Friday, June 13, 2008
This time are the Irish. The count is not finished when I write this but the government is admitting defeat.
Admittedly this Treaty of Lisbon is the same as the European Constitution by another name. It has been submitted to referendum in five states so far, four when it was "the Constitution" and this last time, in Ireland, as mere treaty. Of the five, three have voted against (France, Netherlands and Ireland) and two in favor (Spain and Luxemburg).
All the other approvals (European Council, Comission and Parliament, state parliaments) have been not any exersise of direct democracy and certainly there are many doubts they do represent the will of the people.
As for those who voted in favor I only know one person in my enviroment, my conservative brother, who admitted he was against but thought it was not good for Spain to say no to EU. Typical of him: think A and do B out of calculation.
I voted against, of course.
My reasons for doing so can't be said to be anti-Europeist. I am rather Europeist actually. I think they are in line with the important leftist fraction that voted NO and would do the same again if consulted.
Basically I read the Constitution and thought: no declaration of rights, what the heck? Additionally it did not make the decision making process more democratic, it just provided for a qualified majority of states to take decissions more easily. Basically it pretends to persist in the Europe of states (decission making) and corporations (no social rights, wild free market), while advancing nothing or nearly so towards greater democracy.
Certainly there is another conservative faction that is against this EU, mostly because they are natonalists of the dominant nations (constituent states) and fear Brussels red tape.
The possitions of both opposition camps are very different: one is at least mildly Europeist but wants another more social and democratic EU, the other is just anti-Europeist. The Yes camp, pseudo-pragmatic, compromised with what EU already is, is not able instead to muster sufficient consensus beyond the political corridors, among the European people.
Which is the solution? The actual solution will be more talks and a compromise in the same line. As Barroso put it, there is no plan B. Europeans must choose between accepting the plan A or accepting the plan A anyhow. Not very democractic, really, nor smart probably either.
The ideal solution would be to call elections for a constituent European Parliament, with the specific mandate of writing that constitution, after years of debate. The resulting agreement should be put to referendum in every single state and there should be a plan B for every state that prefers to remain apart, assuming it's approved overall.
I am not voting in favor of any constitutional proposal that does not include a good bill of rights in any case, nor for anything that leaves the decision making process in the hands of states and Brussels bureaucracy. No. That is the EU people is voting against. The question is not more or less integration (that may be an issue for the conservative camp) but more or less democracy. If it's not substantially more democratic than what we have now, we are going to vote against. We don't want a EU that is just about free game for thebig corporations, police coordination and costly buraucracies. We want a EU that is about Europeans, about the people, about our rights, about our jobs, about our enviroment, about our homes. We want to know that, after voting yes, our opinions will matter more, not less.
They can play all the game again: Reach a "new" old agreement out of pathetic laziness (that's all they seem able to do with our many taxes) . But they can't change the sociological reality: this EU is not valid anymore, we need something dramatically more democratic, where the bureaucrats, including those more than dubious European Bank managers are directly or almost directly accountable to the people. If they keep going through the path of elite obscurantism and corporative economy, we are going to have a broken EU that will break apart easily. It's not a viable path. It's a path of self-defeat.