Thursday 13 December 2007

Anti-Europeans showed their true ilk

The anti-European MEPs who launched their demonstration in the European Parliament yesterday really showed the stuff they are made of.

Trying to disrupt the proclamation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, endorsed by a vast majority of the Parliament, as well as the governments of the Member States and the European Commission, is in extremely bad taste.

Euphemistically calling themselves Eurosceptics, they have nothing philosophical about their manners or aims. Loutish behaviour seems to be pack and parcel with their anti-European ilk.

Choosing the proclamation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights as the setting for their disruptive and childish behaviour must have emanated from a highly insular kind of genius.

Largely symbolic, the Charter is one of the signs that the citizens of the European Union were not totally forgotten in the process leading up to the Treaty of Lisbon.

The Charter embodies, in a coherent manner, freedoms as well as political, economic and social rights and principles concerning citizens. The Charter is the most comprehensive and up to date codification of legally binding human rights on this planet.

It is not the fault of 25 Member States that Poland and the United Kingdom chose to opt out of the Charter. There must be interesting reasons for these two countries to disenfranchise their own citizens, but the new Polish government seems to have understood that these reasons are unconvincing in the long run.

And Great Britain? But that is a story for grown-ups, said Kipling.

Ralf Grahn


  1. Being anti the EU is in no way anti European - surely you can see that very clear distinction.

    The whole point of democracy is that not everyone has to agree - and your comments about how two countries do not agree with the rest, with the implication that this is bad really does smack of being very antidemocratic.

    Some people allow smoking in their house. People who come to my house cannot smoke. Should we all be forced to have the same rules? No of course not - so why do you thing all countries should too?

  2. I admit that there may be people who see themselves as European or even admire everything European, without being enthusiastic about the European Union as it is now. (I, for one, am highly critical.)

    But I object to the euphemistic use of the term "Eurosceptic" by those who are more or less rabid detractors of the EU. They should clearly spell out that they are anti-EU (if not anti-European).

    Democracy, in my view, is not about everybody agreeing, but about the ability to reach decisions and then respecting these decisions (like the overwhelming EP vote in favour of the Charter of Fundamental Rights) and continuing the fight for your cause (if you happen to be in a minority) with clean weapons and dignity, not hooligan-like demonstrations to disrupt solemn occasions.

    Shouldn't the solemn proclamation be as dignified as your wedding or funeral (if you happen to wish for some decorum occasionally)?

    Personally, I feel a bit sorry for the Poles and Brits, whose governments have made into second class citizens within the European Union.

    Somehow I think that you have missed an important point. If you belong to a club, you should act like a team player.

    If you think that blocking your team's progress is your mission in life, you should change teams or attitude.

  3. We have a parliament filled with euro-idealists who always vote for more integration -- even when EU citizens are demanding a referendum. We have EU institutions who talk about "A Europe of values based on democracy", and then treat the voters with towering contempt. We have member-state governments (not least our own) who were voted in in a promise of a referendum, but broke their word. How else could we make the voice of the people heard but by protesting?

    As for the Charter, it transfers powers from elected politicians to activist judges, and creates a field-day for lawyers. English people are born with rights under common law. They are not given to us by governments and charters and Conventions.

  4. These "Euro-idealists" are as much elected by European citizens as you are, but there are a lot more of them.

    The Charter was approved by 25 governments and an overwhelming majority in the European Parliament.

    How did you show your respect to them (us), the EP as an institution and to the solemnity of the proclamation?

    The behaviour of your group was a disgrace on you and, by association, on your followers.

    Of course you and your fringe can continue to work for your retrograde ideals, but couldn't you try to behave decently and teach your supporters to do the same?

    I wonder if not even the British are going to start asking why they should be denied more robust legal rights, black on white.

    At least the new Polish government seems to think that the opt-out was far from smart.

    The European Union is based on representative democracy (where it is not highly intergovernmental). If you favour direct democracy, you should not be selective about it.


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