Sunday, June 7, 2009

Divine intervention to save the Lisbon Treaty?

Who needs votes when the gods are on your side? Well, as if EU policy and decision-making mechanisms weren't already complex and confusing enough, it looks like religious leaders have joined in the EU political debate. Indeed the Lisbon Treaty introduces a "stronger consultative role for European religions in EU policy making" (statement made by the President of the EU Parliament at the inter-faith meeting he chaired in Brussels on 11 May). Co-chair European Commission President Jose Barroso added that this treaty provision would positively advance the freedom of religion or non-religion. Really?

In the Daily Telegraph, Bruno Waterfield questions this latest move by the EU leadership.

Why European institutions should be concerned with the divine when reviewing the fishing policy, discussing safety standards for toys or preparing legislation on the regulation of hedge funds is indeed difficult to fathom. Be it as it may, politics and faith are again being mixed and this time round, backed up by a legally enforceable right under the Lisbon Treaty. The introduction of religion into the EU public sphere is worrying. Historically, conflicts have been fueled on this explosive cocktail. So what is the political elite thinking? Are eurocrats and religious leaders ganging up to try and impose on us, the misguided flock, their revealed wisdoms? After more earthly fear mongering of economic and political doomsday, the message going out to the faithful (Irish in particular) is equally sinistre: "do not question (just ratify) the Lisbon Treaty. Or face eternal damnation".

Let us for a moment venture in the realm of legal fantasy. What if this yet-to-be-ratified-treaty opened a legal loophole for the introduction of a "common spiritual welfare policy" of sort? It is all too easy to imagine what would come next. Bureaucratisation with the establishment of a new Directorat Général (DG-DIVINE), the anointment of euro-priest-ocrats (naturally not answerable to the EU flock but their own gods), blessed subsidies and, of course, enlightened lobbies. Non-compliance with sacred rules would see you sentenced to hell...

On planet earth-EU now, punishment takes the form of ever-expanding EU exclusive competences. And more legislation. What this means at the end of the day, is more intrusion into the "private" sphere, i.e. less liberty for all.

To conclude on a point of public finance, the 2009 campaign has revealed that no expenses would be spared to guide from above. Quite literally. From the International Space Station, the Belgium astronaut propelled into orbit for the European Space Agency on a Russian rocket sent his "personal" - DG-COMM would like us to believe - election message to the EU flock below. Arguably the most expensive 2009 campaign spot... For free here.

Looking at the elections turnout (record low of 43%), the EU flock remained unimpressed (or just not interested) and chose not to flock to the polling stations. It is time for a rethink. Until then (...) and while analysts dissect the results of this electoral fiasco, some comic relief...

Mr. Beans' take on ze EU hell....

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