End of sovereign states. EU conquers Europe

The EU has decided to take over almost total control over the sovereignty of its member states. Brussels tried to do this 20 years ago. But at that time, the citizens reacted by saying “no” to the European Constitution in referendums. Today, the EU officials are closer to their goal.

Sovereign, i.e. independent of any other country, authority or institution, and able to make decisions on key issues that are not imposed by anyone else. That’s how the linguists working on the Polish dictionary under the editorship of Witold Doroszewski understood the term. Many still associate it with values related to the state. It turns out that they are backward in their thinking and they won’t be able to defy the “forces of progress”.

Revolution without a shot

On Wednesday the Committee on Constitutional Affairs voted on the changes to the European treaties. It’s the official start of a revolution that could sweep away the foundations on which the EU was built without a shot.

The EU is to have a decisive say in 65 areas, including key ones such as: foreign policy, security, sanctions policy, multiannual budget and family law. Decisions in these and other highly sensitive areas will be taken by qualified majority voting rather than, as it has been hitherto, by unanimity, a nation that has so far determined the community of EU countries. The new system favours the largest countries of the “old” Union, i.e. Germany and France.

And it’s rather not a coincidence that Berlin has long requested changes, after the implementation of which the extension of qualified majority vote would cover the common foreign and security policies. France, for its part, has supported these efforts, stubbornly returning to the concept of a “multi-speed Europe”, already promoted under Jacques Chirac, which implies greater integration in a narrow circle of member states.

Majority vote decision making means weakening the role of the state as such, but it will be more painful for weaker and smaller countries, which may have illusory chances to oppose the solutions that are unfavourable for them.

The EU would gain new competences, including in the area of climate negotiations, which would have a major impact on the economies of individual countries. There would also be an increase in shared competences, i.e. those where European officials take precedence over national ones. New areas would be included: foreign policy and security, border protection, forestry, public health, civil defence, industry and education.

SIGN UP TO OUR PAGE The EU also wants to decide on migration issues and hasn’t forgotten about the ideological sphere, hence the idea of replacing equality between men and women with gender equality.

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Changes will also occur in the process of appointment for key EU posts. As of now, the President of the European Commission is proposed by the European Council and then approved by the European Parliament. In line with the adopted report, this rule would be reversed, i.e. the President would be nominated by the EP, as a result of which countries and political forces that predominate in the EP would have a profound influence on the filling of the post.

Fear of the “Polish plumber”

Is the EU therefore transforming into what some call a “superpower”, while some others call a patchwork of Länder without sovereignty or civic loyalty to their own states?

– Of course there is no such thing as full sovereignty – says Prof. Arkadiusz Jabłoński, sociologist, philosopher and professor at the Catholic University of Lublin, in an interview with TVP WEEKLY. Only God can enjoy such a status. Everyone else is dependent on some relationship. However, defining the sovereignty of states is about the limitations in making choices and decisions on the most important issues – explains the sociologist. And he admits that it is difficult to govern such a diverse organism as the European Union, which is expanded by new countries from time to time. Hence another attempt to centralize power. – Even the US, which in the past organised its relations with individual states through the Constitution, knows about the difficulties of governing such a large entity. The EU wanted to do something similar, but some societies felt threatened and decided that they were the entities to decide on the rules they would follow – reminds prof. Jabłoński.

In July 2003, work on the 278-page document to replace the existing treaties and commonly known as the EU constitution was indeed completed. In this case, it was also suggested to make decisions by majority vote. As is the case today, Germany and France were supposed to benefit most.

However, it turned out that the French were too afraid of cheap competition from new members of the community, symbolised by the “Polish plumber” and the possible enlargement of the Union to include Turkey, to support the constitution. To the surprise of politicians. As a result, proponents of the new order had to acknowledge the opposition of French and Dutch citizens in the referendums and put off their plans.

Procedures rather than objectives

20 years later, the idea of centralising power returned, although with the use of different mechanisms. Prof. Jabłoński has no illusions: – Without a constitution specifying the powers of individual governments, one tries to use procedures to decide what should limit others, he says. – This is, among others, where the weakness of this system lies. There are no constitutional provisions that would indicate the overarching objectives, and there are already procedures that can be used in different ways and with different intentions, often contradicting the ideals of the European Union, which at its origins was supposed to be a community of equal entities, where everyone has the right to disagree with the proposed solution – he points out.
The abandonment of state sovereignty is to be replaced by empty phrases such as “European solidarity”. “The world is moving forward and it is difficult to halt this process, so let’s stop thinking about the sovereignty of our country and start thinking about the sovereignty of Europe” argue supporters of the creation of the “United States of Europe”. Already in 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron assured that “the only way that will ensure our future is to rebuild a sovereign, united and democratic Europe”. And “creating a sense of belonging is Europe’s strongest bond”.

According to prof. Jabłoński’s reference to membership in the European community is an abuse. – We more or less know what belonging to a local or national community means. However, we associate belonging to Europe rather with belonging to a civilization, expressed in ancient culture, Roman law or Christian culture. However, what is the affiliation that would result from making current political decisions and forcing certain behaviours on us? – wonders the sociologist. He cites the problem of forced relocation of migrants as an example. He points out that it would be organised within the framework of “obligatory solidarity”. From this perspective, the concept becomes an oxymoron. – The narrative of “European belonging” or “European sovereignty” may be perceived as dangerous because it is not entirely clear what it means. It can be used to justify the simple pressure of the stronger on the weaker, he warns.

Revolt in the mainstream?

According to him, the social processes currently taking place, with globalisation at the forefront, favour the promotion of such empty concepts as “European solidarity” or “European sovereignty”. The importance of national belonging is also depreciated in popular culture.

Therefore, a world in which we are deprived of elements that identify us nationally is possible. – At the basic level, it does not have to be so noticeable, but at a higher level of satisfaction, even someone with a large wallet will not feel at home. They will be left with a sense of shame towards his status as a second-class citizen, still not fully adjusted – predicts Prof. Jabłoński.

The question remains whether there will be forces willing to oppose these processes. Could they be, for example, Ukrainians, who, although they are knocking on the EU’s door, are literally shedding blood for their sovereignty today? According to the sociologist, Ukrainians will quickly adapt and blend into pan-European trends.

Instead, we can expect sudden flashes of resistance and rebellion in the EU mainstream: although the interests of the largest EU countries will be taken into account in the new puzzle, their citizens will bear the costs of this change. They will also be deprived, at least to some extent, of their national identity, their attachment to local traditions or religion. – This could suddenly and unpleasantly affect all Europe. Tensions and contradictions may lead to the disintegration or even collapse of the EU – warns Prof. Arkadiusz Jabłoński.

– Sławomir Cedzyński

TVP WEEKLY. Editorial team and jornalists

– Translated by Dominik Szczęsny-Kostanecki
Main photo: European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg. Photo: PAP / Panoramic
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