Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday 21 February 2009

Vaclav Klaus spells out some home truths to the European Parliament

... and they don't like it one little bit. The Czech Republic currently holds the 6-month rotating Presidency of the European Union (EU), so when the President of the Czech Republic addresses the European Parliament (EP) on what should be pretty basic principles of democracy and how the lack of effective governing and opposition groupings within the EP reduces its effectiveness in deciding the affairs of the EU, one would at least have thought that the man could be given a respectful hearing. However, after the rather patronising lecture he received toward the end of last year from then then EU Presidency, France, that was probably a forlorn hope.

A comment President Klaus made quite calmly, that those who dare to think outside the EP's 'consensus' box and propose introduction of proper democratic accountability are denounced as 'enemies of European integration', was eloquently borne out by the reaction from the quite large numbers of hecklers in the EP chamber, even though some appeared to be applauding what he was saying. One might say therefore that whilst there appears to be diversity of viewpoints (what democracy is about in many ways), there is little effort to harness these diverse opinions into coherent strategies, outside of what is considered the current orthodoxy, that furtherance of 'integration' should over-ride democracy. Watch this short video-clip to see just how bizarre are the workings of the EP, if democracy is considered to be of any importance at all:

To me it is particularly poignant that this brief address on what might be called 'Democracy 101' should even be necessary at all [and it clearly is!] and even more remarkable, and sad, that it should come from the President of a country which until quite recently was no more than a Soviet puppet state and what passed for democracy there at the time was a mere travesty of what that word means. For the Czechs, and many other eastern European countries, know the value of democracy and struggled to achieve it over many years and I expect it perplexes then greatly that western European countries, for so long looked at enviously from the east, now seem so disinclined to maintain proper democratic accountability.

(thru GavPolitics - whilst he takes a quite different view from me about the merits of being in the EU [I am strongly in favour], we seem to share a common view on the current 'democratic deficit' within both the EP and EU generally)

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