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Texas 12-14-2008 06:44 AM

The E.U shows its true colours
 
Czech leader in shock after EU assault

A bizarre confrontation in Hradcany Castle confirms the inablilty of the Euro-elite to accept anyone else's opinions, writes Christopher Booker.

Christopher Booker
Last Updated: 10:28AM GMT 14 Dec 2008

Imagine that a Franco-German MEP, invited to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace, plonked down in front of her an EU "ring of stars" flag, insisting that she hoist it over the palace alongside the Royal Standard, and then proceeded to address her in a deliberately insulting way. The British people, if news of the incident leaked out, might not be too pleased.

Something not dissimilar took place at a remarkable recent meeting between the heads of the groups in the European Parliament and Vaclav Klaus, the Czech head of state, in his palace in Hradcany Castle, on a hill overlooking Prague. The aim was to discuss how the Czechs should handle the EU's rotating six-monthly presidency when they take over from France on January 1.

The EU's ruling elite view President Klaus, a distinguished academic economist, with a mixture of bewilderment, hatred and contempt. As his country's prime minister, he applied to join the EU in the days after the fall of Communism in the 1990s. But now Klaus is alone among European leaders in expressing openly Eurosceptic views, not least about the Lisbon Treaty, which the Czech parliament has yet to ratify.

Klaus was an outspoken dissident under the Communist regime, and he has come to regard the EU as dangerously anti-democratic. But he compounds this sin with highly sceptical views on global warming, on which he recently published a book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles. He likens the extreme environmentalism favoured by the EU to Communism, as a serious threat to democracy, freedom and prosperity.

So when Klaus was due to meet the MEPs, one of them decided this was a moment to display the Euro-elite's hostility to him. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who is German born but lives in France, first came to prominence in Paris in 1968 as a student agitator. He is now leader of the Green MEPs. Talking loudly in the plane to Prague, he made no secret of his intentions, and brief French journalists on how to get maximum publicity for his planned insults.

I happen to know the splendid room in which the meeting took place, because I sat there myself with President Klaus in 2005, when he had arranged for a history of the EU I had co-authored to be published in Czech. As Cohn-Bendit was aware, the only flag that flies over the castle is the presidential standard (though the "ring of stars" is much in evidence elsewhere in Prague, flown outside every government ministry).

As described to me by someone present, President Klaus greeted the MEPs with his usual genial courtesy. Whatever his own views, he assured them, his countrymen would conduct their presidency in fully "communautaire" fashion. Cohn-Bendit then staged his ambush. Brusquely plonking down his EU flag., which he observed sarcastically was so much in evidence around the palace, he warned that the Czechs would be expected to put through the EU's "climate change package" without interference.

"You can believe what you want," he scornfully told the president, "but I don't believe, I know that global warming is a reality." He added, "my view is based on scientific views and the majority approval of the EU Parliament".

He then moved on to the Lisbon Treaty. "I don't care about your opinions on it," he said. If the Czech Parliament approves the treaty in February, he demanded, "Will you respect the will of the representatives of the people?"

He then reprimanded the president for his recent meeting in Ireland with Declan Ganley, the millionaire leader of the "No" campaign in the Irish referendum, claiming that it was improper for Klaus to have talked to someone whose "finances come from problematic sources".

Visibly taken aback by this onslaught, Klaus observed: "I must say that no one has talked to me in such a style and tone in the past six years. You are not on the barricades in Paris here. I thought that such manners ended for us 19 years ago" (ie when Communism fell). When Klaus suggested to Hans-Gert Pöttering, the president of the EU Parliament, that perhaps it was time for someone else to take the floor, Pöttering replied that "anyone from the members of the Parliament can ask you what he likes", and invited Cohn-Bendit to continue.

"This is incredible', said Klaus. "I have never experienced anything like this before."

After a further exchange, in which Cohn-Bendit compared Klaus unfavourably with his predecessor, President Havel, he gave way to an Irish MEP, Brian Crowley, who began by saying "all his life my father fought against the British domination [of Ireland]… That is why I dare to say that the Irish wish for the Lisbon Treaty. It was an insult, Mr President, to me and the Irish people what you said during your state visit to Ireland." Klaus repeated that he had not experienced anything like this for19 years and that it seemed we were no longer living in a democracy, but that it was "post-democracy which rules the EU".

On the EU constitution, Klaus recalled that three countries had voted against it, and that if Mr Crowley wanted to talk about insults to the Irish people, "the biggest insult to the Irish people is not to accept the result of the Irish referendum". This provoked Crowley to retort angrily, "You will not tell me what the Irish think. As an Irishman, I know it best."

Everntually Pöttering closed the meeting by saying that he wanted to leave the room "in good terms", but it was quite unacceptable to compare himself and his colleagues with the Soviet Union. Klaus replied that he had not mentioned the Soviet Union: "I only said that I had not experienced such an atmosphere, such a style of debate, in the Czech Republic in the last 19 years."

This bizarre confrontation, which has been recounted and discussed with shock across formerly Communist eastern Europe, confirms the inability of the Euro-elite to accept that anyone holds different views from their own, on Lisbon, global warming or anything else. As we see from the way our own political parties are run, when it comes to "Europe", the system has no place for opposition. Everything must be decided by "consensus", directed from the top. There is only one approved "party line". Apart from a few little powerless dissidents round the edges, the EU is thus in essence a one-party state.

It was a sense of this that powerfully influenced the French, Dutch and Irish people, when they were given the chance, to vote against the constitution which will cement that one-party state into place more firmly than ever. And it explains why, last week, the European Council told the Irish that they must hold their referendum again, on the understanding that this time they will get it right. That is the way one-party states behave – as President Klaus, who lived under one for the first 50 years of his life, knows only too well.

Texas 12-14-2008 06:57 AM

I doubt Mr Crowley has the remotest idea what his fellow Irish feel about anything.
The EU has been revealed to be a left of centre corrupt organisation led by an anti democratic clique hell bent on power.

MSG Glenn 12-14-2008 07:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Texas (Post 72979)
I doubt Mr Crowley has the remotest idea what his fellow Irish feel about anything.
The EU has been revealed to be a left of centre corrupt organisation led by an anti democratic clique hell bent on power.

Almost sounds like the UN.

Common Sence 12-15-2008 08:10 AM

...and North America.

Rock-Steady 12-15-2008 04:37 PM

Roger that!

jrj1000 12-15-2008 06:54 PM

I dont know what people really expect from the EU:confused:....so many countries with different cultures and more to the point different agendas....its a great idea until it dosnt toe a certain countrys line and then its the monster......the monster we created to be honest

Its a great idea on paper... one I would like to half buy into...but when real moves have to be made it falls over itself

The UN and NATO are pretty much the same....both in military and in politics...Didnt Russian moves in Georgia earlier this year prove that?

The EU and NATO has the capacity to change with certain shake ups but the UN has to be reconfigured completely....its been a dead duck for years

torspo[fin] 12-15-2008 11:02 PM

I dont have anything to say on this untill i have something solid from my govt...

but this was always the point?

its slow its sluggish... hell lets just go nazi while we are AT IT...

friggin.... mumble....


what was the point of the whole union?
many members of this forum dont seem to understand it..
is it because they live in US or something else?

its not like there were never dissagreements there?

its so easy to go and point fingers when your not in the "ring" at all.

i say keep your bananas! :D

we shall sort this thing out on our own. to better or worse.

we have much to sort out... forexample the eastern areas of the union...
there are plenty of volitile situations there... thats why i would recommend a more saddle approach with the expansion all to gether.. well we said this.. do they listen the smaller members?...
thats another cup of tea.

and we do need to think before we take another sip.
which aparently has not been on the list of things to concider.
in financial terms.. the EU is still far better off than USA.

and dont make me quote all your mishaps.

jrj1000 12-16-2008 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by torspo[fin] (Post 73022)
I dont have anything to say on this untill i have something solid from my govt...

but this was always the point?

its slow its sluggish... hell lets just go nazi while we are AT IT...

friggin.... mumble....


what was the point of the whole union?
many members of this forum dont seem to understand it..
is it because they live in US or something else?

its not like there were never dissagreements there?

its so easy to go and point fingers when your not in the "ring" at all.

i say keep your bananas! :D

we shall sort this thing out on our own. to better or worse.

we have much to sort out... forexample the eastern areas of the union...
there are plenty of volitile situations there... thats why i would recommend a more saddle approach with the expansion all to gether.. well we said this.. do they listen the smaller members?...
thats another cup of tea.

and we do need to think before we take another sip.
which aparently has not been on the list of things to concider.
in financial terms.. the EU is still far better off than USA.

and dont make me quote all your mishaps.

So what then Torps....you think its working?

I think the old saying strength in numbers dosnt apply here...more like too many cooks spoil the broth...and we need to be aware of the problems which can come from allowing too many former Soviet states in

Common Sence 12-16-2008 03:17 PM

I don't think a union of nations that have members with different agendas can work.

The U.N. is too broad and Nato is getting there. If Nato would stick to what it stands for...geographically speaking, it would be a sound union. I think.

Texas 12-16-2008 03:42 PM

We voted back in the 70's for a free trade area. We didn't vote for a European super power. At the the last election the Labour party promised us a vote on Europe, but now won't let us have one because we would vote NO...........Strange democracy!:o:rolleyes:


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