Schuman Project  



The European Commission  # 1

Is there ONE honest person in half a billion?

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On 15 April 2008, when governments of the EU eventually published the Lisbon Treaty still in provisional form, a dozen parliaments had already ratified it. Isn't it unusual, even bad form, to ratify something you haven't seen? Would you buy a used car without seeing whether the engine or just as importantly whether the brakes work? Would you buy an insurance policy or a parachute without knowing the contents? Why the rush?

It’s a presidential race. But nothing like USA. The EU, a world super-power, even larger economically than the USA, has no presidential elections. Not even for the new-fangled, 2½-year presidency of the European Council, the body where heads of governments decide EU policy in secret.

The big difference between the United States and Europe is that the new treaty will provide enough presidents for a football team. There will be presidents for the European Council, another for the Council of Ministers, presidents for the Parliament, a president for the Economic and Social Committee, and a president for the Committee of Regions. There will be untold presidents for the secret committees like the Monetary Committee, Council and the Coreper committees. And that is not to mention the innumerable Agencies, sometimes a law unto themselves.

But with all this football team for the boys and girls to splash mud, it will not kick off the first Europe-wide elections specified in all treaties back to 1951. Has no one read the treaties? Does anyone understand the founding principles of European democracy? Instead the so-called 'reform' politically stitches up the referee in the most unscrupulous denial of democracy.

Governments keep silent about one president — that of the European Commission. It is Europe’s most essential post. More than just the referee, the Commission, and only the Commission, can make a proposal for legislation. The Commission is like the person who cuts the cake into fair and equal slices, before the greedy children, the governments, chose portions. It proposes policies for the common good of 27 democracies. Competence and impartiality are indispensable. The founding Coal and Steel Community of 1951 ended Europe’s incessant wars and smashed self-serving cartels. Drawing inspiration from moral philosophy, not yah-booh politics, the Commission must exude fairness and honesty in a Europe of values.

In short, the President of the Commission had to be chosen by several characteristics that some politicians do not wish to examine: namely, honest character, experience and, as the treaties imply, humility! 

The founding fathers, like Robert Schuman, designed this democratic high authority to strengthen member state democracies. They insisted that the Commission be totally independent of governments. How? Firstly, governments had to chose the president unanimously. Unanimity guarantees some impartiality as any country can veto a dishonest candidate. Big states vetoed each other’s biased nominees. Quite often, good Europeans could only be found in smaller countries. Under the Lisbon Treaty, this ends. It restricts the candidate to a politician, chosen by a majority vote, weighted in favour of the big boys, the bullies of history.

Early Commission presidents were often former civil servants, lawyers, professors or diplomats. Their records were scrutinized to see if they remained honest under pressure. However, when de Gaulle seized power in France, he declared a silent war and ‘chloroformed’ the treaties. Inserting his partisan nominees into institutions, he attempted to gain personal control of the Community. Commission presidents Walter Hallstein, a former law professor who taught fellow German prisoners of war about the rule of law, Étienne Hirsch, an engineer who had lost much of his family to Hitler's depravity, and Paul Finet, a metallurgist/ trade-unionist, stood up against these undemocratic assaults. 

After de Gaulle, democracies half-heartedly reviewed treaty obligations. Direct elections  to the European Parliament, required for about 30 years, were only implemented in 1979. And then it was not as the treaties specified. Each government wrote its own electoral rules. They still refuse to initiate major democratic pledges in the treaties. Some institutions are still disempowered. Their chambers are filled with 'representatives' - not of the European civil society as the treaties say, but 'representatives' for politicians and parties! Special governmental (=politicians')  committees deny civil institutions the powers, some of which should be equivalent to the Council of Ministers. We have only to investigate agriculture, an area essential for Mr de Gaulle's political support. Much of the public funding to big farmers was until recently shrouded in secrecy, as if it were military security! 

Today, who raises an eyebrow that the Commission is stuffed with national politicians? Does this profession have the only people with adequate qualifications?

The Lisbon Treaty goes much further than de Gaulle ever dreamed of. It enforces bad practice by law. Anyone who is not a card-carrying member of a political party is outlawed. Jean Monnet, the Commission’s first president, would be banned. It makes it impossible for the Commission President to remain impartial. 

The new President, selected exclusively from party lists by Council, must then be elected by a European Parliament, where each party has gone to the polls supporting 'their' candidate for political Commission President. The Council will then designate who has won. To succeed, the politician-president must flatter the ideological majority of the European Parliament to gain a majority. Thus, each Commission presidency would demonstrate distinct political loyalties. Political Commissions would try to seduce the votes of either one section of the population, for example, labour, or the capitalists, perhaps, cartelists. Europe will suffer the worst excesses of right-wing or left-wing politics and other groupings.

Who will this President be? One of the 2 per cent of Europeans who are party members. Some 98 per cent of citizens will be eliminated. This represents the most blatant discrimination ever attempted in any democratic state. Who picks the president candidates? Top politicians in a political cartel. What a prize! Parliament will never sack the President, even for gross corruption. His political pals are the only ones who can. Dismissal requires an open vote with two-thirds majority! They and their parties have chosen, nurtured and influenced him in all his policies! They not only committed their vote to him but got the Europeans to vote to create the Parliament's majority that put this politician in office as referee and arbiter of European politics. He will fund party political foundations and activities from taxpayers' money. 

Who designed this open invitation to corruption? The political drafters of the Lisbon Treaty foolishly inserted yah-booh partisanship into the tried and tested Community system that instead requires an honest broker. Their motive? They said that they wanted the EP elections to attract more attention as fewer and fewer Europeans wanted to vote. So much for high principles! But why don’t people vote? They are disillusioned by tales that politicians are corrupt. One recent scandal alleges a score of multinationals ran an expenses-paid ‘lobby officeinside the European Parliament. Another, about MEPs’ assistants, involves millions of Euros. MEPs are refusing to publish other, apparently more explosive, auditors’ reports. If the Parliament won’t come clean on rumours involving millions, why should voters trust the ‘usual suspects’ to elect a political pal as Commission President dealing with billions?

This becomes of existential importance when one turns to the Commission’s rôle as Europe’s anti-cartel agency. Schuman’s original innovation — that the Commission should be totally independent of party politics — was essential to correct pre-World War abuses. Powerful coal and steel cartels involving Krupp, de Wendel, IG Farben, Thyssen ‘bought’ political parties and newspapers. (Fritz Thyssen’s book is entitled: ‘I paid Hitler’.) Customers suffered not only price hikes, but two world wars. The lesson of history is that 'influencing' political parties is easy-peasy for anyone with money or corrupt power. That seems to be a universal law from England's seventeenth century to this day. Any political party will tell you about it, but usually only about its opponents or a neighbouring country!

Today, Europe is vulnerable to major foreign energy entities (oil and gas). Other specialized cartels too. One US multinational was recently fined 900 million Euros. It had not only created a software cartel but had refused to obey both the Commission’s anti-cartel decisions (it had already fined the firm) and a European Court judgement telling it to stop this illegal practice.

If you were the boss of such a multinational and even less scrupulous than Microsoft, would you prefer to pay a 900 million Euro fine or spend just a few millions ‘fixing’ the election of the European Commission president and hence the policy of a world economic super-power? Europe's first treaty made clear that the Commission President has to be of such sterling character of honesty, independence and impartiality that he would not buckle under pressure. The office must be proofed against corruption engineered by any 'public relations' campaign.

Under present treaties, anyone of proven honesty and solid character among Europe’s 500 million people could in law be chosen as Commission president. It is still possible. Honest lawyers, businesspeople, engineers, professors, NGO leaders could apply. Tomorrow with the Lisbon Treaty, political cartels will pick the president. They will short-list accommodating candidates via opaque political machines, vulnerable to ‘deals’.

That is if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified by all 27 States. Rest assured. It will be a democratic decision. Aren’t all members of national parliaments cardholders of respectable political parties? And of course if the Irish, who voted No in June 2008, have to vote again in a referendum to correct the first vote, it would also be fair for the French and the Dutch to have a second referendum of the people to make sure everything is fully democratic.

What is the Commission for?

is it to represent political parties or government systems?

a way to ease out, export  unwanted political colleagues?

to get a huge pension at the end of a career?

to act as a representative for industrial lobbies?

to protect the workers by close ties to unions?

to introduce reform that is in a party political programme but can't be introduced in the national parliament?

to make contacts with European industry so that a politician can get an even fatter job by resigning early?

to provide a speaker with European credentials to rally votes at national elections?

to provide a training ground for a future lobbyist and wheeler-dealer?

to manipulate European money that cannot be got at a national level for the party?

to make sure that money goes to a local, favoured region?

to create 'research' and work projects for  special interests?

to build the army of contractors to eliminate an independent civil service?

to stop other nations complaining about the member's State?

to block anti-corruption investigations at a European level?

to make sure that favoured cartels and interests are not investigated?

to provide other jobs for the party 'boys and girls' by 'parachuting' them in as advisers and contractors?

to be the long-arm of the government back home?

to work with party buddies in the European Parliament to execute plans cooked up in secret?




The Commission is there to:   a) propose European legislation of common interest    b) execute democratically agreed policy;   c) act as guardian of the Treaties.