Politicus September/October 2004

Czech's veto EU arrest warrant President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus has vetoed a bill on the European arrest warrant. The EU arrest warrant means that citizens of any EU country can be arrested and sent for trial for an offence allegedly comitted in another without any extradition proceedings.

To pass such a bill would mean to hand over a part of the country's sovereignty and its right to protect its citizens, said the Czech president. President Klaus succeeded Vaclav Havel last year and he has regularly criticised the EU for subverting Czech democracy and independence.

EU justice ministers proposed the setting up of a European arrest warrant after the 9/11 Twin Towers attack on the USA. The Commission produced a proposal just nine days afterwards, seeing an opportunity to take advantage of world revulsion against terrorism to extend the EU's powers

The European arrest warrant entered into force in January 2004 in eight EU member states — Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. However, several other states have been slow to implement it in their domestic law.

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Ten states vote on constitution At least ten countries will ask their peoples for permission to ratify the propsoed EU state constitution — Ireland, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal and Britain.

But the EU, in complete disregard of the views of the people of these countries, is going ahead on the assumption that they will all agree it anyway.

The constitution proposes that an EU diplomatic service be set up to serve the proposed EU foreign minister. A political declaration says that preparations should begin for this as soon as the treaty/constitution is signed in Rome in October, before any national parliament or referendum has even ratified it.

This shows how the Eurocrats regard ratification of the proposed EU state constitution as a mere formality. Another example is the EU arms agency which is proposed under another article of the constitution. This was established in June, again before final agreement on the constitution was reached. The failure of the December 2003 Brussels summit was not allowed to disrupt the timetable of integration. It seems unlikely that the ten national referendums will be allowed to do so either.

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'Beatification' campaign falters A campaign to sanctify the European Union through the beatification of its founding father, former French foreign minister Robert Schuman, who initiated the European Coal and Steel Commnunity in 1951, has run into stiff resistance from the Vatican and now seems likely to fail.

For 14 years investigators under the diocese of Metz have combed through the life of the French statesman to determine whether he merits the title “Blessed Robert”, beatification being the first step to sainthood. French president Jacques Chirac, although no saint himself, has been pushing Schuman’s cause hard.

A gangly ascetic, Schuman lived on eggs and lettuce, taking the Eucharist each morning at the chapel of the Servants of the Sacred Heart near his home in Metz. He never married. Konrad Adenauer, the late German chancellor and a fellow-Catholic, called him “a saint in a business suit”.

The last Catholic to be canonised for his politics was England's Sir Thomas More, who was executed for upholding papal supremacy in Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Evidence of miraculous healing is needed for sainthood in the Catholic Church, and the Metz investigators have to date found none, although it is clear that Schuman, who was decorated by Marshal Petain, head of the French war–time Vichy collaborationist regime, was undoubtedly devout.

Pope John Paul has not accepted the argument of some of them that Franco–German reconciliation was itself miraculous. He has sternly instructed the Bishop of Metz “to proceed with the greatest rigour in demanding a miracle in the case of political figures”. Of course some might say that the man who tried to stop Franco–German wars by enslaving the rest of Europe should be anathematised — not canonised.

In any case such wars became quite impractical with the advent of the H-bomb.

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Interference warningNew signs of interference In a bid to get citizens more involved with the EU, the new European Commission has said it is going to make its presence more felt on the ground in the 25 EU member states. Outlining the strategy for the new Commission, Joao de Almeida said:

"We agreed on the principle of reinforcing the representations of the Commission in member Ssates' capitals. Communication with the European people is a major priority for the next Commission."

This points to massive interference by the Commission in the upcoming referendums on the EU constitution, as happened in the EU accession referendums in Eastern Europe last year. French president Charles de Gaulle once called the European Commission "a conclave of technocrats without a country,responsible to nobody." They are not elected, yet they have vast power.

The proposed EU constitution increases that power hugely, turning the Commission into an effective European government whose laws we must obey. So the Commission is desperate to get the Constitution ratified.

A foretaste of what to expect occurred recently in Ireland, where Mr Peter Doyle, head of the EU Commission office in Dublin, took issue with a correspondent in the Irish Examiner who criticised the EU constitution. Doyle wrote in defending the constitution, saying that it had emerged from "one of the largest exercises in democracy in history." Something truly laughable.

Partisan interference of this kind by the Commission in the ratification of treaties is almost certainly illegal under the EU's own law. Treaties are solely a matter for the member states, whose partliaments or peoples may reject them. The Commission is not a party to EU treaties. It gets responsibility under them them only if and when they are ratified, not before.

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2004-10-12 09:55:45.
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