The European ruling elite is having a collective nervous breakdown for fear the French will vote on May 29 and to reject the European Union constitution. Eleven opinion polls indicate it is likely that democracy could upset the power-seeking politicians' undemocratic plans.
Politicians and bureaucrats who dream of world government - or at least continental government to be run by a commission of technocrats who think they are wiser than ordinary people - have progressed a long way toward their goal, starting with the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952, then the European Economic Community in 1958 and then morphing it into the current European Union in 1993. The sovereignty and self-government of nation-states were bypassed in a series of very undemocratic, deceptive maneuvers, and the new EU constitution is expected to lock the system into place.
Some leaders in the British Conservative Party are trying to alert their countrymen to the folly of what Britain has already accepted by joining the EU. The British have given up their basic right to elect and dismiss those who make their laws, principles for which millions of Englishmen have fought and many have died.
And to whom did the British give these hard-won rights of a free people? To bureaucrats former Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher labeled as the paper-pushers in Brussels.
The EU Council of Ministers in Brussels now has effective control of all areas of commerce, industry, social and labor policy, the environment, agriculture, fish and foreign trade. Since Britain has only 11 1/2 percent of the votes, and it takes 30 percent to block a new law, the British Parliament must obey the Brussels bureaucrats or face unlimited fines imposed by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
The world court is not a court of law as we understand it. It is an agency of EU bureaucrats who are free to indulge in imaginative judicial activism to implement "the ever closer union of the peoples of Europe."
The British government admits that more than half its major laws, and 80 percent of all its laws, now originate in Brussels. No law passed in Brussels has been successfully overturned by Parliament.
The EU makes laws in the labyrinths of the unelected bureaucracy. The commission has the monopoly to propose all new laws, which are then negotiated in secret by the shadowy Committee of Permanent Representatives, and the Council of Ministers makes final decisions by secret vote.
The parliaments of the member states are excluded from the process except to rubber-stamp EU decisions after they are made, and national parliaments are prohibited from knowing how their country's representatives voted in Brussels. Ask yourself: Wouldn't you think we had lost our right of self-government if Congress took its votes in secret and we couldn't find out how our representatives voted?
In the EU's adaptation of the now-discredited Brezhnev doctrine (once a country is taken over by the Soviets, it can never escape communism), once an area of national law or life has been ceded to Brussels, it can never be returned to national parliaments.
The new EU constitution to be voted on is described as tidying up the current EU status. That means it will take away what bits of sovereignty still remain in the member nations.
President George W. Bush is trying to spread democracy in unlikely places around the world, but democracy is fast being taken away from our traditional friends in Europe. The EU was formed undemocratically by the elites of the several nations without the informed consent of the people, and its entire structure is institutionally undemocratic.
The EU is a top-down enforced togetherness of different nationalities, with different cultures and languages, many of whom don't like each other. That's a prescription for conflict, not peace.
If the new EU constitution is adopted, the EU paper-pushers in Brussels, with their own flag and anthem, will assume full powers over foreign relations, international agreements, the armed forces and arms industries of the member nations, and criminal and civil justice law and procedure.
It is a mystery why any Americans would support the concept of the EU. Many, perhaps most, Europeans see the EU's main purpose as to stand up to and overtake the United States as the world's superpower.
The European nations' loss of sovereignty to the EU should be a warning to Americans. The EU is a model for how global-governance advocates in the United States plan to morph trade agreements into one government for the Western Hemisphere.
NAFTA came first, under which a foreign tribunal was able to override U.S. laws and give Mexican trucks access to all U.S. highways. Congress will soon vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the plan to integrate our prosperous economy with the poverty of Central America.
Then will come Free Trade Agreement of the Americas which, according to the Quebec Declaration signed by Bush in 2001, will bring about economic and political "hemispheric integration." Americans who want to retain American sovereignty should speak up now.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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