Saturday, November 10, 2007

Two Sad Days for EU Governance

Two EU whistleblowers lose in the EU court system, with chilling verdicts, and commentary, from EU officialdom: The cases of Bernard Connolly and Marta Andreasen.

Turkey is more democratic than the EU -- Daniel Hannan
If the EU were a country applying to join itself, runs a Brussels joke, it would be turned down for not being democratic enough.

The old saw is being vindicated anew by the EU’s treatment of Turkey. Ankara has been told that it must alter its legal code to permit criticism of Turkish nationality. Fair enough: while it’s none of our business to tell Turks how to order their internal affairs, the provision has always struck me as a demeaning one. Turkey should be above such touchiness.

But here’s the thing. While the EU hectors Ankara about its legislation, it is slowly building a corpus of Euro-law which proscribes criticism of the European Union. The clearest precedent has been the case of Bernard Connolly, a British Commission official who, out of office hours, wrote a book called The Rotten Heart of Europe, which criticised the single currency.

He was dismissed from his post for criticising the European project, and went on to challenge his former employers on grounds of free speech. When the Euro-judge — a Spaniard, as it happened — handed down his verdict, it contained a bone-chilling phrase. Freedom of speech, said the judge, was not an absolute right: “Criticism of the European Union, like blasphemy, lies outside its terms”.

Meanwhile, the EU has created the new offence of “xenophobia”. How, I wonder, might “xenophobia” be interpreted by a zealous Euro-integrationist? The Commission, for example, has already described opposition to the euro as “monetary xenophobia”.

Look at the whole business from Ankara’s point of view. Turkey is told to be more democratic by an organisation [the EU Commission] that is run by 27 unelected commissars and their accompanying apparat. It is ordered to face up to its past by a body that pretends to have been born out of a reaction against fascism, ignoring the Nazi and Quisling backgrounds of many of its founders. It is nagged about getting more women into politics, despite having elected its first female head of government 14 years ago — a landmark that 18 out of the EU’s 27 member states have yet to reach, let alone the European Commission, 20 of whose 27 members are men. It lectured about free movement by a European Union that continues, in breach of its repeated promises, to blockade the Turkish part of Cyprus.

My point is not that Turkey is always right. But the EU’s hypocrisy and heavy-handedness in the negotiations is causing even the most Westernised Turks to bristle. The Turko-sceptic majority in Brussels keeps dangling the prospect of a radicalised and orientalised Turanistan before us. If they carry on like this, they might just succeed in making their preposterous fears come true.

And a timely update of a related story that's been going on for a few years now.

Marta Andreesen, an EU official who went public with the information that the EU Commission is nearly $300M off in their accounting, has lost her whistleblowing case:

Her predecessor, EU Auditor Dougal Watt, went into hiding for some time a few years ago, for having revealed the same information. He'd received death threats... from members of the government, presumably. Who else's ox was being gored, if not theirs?
Commission officials have welcomed the judgment against Mrs Andreasen. "The court has now rejected Mrs Andreasen's claims and upheld our decision to dismiss her for misconduct. The commission is entitled to respect, trust and loyalty from its officials," said a spokesman.
How about, "The citizens of the EU are entitled to accountability, transparency and respect from their government" ?
The commission claims that Mrs Andreasen broke internal rules of "hierarchy" by going to the press and MEPs with her concerns over standards of EU accounting.

"Her allegations were not new and were rather general. And to be a whistleblower you have to respect certain channels," one official said.
Arrogant, smug, and blithely self-contradictory.

That sort of attitude on the part of the EU goverment, including its local minions where I lived (for several years, as a non-citizen) has much to do with my having decided not to remain there.

Is this what is meant when we are told Europe is more civilized than the US?

I had thought that being ruled by smug, condenscending, vindictive unelected poobahs was something that civilized countries sought to put behind them.

Apparently the truth about being "civilized" is more complex than that... something we peasants can't be expected to understand, naturally.

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