Archive for the ‘europe’ Category

The regionalist candidate for the French presidential elections, Christian Troadec, had the following to say on the European Union:
In reality, the European Union is a wilfully unfinished construction because the member-states have struggled hold on to all their powers. And today the principal decisions are not taken by the Commission but by the member-states via the “European Council” (the heads of state or heads of government deciding by consensus) or via the Council of Ministers.

Even if, after numerous reforms, a power of co-decision making has been given to the European Parliament in a certain number of areas, the system has stayed “intergovernmental” in that it is still the member-states that decide. One must add that MEP’s, elected in a national framework, are supposed to support the view point of their state, above all political divisions. This is the system of a Europe of member-states i.e that of national self-interest. 
The complexity of the system is often denigrated by those that put it in place. They often denounce, often hypocritically, the “Brussels Technocracy” that is only interested in creating absurd norms and interferes in everything. 
It is this complexity that serves a good number of politicians so that they may blame the EU for their own failures. The slogans are well known: “It’s the EU’s fault!” or “Brussels insists that…”.
The debate around Brexit has been an eye-opener in this regard. The critics of the EU have said everything and its opposite, but in response, the arguments to defend Europe were weakened by the impossibility to show what was the place of EU-citizens in decision making, and what exactly was their influence. The opacity, the complexity of the system serves as a pretext to blame the EU for the failure of certain member-states’ policies and their leaders. 
The whole article can be found here: L’Europe oui, mais une Europe démocratique ! The French section from which the above was translated is here below. Please feel free to comment on my translation.
En réalité l’Union Européenne est une construction volontairement inachevée parce que les États se sont efforcés de ne rien lâcher de leurs pouvoirs. Et aujourd’hui les décisions principales ne sont pas prises par la Commission mais par les États dans le cadre du « Conseil Européen » (les Chefs d’États ou de gouvernement se prononçant en principe par consensus) ou dans le cadre du « Conseil » des ministres.

Même si au fil des réformes, un pouvoir de co-décision a été reconnu au Parlement Européen dans un certain nombre de domaines, le système est resté « intergouvernemental » en ce sens que ce sont toujours les États qui décident. Il faut ajouter à cela que les députés européens, élus dans un cadre national sont sommés de soutenir le point de vue de leur État, au besoin par delà les clivages politiques. C’est le système de l’Europe des États, c’est à dire celle des égoïsmes nationaux !
La complexité du système est souvent dénigrée par ceux qui l’ont mis en place. Ils dénoncent souvent de façon souvent hypocrite la « technocratie de Bruxelles » qui n’aurait que le souci de créer des normes absurdes et qui se mêlerait de tout.

C’est cette complexité qui sert d’argument à bon nombre de responsables politiques pour faire porter à l’Union la responsabilité de leurs propres échecs. Les formules sont bien connues : « c’est la faute de l’Europe ! » ou encore « Bruxelles exige que …».

Les débats autour du Brexit ont été révélateurs à cet égard. Les détracteurs de l’Union Européenne ont tout dit et son contraire, mais en face les arguments pour défendre l’Europe étaient affaiblis par l’impossibilité de montrer quelle était la place des citoyens européens dans les décisions et quelle était leur influence. L’opacité, la complexité du système servent de prétexte pour faire porter à l’Europe l’échec de la politique de certains États et de leurs dirigeants.
An interesting read here from Daniel Evans researcher at the Wales Institute of Socio-Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD), Cardiff University: Wales and the Brexit vote: a case of turkeys voting for Christmas? : Democratic Audit UK
Some thoughts after Brexit. We desperately need similar insightful articles about Cornwall and the Cornish leave vote, if anything to counter the Cornish-are-as-thick-as-pig-shit narratives circulating in Cornwall and wider UK. Pointing out that we’ve had lots of juicy EU funding and now it’s going to stop is not enough. I had the opportunity to raise the EU funding point with a few leave voters when I was back in the Duchy. The general consensus opinion is as follows:
– It’s part of our (the UK’s) money that we’ve paid to the EU that they’ve decided to give back to us. The UK pays more into the EU than it gets back so Westminster, once out of the EU, will be able to fund Cornwall with the same, if not increased, levels of cash, and this will be decided by an elected government not unelected commissioners in Brussels –

So you see, simply stating the fact that Cornwall gets lots of funding from the EU isn’t going to convince anyone. Arguments need to be developed and refined.

An intellectual battle is being waged, and at the moment the Cornish identity is a collateral victim. The Anglo-British nationalist / conservative right is overjoyed that Cornwall voted like England, displaying, for them, yet another sign of its undeniable Englishness. No surprises there then. Perhaps more worrying, and insidious, are the attack from the metropolitan intellectual left. So many shaming articles in the Guardian, Independent etc, all basically running with: The Cornish are stupid! They voted leave and now they’re worried about their EU funding. 

Our youth, future of our nation, who are largely remain voters, are perhaps the target. A generation ashamed to be Cornish is a generation lost. We desperately need to counter these narratives and explain why Cornwall voted to leave with a detailed examination of the referendum results. The work has started, and ideas are circulating, but we need to step up the efforts all round.

Cornwall 4 EU

Posted: July 2, 2016 in brexit, europe, european union
Could England (plus its two lap dogs Wales and Cornwall) leave the EU but the rest of the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland, stay? 
How’s this for a plan? Loath as I am to say it, perhaps our only option is the creation of an English parliament (England and Cornwall). This would be created as a part of a settlement for the UK as a whole with fully federal parliaments in Wales, Scotland and NI. Each parliament would have a large degree of autonomy including over things such as EU membership. 
There is already an almost precedent with the UK’s protectorates and dependencies such as the Isle of Mann, Jersey and Guernsey. Currently, under the dominion of the British Crown / UK government, these territories are NOT part of the European Union. Could an England (and Wales) within a federal UK be given a similar status – a state in the UK federation but outside the EU? 
At a later time such a system would allow member states of the federation to either leave or join the EU with greater ease. Aspiring territories such as Cornwall would also be free to hold a referendum on becoming a fully fledged state within the UK federation – in or out of the EU. 
Come on then – feel free to shoot my plan full of holes now.

Tosta is a collaboration project between cultural agents in several minority language communities of Europe’s Atlantic coast, which will also serve as one of the travelling embassies of Donostia / San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture. The project combines the promotion of artistic creation, the celebration of linguistic and cultural diversity and the balanced management of local languages in an international project. The sending out of a ‘cultural cargo’ in the shape of sea containers will be the excuse for mapping out an itinerary that will stop at the participating communities, where a 2-3 day festival will be held to highlight linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe and spread the values of San Sebastian 2016. The word ‘tosta’ means the bench in a boat, and is a word that is present, with small variations, in many minority languages along the European Atlantic coast.
 
The SERLET project aims to: a) support and promote 7 Regional Languages from 4 Member states (FR, EL, ES, IT) as facilitators for cultural fusioning and mutual intercultural understanding, b) enlarge the cultural attractiveness of 7 European regions through an easy and friendly access to the apprenticeship of their languages, c) Europeanize regional languages and culture, d) contribute at enhancing the recognition of the cultural diversities in Europe, e) provide links among educational institutions and world of labor (specifically tourism section), f) provide innovative material -through modern technology- for smartphones, tablets and interactive website.

Have your say on the party’s position going into the EU referendum A message from Clive Price-Jones (MK’s representative with the European Free Alliance.) 

As you are aware there is an upcoming Referendum proposed by the Government, to decide on our membership of the European Union. 
Mebyon Kernow will be holding a Spring Conference on Saturday 2nd April, and one of the key items for discussion will be MK’s official position on the referendum vote. 
The National Executive is presently working on a proposal for the Conference and we are keen the hear the views of party members as we produce this document. 
Firstly it would be good to remind ourselves of the section of our Manifesto which directly refers to the European Union. 
It is our belief that nations and regions throughout the World should work together, but that does not mean we are not critical of how the European Union is presently constituted. 
The Europe of today is one of centralisation, limited democratic control, big business and bureaucracy, and MK – along with many other progressive groups in the European Free Alliance – is campaigning for the increased democratisation of the EU, greater transparency and increased Cornish representation. 
Mebyon Kernow believes that sovereignty resides with the people, and that responsibility for decision-making should be retained at the most local level possible. Our compelling task is to build a decentralised Europe on this basic principle, which means we must limit the centralisation of powers both to Europe and to the current state capitals such as London and Paris. 
We must create a new Europe that is relevant to the needs of ordinary people. 
Since Cornwall was recognised as a European region, it has secured significant and much-needed investment through structural funds, including Objective One and Convergence, but over the last five years the cost of EU membership to the UK taxpayer as a whole has quadrupled, which needs to be addressed as part of future reforms. 
 As mentioned in the Manifesto we are members of the European Free Alliance, which comprises 45 progressive, nationalist, regionalist and autonomist parties. It is a pro-European party, which endorses the European Union values, namely the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Through membership of this grouping both Mebyon Kernow and the People of Cornwall have a stronger and louder representation with Europe, which would be lost should the UK leave the European Union. 
In summary, Mebyon Kernow is fundamentally a pro-European Party and considers that membership of the EU provides us with a stronger platform to argue for the rights of Cornwall and its people. But importantly, we must continue to argue that the EU does need radical reform – as set out in the above manifesto segment. 
Please take the time to make your feelings and thoughts known to the NEC and Leadership Team. 
Contact me at clive.pricejones@yahoo.com 
Clive Price-Jones