Another EU threat to national sovereignty

There was an excellent article in the THE DAILY TELEGRAPH today which is reproduced below:

One of the few “successes” of the British negotiations over the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009, was a partial opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This political agreement was proclaimed by EU institutions some 14 years ago to replicate the European Convention on Human Rights. The difference is that while the convention comes under the auspices of the Council of Europe, an organisation of more than 40 countries -including Russia and Turkey – the charter is an EU document. The distinction is significant.

Whereas the convention is administered through the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, the charter is enforced by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. The former, at least in theory, has no direct jurisdiction over our courts; but the latter is the supreme judicial body, whose decisions are binding. This is because EU law has a direct effect under the European Communities Act 1972 and therefore overrides British courts and Parliament.Increasingly, these rights are being transferred to the EU.

Vivienne RedingViviane Reding, the vice-president of the European Commission, says she wants the charter to be the EU’s “very own” Bill of Rights, which would apply to all member states and have legally binding force. The UK’s so-called exemption would effectively be null and void.

In fact, the ECJ is already attempting to impose charter rights on Britain, much to the alarm of senior judges and MPs.Lord Mance, a justice of the Supreme Court, recently warned of the EU “steamrolling” national courts into imposing European human rights rules on the UK. He echoed comments by Mr Justice Mostyn, a High Court judge, suggesting that many of the rights in the charter have already taken effect in the UK despite the opt-outs.

At a time when Britain’s future in Europe is such a controversial political issue, Commissioner Reding’s intervention could hardly have come at a worse time for David Cameron. He wants to renegotiate the terms of membership yet finds that plans are afoot to water down national sovereignty even further.

Moreover, the Conservatives also want sweeping reforms of the human rights convention and the Strasbourg court. But these will be meaningless if the powers are simply taken on by the EU, since they would then trump anything that MPs decide.

This sort of statement from the Commission is grist to Ukip’s mill ahead of European elections on May 22 – and the possible in/out referendum. If Commissioner Reding and her colleagues want Britain to remain in the EU, then they have a funny way of showing it

Civitas calls for the return of supremacy to the Supreme Court

Civitas, which is leading think tank supported by The Campaign for an Independent Britain has released a report which says that Britain has a “moral duty” to give the Supreme Court power over the European Court of Justice.

Dr David Green, the head of the Civitas said in a report released today that “The Government must unpick unwanted EU laws one by one and challenge Brussels to “do its worst”. To do this the Government will have to amend the 1972 European Communities Act to give Supreme Court superiority over the EU Court of Justice. A move which would amount to a “unilateral declaration of independence” without tearing up all EU laws and regulations in one go, Mr Green said.

The Civitas report examined the damage the EU has “wreaked upon Britain’s traditions of liberty and democracy since we joined the common market in 1973“. “There is a moral imperative for the UK to reclaim its independence irrespective of whether the EU is economically beneficial or not, Dr Green said.”

“It is tragic to watch the free people of Britain, who historically led the way in establishing modern freedom and democracy, absent-mindedly give up their powers of self-government. What’s at stake is far more than our future prosperity. It’s our ability to uphold our distinctive contribution to Western civilisation. The huge cost of the EU is undoubtedly a very important question, but even if the cost were zero – for that matter, even if we made a profit – the case for upholding our independence would stand.”

Last year Mr Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary said: “We have to make our Supreme Court supreme, I do not believe decisions about the way this country is governed – we are a democracy after all – should be taken elsewhere.” He is likely to welcome the report as renewed support for his ongoing battles with the European court over prisoner voting and whole-life tariffs.

Britain’s leading judges have also lent their support for the campaign for protecting the sovereignty of the Supreme Court in recent months. Lord Sumption, who is a UK Supreme Court justice, has accused the court of exceeding its legitimate powers, usurping the role of politicians and “undermining the democratic process“.

This is a welcome development now that Britain’s membership of the undemocratic economically moribund EU is being openly discussed but doesn’t go as far as we in CIB want which is the complete repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act.

The EU Stands for Everything That is Wrong in Europe by Geert Wilders

Greece 6Europe is in a terrible state. Bit by bit, European countries are losing their national sovereignty. The economy is in shambles. Islamic immigrants riot and terrorize the many locals. And when people’s throats are slit in the streets, while the murderers shout “Allahu Akbar,” the authorities appease the killers and declare that Islam has nothing to do with it.

Europeans feel that the gap between them en those who rule them is growing. Many no longer feel represented by their politicians. There is a complete disconnect between the people that truly rule Europe and the people that live in it.

The blame lies to a large extent with the European Union and the weak leadership within the European countries which have signed away their national sovereignty. The EU cannot be compared to the United States. Europe is a continent of many different nations with their own identities, traditions and languages. The EU is a supranational organization, but its leaders aim to turn it into a state. To this end they are destroying the wealth, identity and freedoms of the existing nation-states of Europe.

Before I elaborate, let us take a closer look at the terrible mistake that Europe made. Following the Second World War, Europe’s leaders mistakenly thought that patriotism was the cause of the war. All over Europe, not just in Germany, but everywhere, they equated the defense of national identity with extremism. Politicians told the electorate that the nation state was dangerous.

On the rooftops of Europe’s parliaments and official buildings, they flew the EU flag next to the national flag, as if the nation is nothing but a province of a Pan-European empire. On the number plates of European cars, they put the EU flag instead of the national flag, thereby forcing people to drive around with the symbol of their subjection. They signed away their national interests for the goal of so-called Europeanisation. Such policies could never have been possible if the ruling elite had not fallen for the ideology of cultural and moral relativism. Patriotism, which is a virtue, came to be seen as a vice. Today, the citizens of Europe are reaping the bitter harvest of this arrogance, this refusal to stand by the ancient nations of Europe, the mothers of modern democracy, the guardians of our liberty.

  • The EU stands for everything that is wrong in Europe.
  • It is a gigantic undemocratic transnational monster.
  • It issues legislation permeated with cultural relativism.
  • It meddles in the everyday lives of millions of people.
  • It has opened Europe’s borders to uncontrolled mass immigration, mostly from Islamic countries.
  • And it has deprived Europe’s parliaments of a huge amount of their legislative powers.

The European Union has brought one-size-fits-none policies that have resulted in economic disaster. It has led to growing tensions between the nations of Europe. It has led to the loss of democracy and liberty. Because the premise on which it was built, was false. Robert Schuman, one of the EU’s founding fathers, said that the EU’s aim was — I quote — “to make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” But the idea that Germany, France, Britain and other nations in the past went to war because they were sovereign nations is simply ridiculous. As I tell my audience whenever and wherever I speak in Germany, it was not German patriotism that started the Second World War; it was Hitler’s vicious totalitarian ideology of Nazism. It was not German patriotism that caused the holocaust. German patriots, such as Count Stauffenberg, fought Hitler. “Let the world see that not all Germans are like Hitler; that not all Germans are Nazis,” he wrote in his diary the evening before Hitler’s hounds executed him.

Likewise, it was not Russian patriotism that sent people to the Gulag; it was the Soviets’ vicious totalitarian ideology of Communism. Russian patriots, such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, stood up against the Soviets. Nevertheless, the proponents of the EU keep pretending that without the EU, the Germans, the French, the British, the Dutch and the other nations of Europe would go to war again. The European Union has even been given the Nobel Peace Prize for the achievement of preserving peace in Europe — an achievement that is according to me NATO’s rather than the EU’s. True patriots are always democrats. Because true patriots love their people and their country. You do not want your nation to be invaded by other countries. But neither do you want a totalitarian ideology, such as Communism or Nazism or Islam, to rob you of your own identity and enslave you.

Patriots want their country to be free. But people only care about the freedom of their country if they love it first. That is why one of my heroes Ronald Reagan said in his Farewell Address that we have to teach our children what our country is, what it stands for, what it represents in the long history of the world. Reagan said that Americans need — I quote — “a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions.

Patriotism is not a totalitarian ideology aiming for world control; it is love of one’s own country and identity — and as such it is the strongest force against totalitarian ideologies aiming for world domination. Love your country, appreciate its national institutions. As long as you do this, your country will remain the land of the free. But if you fail to do so, you will lose your freedoms. That is the lesson that we, Europeans, have learned the hard way after the past six decades of experimenting with EU transnationalism.  And  the worst thing is that we could and should have known better.

In her last book, Statecraft, Margaret Thatcher wrote “That such an unnecessary and irrational project as building a European superstate was ever embarked on will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era.

Let me tell you about the terrible consequences of this folly. The Europeans set out to build a political tower of Babel.  In 1957, six European nations, including my own, the Netherlands, signed the Rome Treaty. They committed themselves to the formation of — I quote from the Treaty’s preamble — “an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” From the original six, the European Union’s member states expanded to 27 nations today. Nations as diverse as Finland and Portugal, Ireland and Bulgaria, with their entirely different languages, cultures, traditions, habits and mentalities, were forced by their political leaders to adopt the same economic, fiscal, social, security, and foreign policies. These policies are drawn up by the enormous, ever expanding bureaucracy of the so- called European Commission in Brussels. It issues laws — so-called “directives” — that the member-states are forced to implement in their national legislation.

As a national legislator in the Netherlands I daily experience how little we still have to say about our own fate. We are expected to rubberstamp legislation made behind closed doors in Brussels. Both the EU Council of Ministers and the European Commission negotiate in secret and then emerge to announce their agreement and present it. That is how the system works. And we are not allowed to ask questions.

Those who dare think differently are labeled enemies of European integration. They are the so-called Europhobes.

The former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky calls the EU the EUSSR, because of its striking similarities to the former Soviet Unionto the former Soviet Politburo and Brussels to Moscow before the fall of the Iron
Curtain.

Two weeks ago, I went to Prague and met with Vaclav Klaus, the former President of the Czech Republic. President Klaus speaks of Europeanism as one of the new and dangerous ideologies that have supplanted Socialism. During his ten years in office, President Klaus refused to fly the EU flag over the Czech presidential palace. He points out that the EU is  “based on big and patronizing government, extensive regulating of human behavior and large-scale income redistribution. It shifts government upwards, which means to the level where there is no democratic accountability and where the decisions are made by bureaucrats appointed by politicians, not elected by citizens in free elections.”

The EU supranationalism has brought the once prosperous, sovereign and free nations of Europe economic misery, a loss of national identity, the demise of freedom and independence. 17 of the 27 EU member states have even been so foolish as to dump their national currency. By adopting the euro, the common EU currency, they joined the so-called eurozone. Strong and solid currencies that were the pride of their nations, such as the Dutch Guilder and the German Deutschmark, were sacrificed on the altar of European unification. The then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl sold this project to his people as “a matter of war or peace.”  The euro was presented as “an angel of peace.”

But what did this angel do to us? All the countries that joined the euro lost the power to adjust their currency to their own economic needs. They have destroyed their economies and have doomed their people to rising poverty and unemployment. They all suffered as a consequence. They all have to share the burden of other countries, even if the latter are suffering from self-inflicted policies, corruption or fraud, like in Greece. Last year, my party, the Dutch Party for Freedom, commissioned a study by the renowned independent British bureau, Lombard Street Research, into the cost for the. He compares the European Commission Netherlands of the euro so far.

The study found that, since the Dutch introduced the euro, the growth of consumption spending no longer matches the growth of GDP, as it did before we joined the euro and as it still does in all the countries that kept out of the eurozone. The cost was a huge loss in consumer spending. The study showed that continuing to uphold the euro would cost the Netherlands billions of euros. The Eurozone is a huge transfer zone, whereby taxpayers in our country are forced to subsidize other countries. The rising taxes have pushed our country, the Netherlands, into economic recession. Unemployment has grown to over 8% — the highest in decades.

And the countries that receive our taxes have no chance of recovery. They have no chance of economic growth within a monetary union where the currency is too strong for them. Millions of people are losing their jobs as a consequence. Countries such as Spain are doomed with unemployment figures reaching almost up to 30% today.

EU countries have also lost sovereignty over their own national budgets. The European Commission — not our national government — decides how big their deficits and national debts are allowed to be. It imposes austerity measures. But at the same time it demands ever larger sums to be transferred to Brussels or to so-called rescue operations for the euro and to bail out countries, like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus.

When the EU decided to raise its budget, my country and the Dutch government opposed this decision, but we were simply overruled. We have no veto right. Now we are forced to pay even more to Brussels. While government expenditure cannot be slashed by cutting the sums demanded by the EU, the Dutch government has raised taxes dramatically. The impact has been devastating. Higher taxes have resulted in less government income and have led to a contraction of the economy and a rise in unemployment. The same phenomenon can be seen all over Europe. The growth of expenses and taxes, the inability to create a competitive environment, the overregulation of the economy, the stifling bureaucratization — all this is leading straight to economic collapse.

But there is worse. EU member-states no longer control their own borders.

Immigration policies are decided by the European Commission and the culturalrelativists who are in charge there. The current European Commissioner overseeing immigration policy is Cecilia Malmström, formerly a left-wing kind of hippy politician from Sweden. Third-World immigration has turned Sweden into a nightmare, with immigrants frequently rioting in major Swedish cities such as Stockholm and Malmö. Mrs. Malmström is forcing all EU member states to follow the Swedish example.

Last year, I wrote her a letter. “Not one single Dutchman has voted for you,” I told her. “We do not know who you are. We do not want to know who you are, but you force your ideas on our people. We are suffering from your absurd refusal to allow us even the slightest restriction to our immigration policy. You do not even want to limit the number of partners that one is allowed to bring into the Netherlands! We urge you to cease your activities and give us our sovereignty back,” I wrote.

Needless to say that I am still waiting for an answer from her, despite the fact that I am an elected politician, accountable to the voters, while she is not. That is why she can afford not to answer a parliamentarian.

Millions of non-Western immigrants are flooding into Europe, predominantly people from Islamic countries. The Pew Research Center estimated the number of Muslims in Western European countries at 18.2 million in 2010. It expects that this number will rise to almost 30 million by 2030. The Netherlands will see its Islamic population grow from 5.5 to almost 8%, Britain from 5 to 8%, Sweden will even see it double from 5 to 10%, and France will see a rise from over 7 to over 10%. A demographic catastrophe is about to happen. During the past three decades, so many people rooted in a culture entirely different from Europe’s own Judeo-Christian and humanist tradition have entered Europe that its heritage, its freedoms, its prosperity, and its culture are in danger. The signs are there for all to see.

Ordinary people in Europe want three things.

  1. They want their politicians to tackle the problem ofmass immigration. They want to control their own borders.
  2. They want to restore their national sovereignty. They do not want their countries to become provinces of a pan-European superstate.
  3. They do not want their money to be used to pay for mistakes made elsewhere. They do not want a transfer union where they have to pay higher taxes to bail out other countries, whose leaders were either corrupt or incompetent.

Poll after poll show that ordinary Europeans do not want their democracy to be subverted. Last April, a pan-European poll showed that a clear majority of the population in the major EU member states no longer trust the EU as an institution. Even in Germany the number has reached almost 60%. Recently a Gallup poll showed that for the first time in history in the Netherlands as many people want to leave the EU as stay in. A few years ago, this was unthinkable.

The strength of Europe is its diversity. Europe is not a nation; it is a cluster of nations, bound by a common Judeo-Christian and humanist culture, but with different national identities. Last January, British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech in which he said that the EU needed to change.

He spoke about “the lack of democratic accountability,” “the excessive regulation,” and everything that is wrong in the EU. And there are many things I agree with, but I do not share his belief that the EU’s nature can be changed. Mr. Cameron believes that the EU can be transformed into  “a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union.”  I do not believe this. If an organization has as its explicit goal that it strives for “an ever closer union,” it simply cannot start moving in the opposite direction and relinquish the powers it has already acquired.

We can see how the mechanism works in the way in which the EU deals with the eurozone crisis. Rather than turning away from the destructive path that has so far been followed, Brussels is using this crisis to enforce an even tighter control over the member states. The European Union simply cannot be democratized because the whole structure is built on a negation of democracy. As President Klaus pointed out, there can be no European democracy because there is no European demos — no European people. There can only be various European democracies — plural! — in the various European nations. What the EU does is destroy these various democracies.

And, hence, my party’s position is very clear. We opt for an exit from the European Union. We want the Netherlands not just out of the Eurozone, but out of the EU altogether — including the so-called Schengen area, the group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their common borders. We reserve the right to reinstall random border controls.

We want to retain our independence. We want home rule! We want to be the masters in our own house! We want to be the masters over our own borders. We want to be the masters of our own money. The Party for Freedom wants the Netherlands to leave the EU and join the European Free Trade Association EFTA.

But here is the good news, my friends. As I have already indicated, public support for the EU is growing thin by the day. For months now, my party has been the biggest in the polls. And we are not the only one. In Britain, UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, which wants to lead Britain out of the EU, has come second in many by-elections and local and county elections during the past two years. It is polling an average of a quarter of the votes. And it is growing. In France last year, Marine Le Pen scored 18% in the presidential elections. She has now overtaken President François Hollande. She opposes the EU. And her popularity is growing. In Germany, it is still considered far too politically-incorrect to reject the EU. Nevertheless a new party, the Alternative for Germany, wants to take the country out of the eurozone. And its appeal is growing. In Italy, both the country’s largest party, Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement, and the Lega Nord, the largest party in the North, want a referendum on a return to the Lira, while the Lega Nord has called the EU a failed project. In Portugal a book advocating quitting the euro has become an instant bestseller. A proposal that was taboo until recently is now discussed openly, with the country’s Chief Justice personally coming out in support of eurozone exit.

All over Europe, anti-EU feelings are growing. All over Europe there are patriot parties that reflect the resurgence of national pride in their countries, whether it be the Netherlands, Britain, France, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Flanders, the Czech Republic, Germany, and the other nations currently trapped in the European Union.

As I said, here is the good news.

Europe might be on the verge of a fundamental change for the better. We seem to be on the eve of a major and truly historic event. In Europe, the time is ripe for a glorious democratic and non-violent revolution to preserve our national freedoms and restore our sovereignty. Exactly one year from now, the 27 member states of the European Union will be holding elections for the European Parliament.People are finally ready all over Europe to rebel in the ballot box. They reject the transfer union. They no longer want to pay for corrupt states. They reject the supranational experiment of the European Union. They are ready to cast their votes for a restoration of national sovereignty. They are ready to defend their own cultural identity. All they need is decent political leadership able to lead their nations out of the EU and towards a better future.

America’s first president George Washington has shown that when courageous and democratic politicians are available to lead their country, they can lay the groundwork for a lasting democratic framework that guarantees freedom and prosperity for centuries to come. My friends, my party in the Netherlands and several other parties in other European countries are preparing themselves for next year’s electoral landslide.

We can feel the heartbeat of the New Patriotism in Europe. Winter is over. Spring is coming.  The European Spring is upon us. And we are getting ready for it. We are aware of our historic task.

The European elections offer a unique opportunity to liberate the nations of Europe.  Next Spring’s European elections offer a unique chance to correct the fatal error made by previous politicians who sold away their taxpayers’ money and their national sovereignty to Brussels and delivered their countries to the evils of mass immigration. As a European politician, I am fully aware of my duty to grab this chance. The European elections next May must deal a blow to the parties that sold us out to the EU. Not just in the Netherlands. But everywhere in Europe.

That is why I do what is in my power to forge an alliance of democratic parties standing for the restoration of the sovereignty and freedom of their nation. I want to bring these parties together in a common endeavor to defend our identity and our values. I do not know whether I will succeed, but I am trying. It is my conviction that we have to work together. Because we are all in the same boat.

My friends, it is easy to despair. Time is running out for Britain, for France, for Germany, for the Netherlands, for all the other great nations of Europe. The present situation in Europe is bleak. If we do nothing, it will become even bleaker. If we do nothing we will be swept away by economic and demographic disaster. But it is wrong to despair. The present is bleak, but the future looks bright. Because the future depends on our actions. We are the actors on the stage of history. That, too, is a lesson from Ronald Reagan, who said: “We need to act today, to preserve tomorrow”.

I went to Paris recently to talk to Marine Le Pen and see for myself who she is and what she stands for. She is not her father. She is not anti-Semitic. She cares about France, its identity and its sovereignty. I went to Prague to talk to President Klaus. In the coming weeks and months, I will try to see as many patriot leaders in Europe as possible. Without a nation-state, without self-governance, without self-determination there can be no security for a people nor preservation of its identity.

Indeed, a soul needs a body. The spirit of a people cannot flourish outside the body of the nation-state. The nation-state is the political body in which we live. We must preserve and cherish it. So that we can pass on to our children our national identity, our democracy, our liberty.  We do not have to apologize for being good to ourselves. We do not have to change if we do not want to change.

The peoples of Europe resent the permanent alienation of power from their nation- states. They care about their nations because they care about democracy and freedom and the wellbeing of their children. They see their democratic rights and their ancient liberties symbolized in their national flags. They are proud of their flag. And as long as their pride lasts, they will have a future. Let us emphasize this commitment to the resurgence of our national pride with a symbolic gesture.

Today, a new threat is confronting us. But history shows that we can withstand it if we stand together. We need an alliance, not only of patriots in Europe, but also an alliance between America and Europe. We need the help and support of American patriots. Such an alliance brings out the best in us, and allows us to beat the totalitarian menace. This was proven by the alliance between Roosevelt and Churchill in the 1940s. It defeated Nazism. It was proven by the alliance between Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s. It defeated Communism.

And we have to stand together or we will be defeated. We have no other choice. As the great Margaret Thatcher said: “Defeat — I do not recognize the meaning of the word.” And neither should we!

Joining the EU has reduced our sovereignty by Normunds Grostins, Latvian Institute of Future Studies,

Latvia joined Eurozone on January 1st this year, Estonia on January 1st 2011. Both Estonia and Latvia joined Eurozone without referendum. All serious public opinion polls were showing that a large majority of Latvia’s population was against joining Eurozone. At the start support for euro was at 2-4 % and at end 30 %,  with 70% of the population against joining). That was not only economic issue, but feeling deeply rooted in our history of 20 century.

The Baltic states Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania emerged on the map of Europe as result of collapse of Russian Empire after socialist revolution of 1917. All three independent states immediately introduced their own currencies. After incorporation in Soviet Union, in 1940 national currencies were replaced by Soviet rouble. So we became members of rouble zone. After the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991 all three Baltic States immediately re-introduced the same national currencies. It was not only economic, but a deeply emotional, patriotic step as well.

In our experience, national currencies always were coming together with independence and also disappearing together with independence. The visual difference between euro and soviet ruble is, that soviet roubles had its description written on bills in all languages of Soviet Union, including Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian language (having 300 million population in USSR, 1 million in Estonia, 2 million in Latvia, 3 million in Lithuania had their language on all  Union money bills). The paper size of euro is bigger than that of rouble, but we don’t find on euro bill its description in Baltic languages.  Well, this is the emotional and historical part of joining Eurozone.

Economic part: European Stability Mechanism means contributions of 2 billion euro for Estoniaand and 3 billion euro for Latvia.   Latvian authorities turned down four referendum initiatives during last year. The EU in Latvia is decrease in democracy – before joining we had  rights to have referendums on EU matters . Now such referendums can be initiated only by national Parliament – which means in fact: only by the governing coalition. Which means – never.

As EU is becoming more and more centralised, we in the Baltics have strange feeling of deja-vu: we have seen a lot of today’s EU reality (and future) in another centralised union – the Soviet Union. 

The EU’s Political Subversion of European Churches

DR ANTHONY COUGHLAN of the Irish National Platform is a long-standing friend of the British Eurosceptic movement.  It was his cogent précis of the constitutional effects of the Lisbon Treaty which inspired to compilation of our CIB booklet “A HOUSE DIVIDED – Can Parliament serve two masters, the nation and the European Union?”.

 He has kindly given his permission for the following letter to be circulated to British colleagues who may find this overview of the EU’s involvement with the Churches of Europe useful.

The EU is an organisation which works through other organisations – as with member states, so with Churches.  If it can capture the political leadership of a state of a Church to advance its project, it really does not need to bother much about the citizens of the member state or the individual members of a Church or other organisations which it subverts.  It is a corporatist organisation, dealing with other corporate groups.

So, to those who say we should not mix politics and religion, we have to reply that the EU has already done so.  It wants its client Churches to provide “a soul for Europe”.  Many Church members may not be aware of the political espousal of the EU by their Church’s leaders.

Unless those Church members campaigning for national independence are content to leave the EU in control of collaborationist Church leaderships (supported by their own donations and Sunday collections), they have to start speaking up and asking questions.

Dr Coughlan’s comments give a very good point from which to start.

Dear Edward,

Thank you very much for sending me those interesting documents on the Christian Churches and particularly on the Church of England.  I have printed these out and they contain some illuminating stuff.

I remember Jens-Peter Bonde introducing me to an EU critical Lutheran Clergyman in Denmark some time in the early 1990s, who described how the EU Commission and the European Movement at that time were making a particular effort to co-opt the Christian Churches into supporting the EU project.

They seemingly set this objective as a key political goal following the Danish and Irish Maastricht Treaty referendums in the early 1990s when the Lutheran clergy in Denmark, for instance, tended to be on the No side.

Traditionally, it seems, the Lutheran Churches of Scandinavia, which are all State Churches as you know, tended to be EU critical, as they stood by the sovereignty of their respective Crowns/Monarchs, representing the national State sovereignty.

As regards the Church of England, you have heard the old wisecrack, I am sure, that the Church of England is the Tory party at a prayer! So I expect that the evolution of opinion in the C of E over the years has mirrored that within Conservative circles as a whole.

I don’t know how successful the EU’s co-option exercise has proved with the Lutheran Churches, but it certainly been hugely successful as regards to the Roman Catholic Church, which is my own background, especially in the 1990s/early 2000s…I expect that the post 2008 financial crisis has brought new issues into play – the growth of poverty, unemployment etc. – which perhaps reduces the Europhilia of various Church hierarchies, as they have to pay attention to such developments and deplore them from a Christian prospective.

The Catholic Church in Ireland, influential through it was, did not involve itself officially in any way in the 1987 Single European Act, 1992 Maastricht and 1998 Amsterdam Treaty referendums.

However in the 2001 Nice Treaty referendum, the newly formed European and International Affairs Committee of the Irish Catholic hierarchy caused consternation among the many Catholic traditionalists on the No-side by coming out with a statement shortly before the referendum which implicitly pointed towards the desirability of Catholics voting Yes.  Frantic efforts by some of the Catholic No-side people persuaded two of the bishops to say or imply that they supported the No side, but a lot of damage was done.

Similar interventions occurred in subsequent Irish referendums – in the aborted one on the proposed EU Constitution in 2005 and the 2008 and 2009 Lisbon Treaty referendums.

Sometime in the 1990s the Committee of the Catholic Hierarchies of the European Community/Union was established – known by its French initials and COMICE.  It had a full-time office in Brussels, whose full time secretary was for years Monsignor Noel Traynor, who was promoted to the Bishopric of Down and Connor – i.e. Belfast – a few year ago.  The current Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, is also a strong Europhile. You can “google” COMICE on the internet and find various further items of information there.

Traditionally in the RC Church each Bishop was, as the old saying put it, Pope in his own diocese.  Each one did his own thing, so to speak.  But in recent decades Bishops speak on political issues through the committees of their respective national hierarchies.  So that when it comes to an EU issue, they ask themselves: what does our European or International Affairs Committee or sub-committee think.  These subcommittees of half a dozen or so people are usually strongly Europhile, having been wined and dined for years in Brussels and gone symposiums on such matters as “Christian Ethics and the EU” etc. in castles in Germany and so on.

These committees sometimes include lay people who are Euro fanatics.  For example the European Affairs sub-committee which advised the Irish Catholic Hierarchy on its 2001 statement on the Nice Treaty included amongst its members a former Irish EU Commissioner (Richard Burke), plus a woman (by name Kahn-Carroll) who worked full time in the EU office in Dublin.

A relevant consideration for the Catholic Church may be that the German Hierarchy, where citizens as you know pay annual Church tax, is one of the principal funders of the Vatican and through the Vatican of the RC Church as a whole.

The last but one Pope, John Paul ( the Pole Karol Wojytala), was very anti communist and had some kind of vision of the EU replicating the Europe of the Middle Ages, when the Roman Catholic has such influence, which made him strongly Europhile.

The last pope, Benedict, was a German, which may also be relevant. The Roman Catholic Church, being a world-wide body with over a thousand million members, does not have a uniform view on many non-religious matters of course.  Even Catholic religious orders will have different traditions.  My own impression is  that  the Jesuits, for instance – an order of which the present Pope is a member – is traditionally very Europhile, whereas Opus Dei, another influential religious order, is said to be EU-critical… But within each order there will of course be diverse views held by individual members.

The CIB conference is clearly important and I hope it goes well. It reminds us EU – critics here in the Republic of Ireland that we should pay more attention to the current state of play regarding the Catholic Church and the EUI am not going to the TEAM meeting either, but it was nice to meet you again at the TEAM meeting in Riga last September. I trust that your political work and that of your colleagues goes well in the months ahead.

All the best for now, as ever

TONY

C of E – Church of England or Church of Europe?

Edward Spalton

Edward Spalton on the ruination of a national institution by socialist and Europhile folly

The English church pre-existed the unified kingdom of England and throughout history has been closely bound with it as an Estate of the Realm and as the educator of many of its most eminent administrators.  The first article of Magna Carta specifies “The English Church shall be free”.

Long before the Reformation, English kings wrestled with the problem of a church which, as a massive landowner, was exempt from the usual taxes on succession to estates because, unlike barons, the church never died.  Barons likewise found ingenious ways of giving parts of their estates to the church in trust for the benefit of their heirs.  The church took its cut as an on-shore tax haven, also offering prayers for the souls of benefactors, thus extending the benefits of wealth preservation of the hereafter – an attractive investment package.  Tax accountancy is not a new profession!

These massively wealthy corporate landowners, the monastic orders and dioceses, were part of an interlocking supranational cartel with their own internal system of law, answerable to Rome and not to royal courts.  Many acts of Parliament testify to this clash of interests.  The best known are the increasingly severe acts of Praemunire (1353,1365 and 1393) which penalised the offence of appealing to or obeying a foreign court.  Praemunire was replaced in 1967 in the run up to joining the European Economic Community.

The Lords Spiritual

The high officers of the church were important people who had to be consulted in Parliament.  Today every Act of Parliament begins “Be it enacted by the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual”, who rank in precedence ahead of the Lords Temporal – lay the peers – and the Commons.

Today there are twenty six Lords Spiritual.  The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester serve ex officio.  The remaining twenty one are drawn from the bishops with the longest service.  On leaving office, they cease to be Lords Spiritual but some have become life peers and continue to serve in the Lords. At least one Lord Spiritual attends each sitting of the House to begin proceedings with prayer.

They sit together on their own bench without overt party affiliation or whip and have the same rights to debate and vote as any other peer.  They can take different views on the same subject but mostly follow the general line of the leftish liberal “social gospel” ascendancy which has dominated the Church of England for the last forty years.  One long-serving independent peer reports that they are “Europhiles to a man”.

This seems a little odd, as the whole foundation of the reformed Church of England was based on the assertion of national independence from foreign jurisdiction.  Henry VIII assembled a powerful think tank to justify this claim.  Unsurprisingly, by consulting “divers sundry old histories and chronicles” they found the answers he wanted.  Henry stopped the church from sending money to Rome (1532) and in 1533 passed the Act in Restraint of Appeals to Rome. 

This was repealed for Northern Ireland in 1950 and for the rest of the UK in 1969 – again in the approach to EEC membership.

The act of Supremacy of 1534 stuck to the theory that Parliament was merely endorsing what had always been true – that the king was supreme over all subjects and inhabitants of his kingdom.  For the church this is summed up in the Article now numbered XXXVII in the Articles of religion, to which beneficed clergy of the Church of England subscribe today.

“The King’s Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction….”

It is the English Declaration of Independence and was accustomably included in the Book of Common Prayer to be found in each Parish.  This largely established “one use for the whole Realm” in the forms of Anglican worship until the liturgical fidgets which afflicted the Church of England from the Sixties onwards.  Very similar wording appears in the Bill of Rights of 1688 and in the oath taken by Privy Counsellors, including today’s Archbishops, to uphold the sovereignty of the Crown against all foreign powers.

Those of us who experienced the frantic liturgical innovations between the 1970s and 1990s wondered what it was all about.  Leading churchmen told us very forcefully that newer, modern wording was needed to be “meaningful and relevant in this day and age and moment in time” and to reach out to younger people.

The Anglo-Catholic party saw an opportunity to move the communion service nearer to the vernacular Roman mass.  Dom Gregory Dix’s book “The Shape of the Liturgy” was very influential.  Others were influenced by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s idea of “religion less Christianity” for the common man.  Bonhoeffer was an admirable man and a martyr.  He himself drew strength from the traditional forms, which, he felt, were beyond the understanding on the average person.  There was a touch of arrogance in this which extended to the Anglican modernisers.  They seemed to believe that a dumbed down liturgy was needed for dumbed down people.

Older members of the congregation asked me to approach the vicar to ask for a Prayer Book Evensong occasionally.  He brushed it aside “They won’t understand it,” he said – referring to people who had know the service all their lives! “We must look forwards and outwards, not backwards and inwards”.  Immediately afterwards, he threw out all the Books of Common Prayer.

There was a very successful traditional parish not too far away, frequently attracting over two hundred morning services and a hundred to evensong.  So the Book of Common Prayer was certainly not repelling people there.  A new vicar was who arrogantly quipped that, as a first step, he intended “to bring the church into the nineteenth centaury”. Of course attendance plummeted. He has long since moved on to senior appointments.  I am told that when recently asked about this episode, he replied that the then Bishop had instructed him to “Get rid of the Prayer Book within three months”.

Without decrying the successful ministries of those using the modernised services, what was the point of suppressing what was working very well?

In ignorance of that episcopal directive, members of the Prayer Book Society went to see the Bishop’s successor who assured us of his concern and intention to maintain the Prayer Book ministry.  He insisted no minute should be kept.  Having seen no improvement in the situation, we wrote suggesting that clergy might be reminded to use the service appointed for the anniversary of the Queen’s accession.  The response was volcanic.  We had touched a raw nerve.  Some of the clergy still using the Prayed Book said that they were pressured to omit the prayer for the Queen’s Majesty “because she isn’t important anymore”.

 La Trahison Des Clercs

In the preface of the now discarded Alternative Service Book of 1980 the intellectuals of the Liturgical Commission said that they were “the mind of the Church”.  The book did not include the usual state prayers and Articles.  Neither does its successor, the pick-and-mix Common Worship.  In hindsight, it is plain that it was not just the sovereign who was being slighted but sovereignty itself. The pastoral was mixed with the political.

From the same era, the General Synod paper “Britain in Europe – the Social Responsibility of the Church” (Ref GS 95) is one of the most rabidly Europhile documents imaginable.  It lauds the European projects to the skies, containing phrases like “The European Economic Community was conceived by its brilliant and innovating creators…” – and looks forward to the Church of England’s role in dissolving the nation into the European polity.

As a solid, spiritually sustaining, much loved bulwark of personal faith and the constitutional settlement of Church and state, the Book of Common Prayer had to go because the Church’s leadership had decided that the nation itself had to go.  So had her Majesty’s Government.

 Edward Spalton is vice-chairman of Campaign for an Independent Britain