The moder day nations of Europe are all about democracy, right? The large Western European nations push for democracy from their eastern neighbors before they admit them to the ultra-club, the European Union. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t seem that way. Thursday, Ireland’s voters struck down the much famed Lisbon Treaty. Naturally, the next step the EU leaders took was to say, look, we’re going to find a way to go ahead with the reforms, whether you Irish voters like it or not. This might be, perhaps, the most undemocratic reaction possible, especially coming after the French and Dutch rejection of the EU Constitution a few years ago.
The government of Ireland has been fervently pro-Europe and pro-Lisbon. So have the political establishments in most nations, including heavyweights France and Germany. Except it seems that, like in Ireland, the popular reception to the Lisbon Treaty in Western Europe has been less than enthusiastic. If there is even the slightest doubt that the people of Europe don’t want the Lisbon Treaty governing them for the rest of their lives, the treaty should be put to popular referendum. Except, all EU nations except for Ireland had the treaty ratified in their parliament, or will do so in the future. All of this begs the question, why are the political establishments all across Europe snuffing out the voice of the people?
Not that I’m a populist; not by a long shot. Sometimes the people simply don’t know what is best. Maybe this is the case with the Lisbon Treaty, where many of the Irish rejected the treaty simply because they didn’t understand the treaty. However, the reason for having a democracy is to at least for the people to elect representatives who will take their views into account when governing a nation. The fact of the matter is, it seems that a lot of the EU politicians stand to gain from the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. The more the EU starts behaving like a single country, the more the central European bureaucracy, and executive, legislative, and judicial branches stand to benefit. What I don’t understand is why the leaders of the European countries, like Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy feel so secure that the European nations won’t lose their independence to the fast growing EU behemoth.
So should the EU become more like a single country rather than a bloc of nations dedicated to getting along? I don’t know. Maybe it should. The major risks to that is the treatment of the smaller countries, at first, and then the treatment of the people in general. Having Western European voters as a majority means that Eastern European countries would be outvoted on important issues. And besides, I don’t actually the EU is ready for the integration that the Lisbon Treaty proposed. Perhaps it will never be. Or perhaps the Lisbon treaty will eventually be forced down the throats of the people by the emerging EU aristocracy.