the powerful new EU: a setback for democracy

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Nov 06, 2009

If France suddenly ceased to exist as an independent state, would that qualify as big news-- a story that belonged on the top of the headlines?

Well in a sense that's what happened this week. With the final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty on November 3, France-- along with the other 26 nations of the European Union-- became a small partner in a very large new enterprise. When the treaty takes effect on December 1, Europe will have a single president with sweeping new powers. The individual member-states will retain their own parliaments and their own executives, but they will have a new boss.

How did it happen that so many European governments lost their autonomy without a fight? It happened, argues Paul Belien, because the leaders of those European government wanted it to happen. Belien-- who writes from Brussels, but is definitely not a fan of the new power center there-- sees the newly powerful European Union as a means by which the international elite controls the ordinary populace:

The EU is basically a cartel, consisting of the 27 governments of the member states, who have concluded that it is easier to pass laws in the secret EU meetings with their colleagues than through their own national parliaments in the glare of public criticism.

Belien's argument is worth reading in full. Particularly noteworthy is his recounting of how the Lisbon Treaty came into force, just a few years after the people of France and Denmark had voted against adoption of a strong European constitution. The Lisbon Treaty was not rejected by the public; because the public never had a chance; it was approved quietly by parliamentary motions in the member-states. Only in Ireland did the people vote on the Lisbon Treaty, and when they voted against it there, the government soon scheduled a new vote, and campaigned energetically-- and in the end successfully-- for a Yes vote.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus was the last holdout, and when he hinted that he would not sign the treaty, other European leaders stepped up the pressure. French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner explained that "a single man is not allowed to oppose the will of 500 million Europeans." But the point is that 500 million Europeans never had a chance to express their will. Like it or not, they are now subjects of the European Union.

The newly unified European Union will be a powerful presence in international affairs. Given the current climate of opinion in Europe, it will not exert that force to promote the dignity of human life, or to safeguard the legitimate public role of religious faith. It seems unlikely, too, that the European Union will be a force in favor of democracy, since this new super-state was established by such patently anti-democratic means.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 7 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: dtroupe15590 - Nov. 09, 2009 11:28 AM ET USA

    The North American Union is next. It too, will happen without much of a fight. We are too distracted by our iphones, our sports, and other endless gods of distraction. Our leaders will do the right thing for us. Won't they??

  • Posted by: colrose18194 - Nov. 08, 2009 2:11 PM ET USA

    I can't believe this has happened. Please tell me Christ's coming is not far off. If that's not feasible, is there another planet we can hop to?

  • Posted by: adamah - Nov. 07, 2009 7:12 PM ET USA

    We must not be afraid. These things need to happen. The world is in need of purification. The Church is in need of purification. Purification is not painless. It is better that there be persecution and purification than so many souls be lost for all eternity. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus on the cross. JPII used to say "Be not afraid!"

  • Posted by: Lisa Nicholas, PhD - Nov. 07, 2009 3:45 PM ET USA

    More and more these days, I feel that I'm living in Robert Hugh Benson's novel of the end times, "The Lord of the World." I'm just waiting for the EU to elect a president named "Julian Felsenburgh."

  • Posted by: - Nov. 07, 2009 12:06 PM ET USA

    I`m sure the EU nations will fall in line just as all parts of The Soviet Union did.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Nov. 06, 2009 10:34 PM ET USA

    Obviously. This is the outfit that ordered Italy to take down the crucifixes in classrooms. And the Italians will do it.

  • Posted by: ltluca7192 - Nov. 06, 2009 10:03 PM ET USA

    Can you see the hovering shadow of 'the anti-christ'. I never believed it would happen but it is here. There is only one thing that can change destiny, and that is Prayer. Everyone should get down on their knees and pray for God's forgiveness. Prophecy is not etched in stone. It can be changed and only by prayer. Our God is the only god that has given mankind free will. Will we use it wisely?