Hieronder een interview met Declan Ganley van Libertas. Libertas staat inmiddels geregistreerd als politieke partij en zal in 2009 meedoen aan de verkiezingen voor het Europese Parlement. De EU verkiezingen van 2009 worden daarmee de eerste keer dat Europeanen kunnen stemmen op een partij die openlijk tegenstander is van de hernoemde grondwet EN die individuele vrijheid en de vrije markt als speerpunten heeft. Of Libertas merkbare invloed kan uitoefenen is zeer de vraag in de door federalisten (Super Statisten) gedomineerde Eurocratie in Brussel, maar ’t is niettemin een overwegenswaardig alternatief voor niet-stemmen.
Ganley: the Lisbon treaty is dead
Ahead of a conference of presidents meeting this morning to discuss the funding of Irish anti-Lisbon group Libertas, its founder, businessman Declan Ganley, puts his case to MEPs.
“It has been interesting to note the response of some MEPs to my country’s overwhelming rejection of the anti-democratic Lisbon treaty. It seems some of them were surprised, which only goes to prove just how removed they are from the real world in which we citizens of Europe occupy.
On 2 September, I had the honour of visiting the European parliament. I made the trip for several reasons, the most important of which was to do my small part as a private citizen in driving home the message that my own government has seemingly not had the courage to do. That is to firmly remind the institutions of Brussels that under the rules of the EU, the Lisbon treaty is dead.
Again, for clarity, in case anyone is unsure, the Irish people, who in my country are sovereign, have made their decision and the decision is no. If Brussels is to hold on to any pretence of holding democracy among its most cherished principles, it must accept the Irish people’s decision as final. It is the third rejection of the anti-democratic formula of Giscard d’Estaing’s European constitution. First the French said no, second the Netherlands, and now the Irish.
Of course, we all know that if there was a full and open debate and referendum on the Lisbon treaty in any of your member states, it would be roundly defeated in most, and not just by the usual suspects. As an ardent pro-European, I would point out to you that the Irish people are amongst the most pro-European people in Europe.
Most EU citizens do not hold the union in such high regard. The defeat in other referendums would be greater than in Ireland, which, of course, is why there were not any other referendums.
The problem with this approach is that Brussels is very rapidly squandering the remaining trust that Europe’s citizens have in it. Why? Because Brussels doesn’t trust those same citizens to make their own choices, democratically, on the major questions facing Europe.
If this continues, the European project will fail. It may not feel like it, as you sit in those large imposing buildings, but morally, they have walls of cardboard, supported by pillars of rules, regulations, directives and treaties that are written on paper but not in the hearts of men and women across Europe.
So there is the message: if the EU is to succeed, thrive and be capable of igniting a new European renaissance, to have Europe strong, credible, respected and truly capable of once again leading the world, Europe must be legitimate. To have legitimacy, it must be rooted firmly in democracy. Legitimacy can only come from the bottom up, starting with the individual sovereign citizen.
If we are to confer more and appropriate power and responsibility on the EU, and I personally believe we should, the EU must make itself democratically accountable to the citizen. For example, if there is to be a president of the council, then that position can only be established if that person makes themselves subject to the ballot box all across Europe – and we will all be better off for it.
If Europe is to have a constitution or fundamental treaty (and Libertas believes it should), call it what you want, then lets ensure that it is up-front and honest in what it seeks to achieve. It is alright that it be ambitious – in fact, it needs to be in order to speak to the hearts of Europe’s people. It should be short, concise and readable by ordinary European citizens.
Rule one of such a document should be that if it is more than 25 pages, the answer is no. I believe the people of Europe will rise to such a call. I am utterly convinced that Brussels seriously underestimates the citizens of Europe and what they are capable of understanding and prepared to support. Brussels has just dismally failed to show the necessary leadership and courage. A referendum across Europe for such a treaty is essential and the people’s say on such a proposition must be final.
I realise that some reading this will consider that they’ve done enough. I’ve heard it said that Brussels has no mood or will to go back to the drawing board and structure a new approach. For those harbouring any such sentiment, it’s time to move on because as public servants, the institutions of Brussels have no choice but to respect the democratic will. It’s alright to be tired and not want to do the hard work, but if that’s how you feel, remember what you’re being paid for and do the decent thing (By the way, if you were working in the private sector, it would be easier, you’d just be fired.)
For those of you in the unelected institutions in Brussels that insist on Lisbon, the people don’t care what you think because you have no mandate. For those of you in the European parliament that so fervently believe the anti-democratic Europe set out in Lisbon is the only way to go, I lay down this challenge. Say “back me or sack me” to your electorates next June, and let’s have a Europe-wide debate on what kind of Europe we want to build for the future of our children and grandchildren. Yes, it will be a proxy referendum on the Lisbon treaty, so let us have an open and honest debate on it, engage the citizens of Europe and give them something to believe in.
There are some in Brussels that are clearly barking orders to the Irish government to get about the unaccountable elites’ business and deliver a second referendum. Let me explain why that cannot or should not happen because the timidity of certain (thankfully not all) Irish politicians may do you a disservice.
First, we the people of Ireland have made our decision and we are sovereign, not slaves, not stupid, and that report you are hearing about is wrong, for now, just take my word for it (remember who told you there would be a yes vote).
Second, when you take encouragement from the fact that there were two referendums on Nice (where I voted yes, by the way), you need to consider that there was a general election between Nice I and II. In the election campaign, the winning parties said they would hold another referendum, so they had a democratic mandate to do so. There is no such mandate now, so the political consequences would be very high.
Third, for reasons too numerous to go into here, there will be an even larger no vote in a second referendum and serious damage to the goodwill that we Irish rightfully have for the EU. The damage to the EU’s credibility will not be limited to Ireland but will spread to much of Europe and will linger for many years. Attempting to remove Libertas from the scene and trying to destroy me won’t help the cause. It wasn’t about me to begin with, so don’t delude yourselves that this would change anything. It wouldn’t. Destroy me and another will take my place in the line because the truth is on our side. If you’re going to start throwing stones, you are the ones in the great big glass houses.
Fourth, the last thing Ireland needs is to be talking about Lisbon for another stint. Not many people at home live and die by what’s printed in the Irish Times. It’s not a majority view (as the referendum result proved), so although on most things – apart from Lisbon – it’s a fairly decent paper read by professionals, I wouldn’t advise drawing too much courage from it on Lisbon (There are Irish MEPs amongst you who can explain further.).
We have a serious economic crisis to deal with (as does everyone else living in the real world outside Brussels) and if Brian Cowen does hold another referendum and lose, he will have to resign or be pushed. His government might not survive and his leadership certainly wouldn’t. I, for one, would not want to see that happen, but happen it will if he holds another vote.
As for that tiny extremist minority in Brussels who have seen fit to cast innuendo on my character and motivations (with help from their puppets in Dublin), know this: I am of Ireland and I will stand alone if necessary, with my people, no matter how you attack me. I know what probably bothers you most is that I am really a nobody, an inconsequential flawed individual like so many others, but I will not be denied my voice as a citizen or see others denied theirs.
It is patronising in the extreme to the Irish people, who listened and participated in a vigorous democratic debate, to suggest that some false fantastical foreign plot was at the core of Libertas’ campaign for democracy at the heart of European governance. I understand that some in Brussels despise America, and it clouds your thinking, but frankly, I expect they wouldn’t consider you important enough to spend time on. Let’s pray that we never again have to live in a Europe that needs its offspring from across the Atlantic to die on our beaches and in our fields to uphold democracy in Europe.
I’m glad to say that in Ireland, and across Europe, I know that Europeans love democracy so much that we’re perfectly capable of defending it on our own, whatever the price. I know that makes some of the unaccountable, unelected elites in Brussels uncomfortable, which goes to prove that Libertas has struck a chord across Europe, that the days of unaccountable governance in Brussels are hopefully numbered and the days of a strong, legitimate credible Europe, which has the support and engagement of its citizens, lies ahead of us.
Ireland’s vote was a wake-up call, and the Irish people, in their historically good nature, said “Good morning Europe, our best days lie ahead of us.
We are interested in talking with MEPs or potential MEPs who want to learn more about our campaign for a democratic, accountable, transparent, and strong Europe. If you want to know more about Libertas please visit www.libertas.org.”
Overgenomen van The Parliament.com
Zie ook Declan Ganley in the Late Late show.