First off I should say in general I like the E.U, it’s been good for both Ireland and Europe however, the original purpose of the Union, the EEC (European Economic Community), was to foster trade and cooperation between the member states. I don’t have a problem with this, my problem lies with the current agenda (as I see it) of creating a European superstate loosely modeled on the American one. The first question any citizen should ask is “will this benefit me?”. As a working class citizen of Ireland I have to answer NO to this. The second question then is “Who will it benefit?”. Since the political and economic elite are the driving force behind this then I have assume they are beneficiaries. Their interests are not my interests, a European army does not benefit me, neither does a European police force nor a European foreign policy. These are tools and toys for the ruling class to better tighten their gripe on the continent under the euphemism of ‘Tighter Integration’. With their backs secured they can then turn outward to "protect" their interests, to quote from the Treaty of Lisbon website
[the treaty will provide for] Europe as an actor on the global stage will be achieved by bringing together Europe's external policy tools, both when developing and deciding new policies. The Treaty of Lisbon will give Europe a clear voice in relations with its partners worldwide. It will harness Europe's economic, humanitarian, political and diplomatic strengths to promote European interests and values worldwide, while respecting the particular interests of the Member States in Foreign Affairs.This statement is Orwellian in its brilliance. Do I need to point out here they left out the small matter of the ‘Rapid Reaction Force’? Empires off any age act only in the interests of the ruling classes. Neither European citizens nor the unfortunate targets of Europeans “interests” have anything to gain from this, we simply don't need it. I would guess the vast majority of Europeans are quite happy electing their own parliaments but see the need and advantages of a loose and friendly union to regulate trade and resolve disputes. I would also guess most people have little respect of the bloated bureaucracy of Brussels and Strasbourg and are horrified at the prospect of giving them even more power.
So onto democracy. If the E.U. is so democratic why is Ireland the only state holding a referendum? I would submit that they know the people of Europe would reject it and so they don’t ask. Is this democracy? Ask only the questions to which you will get the answer you want? Our politicians are meant to represent us “the people”, but they clearly do not. Witness Bertie Ahern running to Brussels after the defeat of the ‘Nice treaty’ to apologise for the Irish rejection of the treaty. The referendum was then reran some months later with a campaign based fear and the “correct” result obtained.
If any politician, local or European, truly respected the will of the people the Nice treaty would have to have been abandoned after the Irish vote (incidentally I think, again, we where the only country to get to vote on it). As it stands today the Lisbon treaty is a renamed European Constitution which has already been rejected by France and the Netherlands. Europe cannot claim to be democratic when it clearly is built on non-democratic foundations. From these sandy foundations what monstrosity will they create? I don’t want to find out so I'm voting no.
In the past year alone the benevolent E.U. has assisted in the partition of a sovereign state in violation of all international law. If they can do that to Serbia and call it good what are they capable of when they want to be really good?
Granting more power and autonomy to the E.U. is a disaster waiting to happen but I imagine most people will only see that when the Rapid Reaction Force is deployed within a European state.