June 17, 2008
In the New World, politicians usually tell us what we want to hear. Judging by the statements made in the lead-up to the recent EU referendum in Ireland, much more honesty and transparency can be found among pols in the Old.
The following quotations sound like they were secretly recorded in some dark, mysterious backroom (presumably non-smoke filled due to strict regulation) in the great Babelian EU complex in Brussels. In truth, Soeren Kern assembled them from public statements and media interviews:
Before the Referendum
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said that it did not matter if people had not read the treaty (he had not read it either, he admitted) and did not understand it because they should trust their elected leaders.
Sarkozy said: ?When the people say ?No?, we cannot say the people are wrong. We must ask why they said ?No?.
Former French President Val?ry Giscard d?Estaing said: ?The difference between the original Constitution and the present Lisbon Treaty is one of approach, rather than content … the proposals in the original constitutional treaty [that was rejected in 2005] are practically unchanged. They have simply been dispersed through old treaties in the form of amendments. Why this subtle change? Above all, to head off any threat of referenda by avoiding any form of constitutional vocabulary … But lift the lid and look in the toolbox: all the same innovative and effective tools are there, just as they were carefully crafted by the European Convention.?
D?Estaing said: The approach ?is to keep a part of the innovations of the constitutional treaty and to split them into several texts in order to make them less visible. The most innovative dispositions would pass as simple amendments of the Maastricht and Nice treaties. The technical improvements would be gathered in an innocuous treaty. The whole would be addressed to Parliaments, which would decide with separate votes. The public opinion would therefore unknowingly adopt the dispositions that it would not accept if presented directly.?
Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said: ?The substance of what was agreed in 2004 has been retained. Really, what is gone is the term ?constitution?.?
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said: ?Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact??
Juncker said: Fears connected with the treaty ?most often stem from the fact that we use a language incomprehensible for ordinary people.?
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht said: ?The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this [Lisbon] treaty is to be unreadable ? The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success.?
European Commission President Jos? Manuel Barroso said: ?Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organization of empires. We have the dimension of Empire but there is a great difference. Empires were usually made with force with a center imposing diktat, a will on the others. Now what we have is the first non-imperial empire.?
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said: ?Those who are anti-EU are terrorists. It is psychological terrorism to suggest the specter of a European superstate.?
Reactions after the ?No? vote
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: ?The ratification process must continue. I am still convinced that we need this treaty.?
French European Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet talked of finding a ?legal arrangement? that would allow Ireland to ratify the treaty anyway.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the United Kingdom would press on with ratification, saying: ?It?s right that we continue with our own process.?
Hat Tip: Brussels Journal and American Thinker.
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