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Europeans Meet (Secretly) to Choose First-Ever EU President

The new president is supposed to raise Europe’s international profile — but the opaque selection process is drawing parallels between the former Soviet Union and the European Union.

by
Soeren Kern

Bio

November 18, 2009 - 11:48 am
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Leaders of the 27 member states of the European Union are meeting in Brussels on November 19 to choose the first-ever European president and European foreign minister. European political elites say these two new jobs are needed so that the notoriously divided EU can begin to speak with one voice on the global stage. Once that happens, they contend, the EU will assume its rightful role as a world superpower and act as a counterbalance to the United States.

Geo-strategists are debating whether Europe’s superpower moment is or is not just around the corner. But if the nomination process for the individual who will represent 500 million Europeans has demonstrated anything at all, it is that Europe is inexorably moving in a direction that has far more in common with Soviet totalitarianism than with Western liberal democracy.

In what could be described as a slow-moving coup d’état, Europe over the past several decades has experienced a gradual but significant shift in political power away from individual nation states towards an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy based in Brussels.

Today, these so-called Eurocrats oversee more than 100,000 pages of EU legislation, much of which has primacy over national legislation and parliaments. Indeed, unelected bureaucrats in Brussels now exercise so much power that they dictate what elected leaders can or cannot do in more than 30 policy areas.

In 2004, European federalists moved to consolidate their power by means of the “European constitution,” which, among many other things, called for abolishing the national veto in more than 50 additional policy areas. But the ratification process ran into a roadblock in May and June 2005, when French and Dutch voters rejected the document.

Predictably, the authors of the European constitution were unwilling to let democracy get in the way of their federal ambitions. Instead, they essentially shuffled some of the words, sentences, and paragraphs of the document and reissued it in December 2007 as the Lisbon Treaty, in order “to avoid having referendums.”

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