Helga Zepp-LaRouche's interview with
Jens-Peter Bonde of Denmark, Member of the European Parliament
March 24, 2008
Published in the April 2, 2008 issue of the German newspaper Neue Solidaritet, and in an upcoming issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Mr. Bonde, you have written 55 books on the European Union, and you also have written a reader-friendly constitution, and you are also a representative of the June Movement. Can you please explain to our readers what the June Movement is, and what has been your motive on writing all of these books?
BONDE: The June Movement is a Euro-critical movement. It's not a skeptical movement. We are for membership of the European Union, but for reforming it with transparency, proximity, and democracy. We were established after the Danish referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, June 2, 1992, when a majority of Danes rejected the treaty on the European Union, and changed the agenda in Europe. It was a big victory of our people, and we formed the movement to keep and to stick to this victory. Now, we are opposed to the Lisbon Treaty, which is a photocopy, in the content, of the rejected constitution from the French and the Dutch referendums. They have 100 new areas of powers they moved from the member-states to Brussels, 68 new areas of qualified majority vote where the power of the national parliaments disappear, where the veto right of the nation-states disappear, and where we enter into a supranational decision-making process without democracy. And our friends in the Danish June Movement, and in the similar movements and parties across Europe, we fight the Lisbon Treaty to have a Europe of democracies instead.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: You wrote in the booklet-length commentary, which posted on the internet [http://www.bonde.com/] that this text was completely prepared in secret, and that the new version is now more than 300 pages, while the old version was 560 pages; that the text is completely difficult to read and made deliberately as inaccessible as possible, to avoid public interest and avoid referendums. Now, why do you think it was done this way?
BONDE: It was a political agreement among prime ministers. They wanted to avoid referendums, and they made the political agreement in secret that there could be no new referendums outside Ireland. They tried to avoid in Ireland as well, but it was clear from the Irish Constitution that there was no way to avoid it in Ireland. But they got rid of 26 possible referendums in all other member-states. Then they also agreed that the document should not be published in a reader-friendly, in a way it could be read. So they took a decision that the European institutions were not allowed to print a version which could be read. So instead, they assembled 300 pages of amendments to the 3,000 existing pages of basic treaties--or 2,800 to be more precise. And by the end of the day, the result is that you now have a basic treaty more than 3,000 pages, where the constitution was 560 pages. And it's a big bundle of the 3,000 pages, which is called "the mini-treaty." according to Sarkozy. That was his aim when he ran for Presidential elections in France, he said that he would scrap the old constitution, in favor of a little "handy, mini-treaty." But we have now, a completely impossible-to-read text, and the 300 pages of amendments can not be read, unless they are compared with the 2,800 pages where they have to be inserted. So, it means that no politician who has signed this treaty, has ever read it! They have signed a text they have never read.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, given the fact that the whole process seems to have been, after it was stuck, after the "no" in France and the Netherlands, it was Mrs. Merkel, who used the German chairmanship in the European Presidency, to put herself in charge of getting this going again. And you quoted a secret letter which she wrote to her Prime Minister colleagues in the European Union, asking if they were prepared to give the constitution a new name, but keeping the legal content. Why do you think Mrs. Merkel is doing this?
BONDE: Because Germany is very keen, the German administration is very keen of having this text adopted, because it moves a lot of powers from the smaller member-states to the big Germany. But it does not mean that this treaty is good for the Germans--
because the decision powers are moved away from German citizens to the German civil servants, making most laws behind closed doors in Brussels with the civil servants of other member-states. So this treaty is just as bad for Germans, as for Danes and for Irish. But it's particularly bad for those coming from the smaller member-states. And I think that's the reason why German diplomacy, they worked heavily to have this treaty adopted.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, I agree with you that it is as bad for Germany, because it violates and totally gives away German sovereignty, as well as anybody else's. But what do you think is the motive, why Merkel did that? Is she not aware of that, or what?
BONDE: All Prime Ministers do what they are told to be necessary. And I don't know Merkel enough to know if she's really keen on it privately, or not. I know ministers who say privately that they are opposed to it, and publicly that they are in favor of it. So even in power circles, it's not sure that everyone in favor of this treaty publicly, also endorses it privately.
And honestly, I don't know the personal views of Merkel. But I know, when she became the Chancellor, she was planning the German presidency, and there, she got the agreements from prime ministers and foreign ministers of other member-states, to take the content of the constitution, give it a different presentation, and have it adopted without referendums. That was the task of Merkel, and her diplomacy.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yeah, but given the fact that, according to this Finnish specialist Alexander Stubb, who claims that 99% of the old text was kept--
BONDE: Yeah, we had a discussion Constitutional Affairs Committee. He said, 99%. Then I asked him, "What about the last percent?" And then he had to admit that there is no difference at all. On legal obligations the two texts are identical. I offered a very good bottle of wine, to any prime minister, foreign minister, or legal expert who could give me just one example, on a law which can be passed by the constitution and not by the Lisbon Treaty. I still have the wine--I have not got one single example!
I also made another test, in a conference of specialists: Asked them if they could mention one, single Danish law which would not be touched upon by the Lisbon Treaty. They couldn't--and they still can not. They haven't answered the questions in the Danish Parliament, where I posed this question. I also posed it in the European Parliament: Can we get examples on laws which are not touched? We can not. The reality is, that the Lisbon Treaty is not a treaty: It's a constitution. And it covers every, single aspect of law, even if it's decided in Berlin, or in Bremen, or in one of the other participating states in Germany. There is no Subsidiarity left. The European Union touched everything based on the Lisbon Treaty.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: But given the fact that this seems to be the case, and Amato, the present interior minister of Italy, said, that they made the treaty deliberately illegible for citizens, to avoid referendums--isn't that really an open conspiracy, then? I mean, he admits that they did that, but they conspired against the will of the people, which was expressed at least in Holland and in France in a clear-cut way?
BONDE: Yeah, and I also think that Amato said it in a very direct way. He's an honest federalist. He's strongly in favor of European integration. But here, he tells the truth, which may not help his friends.
But it's the truth! It's the truth: They deliberately took the same content, and gave it a different presentation. They said that primacy of community law should disappear. It was not disappeared--it was moved, to Declaration #17, from Article #1.6 of the constitution. It's still there in Declaration #17.
It's an exercise of cheating people to believe that there is a new text. Indeed, there is no new text: It's the same legal content. The same legal obligations in the two texts, so therefore, there ought to be a referendum everywhere, in all member-states. And I'm rather sure that Germany would deliver the biggest "no" of any country, from the meetings I have had--
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, I saw that you mentioned in your paper, that in all countries, a majority of the people are for a referendum--
BONDE: It's 75% of all Europeans. They want a referendum, only 20% are opposed to it. So, it's a vast majority in every member-state, who want a referendum, and they should have it!
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, I saw that in 6 countries, more than 80% are for a referendum; in 14, more than 70%; and in 7, over 60%. And only in Slovenia, only 55% are in favor, but that's still a majority, you know?
So--what is also apparent is that this would lead to the elimination of the basic idea of democracy, to have a separation of powers, namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial authority, that this is thrown out of the window. So it is an end of democracy!
BONDE: And separation of powers as invented by Montesquieu, yes. They have taken over--Machiavelli instead of Montesquieu: No division of powers, no accountability, no transparency in law-making, no democracy.
There's a little improvement for democracy. In 19 areas, the European parliaments will gain influence. But in 49 areas, the European Parliament will gain much less than the national parliaments, and the voters are losing. So, on average it's a big increase in what we call "the democratic deficit": less power to the citizens and voters, more powers to the civil servants and lobbyists.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: What I find most, or one of the most--well, there are many worrisome points, but one, is that national governments would lose with the office of the European President, the ability to talk directly to other countries, because the European President would represent the European Union in talks with other powers.
BONDE: Yes, the member-states will not be sovereign states any longer on the international scene. There'll be one state representing the 27 member-states in the EU, and they will be represented as other states with a joint president, a joint foreign minister, and a joint diplomacy, a joint office of foreign policy and security and defense, and there will be one prime minister, the head of the European Commission. So prime minister, president, and foreign minister, just like in all other states, and no voice for the different member-states.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: What I find also extremely worrisome is the fact that Mr. Blair is mooted as one of the possible choices for the next European president.
BONDE: Yes, this is a guy who can not be elected in a democratic election in the U.K. any longer. So, if people can not be elected by the voters, then they are ripe for taking a high post in Brussels. But I think Brussels should not be governed by those who can not be elected. I think Brussels, the European institutions, should be governed by those who are elected.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Blair made a speech in 1999, where he said that the international order of the Peace of Westphalia is over, and that we have moved into a post-Westphalian order. And what these people generally mean by that, is that military interventions for the sake of so-called "humanitarian concerns" in a pre-emptive fashion should be allowed. Now, I find this idea of having a preventive intervention very, very worrisome, given the fact that Blair was one of the key promoters of the Iraq war--
BONDE: But that's a part of the Lisbon Treaty, wars without approval of the United Nations. That's a legal possibility with the Lisbon Treaty.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, if you then take the Solidarity Clause which will be in the Lisbon Treaty, which will force--
BONDE: It will make the EU a military alliance, as stated very precisely by the Commission President [Josť Manuel] Barroso. It's a Solidarity Clause, like in NATO and the Western European Union, that if one country is attacked, we have a joint defense. It's how it's interpreted by most people. Some say, well, it's not just as automatic as in the Western European Union, it's only against terror. But it can be defined very broad. So the understanding of Barroso and his team, and the understanding of, for instance, [Duff? 16:59.2], the Liberal spokesman who made a book on the Lisbon Treaty--their joint understanding is that it is a real defense alliance we are entering into with the Lisbon Treaty.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: But given the fact that 21 EU members are also members of NATO, you have de facto, a merging of the European Union and NATO, don't you?
BONDE: I think it's a little more complicated. I think NATO will continue as the framework of cooperation with Canada and the U.S., and the European member-states. But some of the functions, particularly defense in Europe and the actions in the neighborhood in Europe - that will be delegated to the European Union itself, and then NATO will not take the actions. And the humanitarian actions decided by the UN, they would also be implemented by the EU. But in addition to that, the EU gets the legal possibility for declaring wars and entering into wars without waiting for decisions in the United Nations. I think this is the most serious part of the Lisbon Treaty.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Why do you think--this may be not so important, but I'm just asking it for my own better understanding: Why was there such a big discussion about the symbols? No flag and no national emblem?
BONDE: They have withdrawn them from the text, but they have implemented them exactly the same way as in the past. It's a part of cheating people, that people may believe that there are no state symbols any longer for the uprising European State. But the symbols are part of the state, as well--not a most important part of the state, but it is a part of the state, and it'll continue these symbols.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I mean, the fact that the European Commission will be the only who has the right to make policy proposals, I mean, this is really a dictatorship, then.
BONDE: This is a condition to influence laws in Europe, that you are not on elections, yes. It's a ridiculous way, and a historical paradox, that the EU is composed of 27 democratic member-states, and when we share our sovereignty, we forget everything about democracy, and leave it to commissioners and lobbyists in their 3,000 working groups to prepare the different laws. And they have the monopoly to propose the laws, and the elected members of parliaments can not decide the laws: It's the civil servants, in the secret working groups of the Council who decide 85% of all laws in the EU. And the European Parliament has only a marginal influence. We can propose amendments, but we can not decide the laws.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: You mentioned in your paper that there are 300 secret working groups which are somehow working with the Council of Ministers--
BONDE: Yeah, the groups are not secret. You can see the list on my website, but they are working in secret, so you can not follow their work. And they decide 85% of all laws, de facto.
BONDE: Then there are 3,000 working groups, also secret, but linked to the European Commission, and they propose the laws, and implement part of it.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, what I find also one of the most incredible things, is this simplified review procedure. Because that means essentially, that once this Lisbon Treaty is signed, you have voted yourself out of any kind of influence forever.
BONDE: Yes. This treaty is different to all other treaties. By all other treaties, a new treaty had to be adopted unanimously by all member-states--ratification, possible referendum, etc.
This new treaty is different, because it's not only the far-reaching, by having qualified majority, abolishing the veto in 68 new areas--compared to the Nice Treaty, 46 areas--but it inserts a new procedure, what we call a "self-amending" clause in Article 48, allowing the European Union prime ministers to amend the treaty on their own! That means that they do not need to ask the citizens any longer. So the Lisbon Treaty is the last one which can come for a vote, in Germany, in Denmark, and most other member-states.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Mr. Barroso has said that Europe in this way, is actually an empire. And Robert Cooper, who was the assistant to Solana for some time, he actually said that the European Union is, already now, the empire with the largest territorial expansion. Are there plans to enlarge it even further?
BONDE: Yes. In the Balkans, I think that most states in the Balkans would like to be members of the European Union. And I think Macedonia and Croatia are the two next member-states in the European Union. Then, they negotiate with Turkey--there I doubt if we'll have a result, at least in the next 10 years. And then, other member-states from Europe may come and apply for membership in the European Union, as well. I'm in favor of enlargement in the European member, but I'm not in favor of giving away our democracy.
I think we have to have a very big workload.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I have one last question: You said earlier that you are in favor of referendums in all countries. What is the best way to come to this point?
BONDE: That's to reject the treaty in Ireland, where they have a referendum, and then they may come back to the drafting table, and then, in my view, they should produce a text and put it for referendums in all European member-states exactly the same date, so we can decide on our own, whether it's a good text of a bad text. Then it's in the hands of the peoples of Europe: That's what we call "democracy."
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: The only point I see as a potential interesting point, to undo a constitution is very difficult, but since they changed the same text from a constitution in a treaty, don't you think it's more easy to de-ratify it, even if it would be accepted?
BONDE: If there is no ratification in Ireland, the text doesn't exist. It has to be agreed unanimously among all 27 member-states. So I hope that Ireland will reject it, and then they will have to come back to the drafting table: That's what I work for.
ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, I understand. But frankly, don't you think it's a little bit worrisome to leave the whole fate of all of Europe to Ireland?
BONDE: Well, but that's how they have arranged it! They have abolished referendums in most member-states, and now there's only one in Ireland. Then we can hope that Ireland will vote "no," and it will then come back on the table for the different member-states. I would never accept a constitution for Denmark above the Danish Constitution, and this is what we are talking about, without it having been adopted by the Danish citizens. They all insist on a referendum. And if we don't get a referendum by a decision in the Danish Parliament, I know people who will bring it to the courts, and then it'll be up to the court, the High Court in Denmark, to decide whether we should have a referendum or not. And I think there will be a court case in Germany, as well. Gauweiler from CSU has said he will raise a court case. In Slovakia, there is a court case running. I guess there may be a lot of new battles before this treaty will enter into force. And honestly, I don't think it will ever enter into force: I think European democrats will be strong enough to kill it.