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 The EU - A Polity Out of Control?

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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 3:36 pm

It is my impression that the EU is self augmenting generally and not simply by virtue of the expansionist nature of some ECJ rulings.

The EU Commission is technocratic in nature and so there is a technocratic flavour to the EU. The technocratic approach is to find the most efficient principles and means and to implement them. There is no question of the EU stepping outside its remit because, apart from the unclear and generally not-to-well-understood ( Embarassed ) principle of subsidiarity, the are no limits on its remit to pursue technical improvements in the operation of the Union.

This philosphy is copperfastened in the economic goals which are set out in the treaties. Any system which is dedicated to technical perfection (I treating the pursuance of economic theory and goals as a technical activity) is by its very nature a system which engages in constant tweaking, perfecting and expansion of the technical activity.

The fact that the Courts are subject to the Treaties and that these are defining goals of the Union means that the individual must submit to these technical solutions and activities as they have status of a constitutional principle. The fact is that the ECJ rulings cannot be wholly or even mostly attributed to expansionist tendencies on the part of the ECJ. The expansionist approach and the further specification of areas of competence and methods of implementation is hard-coded into the Treaties themselves.

My personal experience is that EU legislation is ever expanding and ever-more specific. One has to be an environmental technocrat to understand all the environmental legislation, regulations and directives and decisions currently in force in Ireland. (It is my experience that most of the people implementing it in the local authorities do not have a proper and comprehensive understanding of the powers they exercise.)

It is the nature of the technical activity that the more you wish to perfect a system through prescription the more specific you must be and the more specific you are the more detailed the legislation must be. Also a policy created in one area, e.g. the safety quality of a material, will have knock on effect in multiple areas and the EU seeks to legislate for them all. This is my understanding what is meant by geometrical self augmentation. One change on policy or practice affects multiple areas where details prescription is used.

I agree that the EU is undergoing a tricky transformation. One might wish to see this transformatio to a fully democratic institution completed and so agree to go with Lisbon on the basis that it is an improvement in that direction. On the other hand, one might decide that Lisbon is a step further towards submitting ourselves to technoctratic goals and aims and constructs not created from the dignity of man but from modern economic theory (e.g. low inflation).

I think if seinfeld heads down to Paddy Power he will be able to negotiate great odds on there being no more Treaties for the next 20 years. The odds are likely to be so high they should nmore than make up for any loss due to 20 years worth of inflation and loss of opportunity.

Interesting Link - Political Technique Generally


Last edited by Zhou_Enlai on Wed May 14, 2008 3:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 3:38 pm

Of course, the absolute irony of the 'democratic deficit' argument is that the only way to fully address it would be to create an EU Superstate, which an anathema to the same people who claim there is a 'democratic deficit'.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 3:42 pm

seinfeld wrote:
Of course, the absolute irony of the 'democratic deficit' argument is that the only way to fully address it would be to create an EU Superstate, which an anathema to the same people who claim there is a 'democratic deficit'.

This is not untrue. Democracy is on the back burner while it does not suit our purpose of expansion. If we end up with a fully federal Europe or a watered down alliance of nations then perhaps it can be re-introduced. My worry is that there is no sign of this. As I said earlier, if this were just a case of further moves towards a truly federal Europe then it would be a lot simpler.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 3:49 pm

Part of my problem here is that Zhou's description of the EU also applies to almost any national government. Are the EU simply better at it?

Quote :
I agree that the EU is undergoing a tricky transformation. One might
wish to see this transformatio to a fully democratic institution
completed and so agree to go with Lisbon on the basis that it is an
improvement in that direction. On the other hand, one might decide that
Lisbon is a step further towards submitting ourselves to technoctratic
goals and aims and constructs not created from the dignity of man but
from modern economic theory (e.g. low inflation).

"Further" in what sense? In that there's new shared competences? Or simply on the basis that any EU treaty is some kind of act of submission?
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 3:50 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
seinfeld wrote:
Of course, the absolute irony of the 'democratic deficit' argument is that the only way to fully address it would be to create an EU Superstate, which an anathema to the same people who claim there is a 'democratic deficit'.

This is not untrue. Democracy is on the back burner while it does not suit our purpose of expansion. If we end up with a fully federal Europe or a watered down alliance of nations then perhaps it can be re-introduced. My worry is that there is no sign of this. As I said earlier, if this were just a case of further moves towards a truly federal Europe then it would be a lot simpler.

Sorry - correct me if I've got you wrong here, but you think this treaty has democracy "on the back-burner"?
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 4:01 pm

ibis wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
seinfeld wrote:
Of course, the absolute irony of the 'democratic deficit' argument is that the only way to fully address it would be to create an EU Superstate, which an anathema to the same people who claim there is a 'democratic deficit'.

This is not untrue. Democracy is on the back burner while it does not suit our purpose of expansion. If we end up with a fully federal Europe or a watered down alliance of nations then perhaps it can be re-introduced. My worry is that there is no sign of this. As I said earlier, if this were just a case of further moves towards a truly federal Europe then it would be a lot simpler.

Sorry - correct me if I've got you wrong here, but you think this treaty has democracy "on the back-burner"?

Nope. I think that we have democratically consented in the various Eu treaties to the democratic deficit. That is not a specific criticism I have of this treaty which afaik seeks to redress such deficit. I am commenting on the EU project a whole as self augmenting and not longer controlled by any unified vision or by the citizens. The democratic deficit issue, generally, was raised by the Herzog quote.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 4:10 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
ibis wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
seinfeld wrote:
Of course, the absolute irony of the 'democratic deficit' argument is that the only way to fully address it would be to create an EU Superstate, which an anathema to the same people who claim there is a 'democratic deficit'.

This is not untrue. Democracy is on the back burner while it does not suit our purpose of expansion. If we end up with a fully federal Europe or a watered down alliance of nations then perhaps it can be re-introduced. My worry is that there is no sign of this. As I said earlier, if this were just a case of further moves towards a truly federal Europe then it would be a lot simpler.

Sorry - correct me if I've got you wrong here, but you think this treaty has democracy "on the back-burner"?

Nope. I think that we have democratically consented in the various Eu treaties to the democratic deficit. That is not a specific criticism I have of this treaty which afaik seeks to redress such deficit. I am commenting on the EU project a whole as self augmenting and not longer controlled by any unified vision or by the citizens. The democratic deficit issue, generally, was raised by the Herzog quote.

The way I've heard this put is that as the EU gains increased competences, it is also made more democratic. Each Treaty therefore contains a elements of increasing the EU's competences and elements of reducing the democratic deficit. Since this Treaty contains the most of the latter for the least of the former of all the treaties I've voted on, I'd be particularly sorry to see this one defeated.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 4:14 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
ibis wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
seinfeld wrote:
Of course, the absolute irony of the 'democratic deficit' argument is that the only way to fully address it would be to create an EU Superstate, which an anathema to the same people who claim there is a 'democratic deficit'.

This is not untrue. Democracy is on the back burner while it does not suit our purpose of expansion. If we end up with a fully federal Europe or a watered down alliance of nations then perhaps it can be re-introduced. My worry is that there is no sign of this. As I said earlier, if this were just a case of further moves towards a truly federal Europe then it would be a lot simpler.

Sorry - correct me if I've got you wrong here, but you think this treaty has democracy "on the back-burner"?

Nope. I think that we have democratically consented in the various Eu treaties to the democratic deficit.

The EU has democratically become undemocratic?
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 4:24 pm

DP


Last edited by Zhou_Enlai on Wed May 14, 2008 4:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 4:24 pm

ibis wrote:

The way I've heard this put is that as the EU gains increased competences, it is also made more democratic. Each Treaty therefore contains a elements of increasing the EU's competences and elements of reducing the democratic deficit. Since this Treaty contains the most of the latter for the least of the former of all the treaties I've voted on, I'd be particularly sorry to see this one defeated.

That is essentially why I am undecided. The other reason is that we have left ourselves with little alternative to the technocratic approach when we are half way down that road already. I will need to learn more about how solid and meaningful the new democratic checks are as I believe that is open to question. I will also need to ponder the goals in the Treaty which I thnk are technocratic. Either way, the Treaty is not suitable for plebiscite but then we are where we are and unless a No vote will change this then perhaps one should vote yes. It is not a simple decision. In any event, I think it is important that people should have a duty to understand the technocratic nature of the Union and how concepts such as inflation, distortion of competition and economic stability are being promoted to being equal to the provisions of our constitution.

I think the EU needs to get a grip on the differences between certain concepts, i.e.:
principle -v- policy
constitution -v- legislation
fundamental -v- ancillary
jurisdiction -v- competence
consent -v- authority
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 4:25 pm

seinfeld wrote:
The EU has democratically become undemocratic?
Now you have it!
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 4:31 pm

ibis wrote:
Part of my problem here is that Zhou's description of the EU also applies to almost any national government. Are the EU simply better at it?
They are certainly a more advanced model.

ibis wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Lisbon is a step further towards submitting ourselves to technoctratic
goals and aims and constructs not created from the dignity of man but
from modern economic theory (e.g. low inflation).

"Further" in what sense? In that there's new shared competences? Or simply on the basis that any EU treaty is some kind of act of submission?

Further in the sense that as the political union becomes tighter the principles of union remain largely economic and not political.

Further in the sense that the process is allowed to advance without our full understanding. Further in the sense that our consent is not fully informed and, due to the nature of the Treaty, is not capable of being fully informed. Therefor it is another transfer of power to an organization that has not organized itself so as to be comprehensible to its citizens.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 4:49 pm

Zhou-Enlai wrote:
That is essentially why I am undecided. The other reason is that we
have left ourselves with little alternative to the technocratic
approach when we are half way down that road already. I will need to
learn more about how solid and meaningful the new democratic checks are
as I believe that is open to question. I will also need to ponder the
goals in the Treaty which I thnk are technocratic. Either way, the
Treaty is not suitable for plebiscite but then we are where we are and
unless a No vote will change this then perhaps one should vote yes. It
is not a simple decision. In any event, I think it is important that
people should have a duty to understand the technocratic nature of the
Union and how concepts such as inflation, distortion of competition and
economic stability are being promoted to being equal to the provisions
of our constitution.

I think that's very well put. I would certainly agree that the EU is primarily technocratic.

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
ibis wrote:
Part of my problem here is that Zhou's description of the EU also applies to almost any national government. Are the EU simply better at it?
They are certainly a more advanced model.

ibis wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Lisbon is a step further towards submitting ourselves to technoctratic
goals and aims and constructs not created from the dignity of man but
from modern economic theory (e.g. low inflation).

"Further" in what sense? In that there's new shared competences? Or simply on the basis that any EU treaty is some kind of act of submission?

Further in the sense that as the political union becomes tighter the principles of union remain largely economic and not political.

Hmm. That may reflect the fact that EU voters actually have a lot less difficulty with the former than the latter. Almost all the opposition to treaties centres on their political aspects. Even dyed-in-the-wool eurosceptics like my father are OK with the economic aspects these days.

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Further in the sense that the process is allowed to advance without our full understanding. Further in the sense that our consent is not fully informed and, due to the nature of the Treaty, is not capable of being fully informed. Therefore it is another transfer of power to an organization that has not organized itself so as to be comprehensible to its citizens.

I would say cannot - and cannot largely because people don't care. Does the EU try to tell people what it is, and how it works?
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Wed May 14, 2008 7:13 pm

At least we agree about a few things.
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