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Schengen: hands off the European Parliament!

, by JEF Europe

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Not far from many places where Europeans fought each other less than a century ago, and where lines and lines of white crosses now stand, the Schengen Treaty has abolished border checks.

Thinking of that terrible waste of human lives that was caused by national governments we say: keep those borders free!


We European citizens strongly protest against the arbitrary and unanimous (all the more deplorable) move of the EU Council to exclude the European Parliament from co-decision on possible suspensions of the Schengen Treaty, thus downgrading it to an observer role and trampling on its prerogatives. In this way the Council attempts to humiliate the institution that represents the European people as a whole, arrogating to itself the power to restrict a right that many Europeans have come to cherish: the right to move freely across borders without having to show their passports, or the right to feel at home in Europe.

In condemning the arrogant and unilateral move of the Council to steer the EU towards intergovernmentalism we also denounce the pressure that was exerted on smaller or “weaker” states in order to reach unanimity – just further evidence that an intergovernmental Europe, far from safeguarding people’s sovereignty, will rather resemble more and more the Europe of Metternich.

We support the European Parliament in its struggle to regain its prerogatives and we join it in demanding a reversal of the Council’s decision.

However we invite MEPs not only to defensive battles against the abuses of the Councils, which by its nature will always tend to recude the powers of Parliament, but to promote a constituent initiative to draft a project of Federal Constitution, as Altiero Spinelli did in 1984, which finally transform the EU into a genuine democracy.

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  • On 27 June 2012 at 18:19, by I want out Replying to: Schengen: hands off the European Parliament!

    The trouble is no one believes in the EP as an effective body or worse respects it. Why should they given its corruption, ludicrous costs, detachment from reality (budget increases demanded regardless of the financial situation) fixed processes (president switching between two parties and rigged years in advance) etc. Couple this with the fact that it ignores and treats with contempt any view contrary to its own (look at their actions on the 16 – 18th June 2008 when the will of the Irish and incidentally the French and Dutch given that the Lisbon Treaty was essentially the Constitution repackaged was ignored) and is it any wonder. Let us all fervently hope that the suspension of Schengen is just the first step in the peaceful disassembly of the entire political project and a return to a simple trading body. You will doubtless vehemently disagree. Well then, put the entire EU project to the vote, go on, you believe you will win don’t you or do you know deep down that in fact you are facing in the wrong direction. I challenge you, start campaigning for a vote for the whole of Europe on the future direction of Europe rather than simply supporting the unrepresentative elites.

  • On 13 July 2012 at 12:01, by Valéry Replying to: Schengen: hands off the European Parliament!

    “The trouble is no one believes in the EP as an effective body or worse respects it.”

    I do. Plenty of people do. You should get out more.

  • On 13 July 2012 at 21:09, by Iwantout Replying to: Schengen: hands off the European Parliament!

    The first six lines of my comment explained briefly but concisely why I and so many others have issues with the EP. I note you don’t contest any of my points simply suggest “I get out more”. The limited and consistently falling proportion of the population who vote for the EP tends to suggest that my comments reflect the majority view. The fact that many more people take part in national elections I would submit indicates that this is where they still see power residing and as I have already said elsewhere there is no indication of anything like a popular mandate for either increase powers for the EP or further advances in the European Project. Some numbers to back up my claims, in 2009 across the 27 countries only 43% of the electorate voted for the EP, the lowest figure in a long term decline. This figure is artificially high due to mandatory voting in several states, indeed a number saw only a 20% turn out. I would say lots of people need to “get out more” and given that I believe passionately in the democratic process I mean that in more than one way. Again I challenge those of you who are committed to full integration of the EU to press for national referenda to validate your support and accept the result first time rather than asking the same question repeatedly until you get a result you like.

  • On 16 July 2012 at 19:22, by Florent Replying to: Schengen: hands off the European Parliament!

    “I challenge you, start campaigning for a vote for the whole of Europe on the future direction of Europe rather than simply supporting the unrepresentative elites.”

    It happens every 5 years during the European Parliament elections and as far as I read the results, I don’t have the impression that 50% of the European citizens vote for political parties willing to “disasemble” the EU.

  • On 17 July 2012 at 12:29, by Iwantout Replying to: Schengen: hands off the European Parliament!

    No, 57% refuse to vote at all, and in the case of the UK of the 15.1 million votes that were cast 7.9 million (52%) were for anti EU parties (and here I am not including the labour party which also has a sizable number of sceptics). This is in accordance with the polling evidence which has shown for years that approximately 75% of people are unhappy with our relationship with the EU and about half would like to leave entirely.

    And with regards to your EP votes don’t forget each and every time they hold elections fewer and fewer people vote at all. For countries with strong (or indeed overwhelming) sceptical views the elections are almost an irrelevance because of course as demonstrated many times the pro integration elites simply over rule the wishes of the people and ignore these views. I am thinking here of the numerous referenda lost by the EU, the support the EP gave to the Lisbon Treaty despite the Irish vote etc.

    Let us never forget for pro integrationists there is personal benefit for pushing the agenda and for ignoring the lack of popular support. The wages and expenses are to put it mildly generous and the level of financial oversight limited. Any reduction in the EP would affect their income.

    As a final point re the EP, please let us remember that in most democracies the number of electors per representative has some sort of rough parity. This is not the case for the EP where each voter in the smaller countries have a ballot which is significantly more powerful in terms of representative power than for those in bigger countries. A few examples, voters represented by each MEP for some countries

    Germany 826K France 906K UK 876K Spain 944K Denmark 423K Ireland 525K Slovenia 285K Luxembourg 84K Malta 68K Therefore each voter in Malta has nearly 14 times the power of each voter in Spain. It seems increasingly difficult to defend this body.

  • On 18 July 2012 at 13:09, by Florent Replying to: Schengen: hands off the European Parliament!

    First, it is not to UK citizens to decide for all europeans, therefore we should consider European opinion. In this case the results of the european elections are more than supporting political parties in favour of the EU.

    Second, not voting for the European Parliament elections doesn’t mean you are in favour of leaving the European Union. A lack of popular interest in elections only mean that the political parties are not sufficiently representative.

    Third point, I agree with you that the number of electors per representative should be equal.

  • On 18 July 2012 at 23:07, by Iwantout Replying to: Schengen: hands off the European Parliament!

    Absolutely correct, it is not for UK citizens to decide for European. But neither is it for Europeans to decide for the UK either. For your information the top 2 parties in the last EP poll in the UK were either highly eurosceptic or totally eurosceptic. The single party that is pro euro came a poor 4th.

    We joined a trade organisation NOT a political entity. All I am asking is recognition that there has never been a mandate (certainly within the UK) for a Federal Europe and that question should be put unambiguously to the people BEFORE further steps are taken. This should no longer be left solely to the elites.

    I point out time and again that there is precious little evidence that a move towards a Federal Europe and increased powers for a supra national commission / parliament are acceptable to any country.

  • On 19 July 2012 at 14:46, by Iwantout Replying to: Schengen: hands off the European Parliament!

    Florent just a quick addition to my earlier comment now I am more awake. You are of course completely right that just because people don’t vote it doesn’t mean you can assume their support for one side or another, although it strongly suggests that they are not engaged with the body concerned (see later). Coupled with long term decline it further suggests that they do not want to engage which itself tells you something about their views.

    I would argue that the overwhelming majority of parties in the EP are pro integrationist. By your own comment “a lack of popular interest in elections only mean that the political parties are not sufficiently representative “ thus suggests people do not vote because the representatives on offer do not cover their views.

    A further issue is that when the voter turnout for a body is extremely low (Poland 24%, Lithuania 21% Slovenia 19.5%, even France only 40%) the actual legitimacy of the body itself is open to debate.

    I would genuinely hope that everyone reading this blog and associated comments believes in democracy and the utter right of people to determine their own future. I have to accept that in the event of a UK referendum (which seems increasingly likely) while I am free to campaign etc. I am utterly bound by the result. (Although by history the EU itself may ask for a rerun.) It in recognition of the nature of the debate that I am saying we are no longer in a position where the fundamental political changes suggested here can be allowed to progress without each and every country across the EU putting the question directly to their people.

    I genuinely fear that in the event of a failure to conduct such an exercise and effectively disenfranchising people, elements within all our societies may regard violence as an option. Before I am called alarmist or extremist please examine our recent history – Yugoslavia, Austro Hungary, the Basque Country, Northern Ireland and many other examples across the World. When rightly or wrongly people believe they have coerced into something without any consultation violence ensues. Given the diversity across Europe it is not difficult to see it happening is it ?

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