’re damaging my nervous system’ goes to Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, Belgium) who again seems to mistake his private ideas about the future of the EU as the only option for Europe:
“I think that there is no other solution for Europe than to do these in-depth reforms we are proposing. Because otherwise, we are going to disintegrate further. It happened already with Brexit. Other countries could follow.“
Notice how he himself offers ‘another option’ for Europe: the disintegration of the EU. The EU isn’t Europe. There is a future for Europe beyond and without the EU. The EU isn’t even the be-all-end-all of European cooperation. There are other options. Those hanging tenuously on to power in Brussels simply cannot see anything beyond their own feverish dreams of ‘more EU’ with more centralisation of power and yet more ‘democracy’. But their democracy is one in which what they say goes, and everyone else is a ‘populist’.
When push comes to shove, the EU has a problem with democracy, not Europe.