A rather disturbing article came to light recently — one deserving to be left in the realm of the unicorn. It suggested that though the Nazis may have lost the war, they didn’t necessarily lose Europe; and, that the EU is a ‘dictatorship’.
Before anyone can comment on whether the EU is a dictatorship, they must have some awareness of the treaties the EU is founded on. You need not go into a lot of detail to discover the dictatorship claim is weak. Let’s scratch the surface.
A dictatorship is a government or a social situation where one person makes all the rules and decisions without input from anyone else.
Ask yourself: Does any of the following have any connotations that could suggest a dictatorship?
‘The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.
The aim of the EU is to promote peace, its values and the wellbeing of its peoples. Its citizens will have an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers. It will combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child. It shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.
The Union shall respect the equality of Member States before the Treaties as well as their national identities, inherent in their fundamental structures, political and constitutional, inclusive of regional and local self-government. It shall respect their essential State functions, including ensuring the territorial integrity of the State, maintaining law and order and safeguarding national security. In particular, national security remains the sole responsibility of each Member State.
The functioning of the Union shall be founded on representative democracy. Citizens are directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament. Member States are represented in the European Council by their Heads of State or Government and in the Council by their governments, themselves democratically accountable either to their national Parliaments, or to their citizens. Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen’.
As you can see from just a small amount of detail from the treaties that form the EU, it is impossible to even suggest that the EU is a dictatorship. While claims to the past are relevant, we need to be sensible and ask: where are the Nazi atrocities taking place? Where is the Fuhrer?
Where is this dictatorship!?
We have a European Parliament which we directly elect, we have the European Council made up of our head of government and we have the Council which is made up of our ministers from governments. Then we have the Commission … the institution Brexiters love to hate but don’t really know why.
The President of the Commission is nominated with the agreement of the governments of each member state after consultation with the European Parliament. The government of each member state nominates a commissioner according to its own selection procedure. This means that the Commission reflects a variety of vocations including politicians, lawyers, civil servants and academics. Parliament must then vote to approve the appointment of the President and the other members of the Commission. If the Parliament should refuse to appoint one or more of the Commissioners, the selection process must start again. Members of the Commission are appointed for a renewable term of 5 years.
I therefore ask again, where is the dictatorship …??
In a typical dictatorship people are generally controlled, oppressed, and in fear of the state. We have history to show this. Arguably, a very different state of affairs obtains from our membership of the EU where we have citizenship rights in each member country and can expect to have equal treatment. You only need to look at the various areas of the legislation to realise that we have a lot of rights and protections. If these rights or protections are breached you can enforce your rights in the national courts of each member state, depending where the violation took place. I ask any Brexiter to tell me how on earth any of these laws even come close to a dictatorship. I see freedoms and protections for us, not restrictions or oppressions.
Your EU citizenship (which is only additional and does not replace your national citizenship) gives you the right to move, work and do many other things quite freely within the EU, giving us a multitude of opportunities. Any reasonable and objective person can see that this does not even come close to oppression. We’ve all read something about how the Nazis and other extreme groups oppressed people … I ask then, how have you or I been oppressed that is comparable to the violations we know of?
In a no-deal Brexit, Article 50(3) says the Treaties (which form the basis of these rights and protections) shall cease to apply. Our EU citizenship stops and our rights are stripped from us. Perhaps, it is the UK which is the elected dictatorship we should all be fearful of …