Saturday, 21 February 2009
People Korps has flagged up a video on Ganley/Libertas' appearance before the Sub-Committee for Ireland's Future in Europe. It's very long, at almost 3 hours.
In it, Ganley emphasises that the EU needs to be more democratic and citizens need to have a bigger stake in it. A position which I support.
However, he was reluctant to spell out what he would like to see changed, insisting that he didn't have a mandate, despite the fact that it was a Committee that was looking for suggestions on how to proceed. He did eventually, when asked as a private citizen, say that more elected EU posts would be part of the solution. Ok so far.
But the Lisbon arguments didn't add up when compared with his European vision. The ECJ is too strong and too activist, but an EU constitution should be only about 25 pages along (and 15 pages would be "even better"). Subsidiarity is also very important. Yet reducing a complex set of inter-institutional and state relationships on competency and powers that needs to be understood in 23 different languages to 25 pages is an invitation for litigation, misunderstanding and judicial activism.
Subsidiarity is strengthened in the Lisbon treaty, giving national Parliaments more scrutiny of EU legislation and of the appropriateness of exercising power/legislating at the European level. The competence areas of the EU are more clearly defined. On top of this there is the increase in EP power and control over EU legislation.
Ganley insisted that his assertion that those who say that there's no political will to come up with a new treaty should step aside wasn't intended for elected national leaders, yet these are the people who negotiate and set out new treaties and treaty changes, and it is their political will which sets the pace of EU reform, which has been extremely slow (the lack of courage for a big leap forward in the democratization of the EU is reflected in the piecemeal approach in the frequent treaties since the early 1990s). There is nobody else this could refer to except the national leaders.
Some of Ganley's statements seem federalist (indeed some of his past writings seem to be federalist too), but in the absence of any clear policy, and in the presence of so many far-right, ultra-conservative and arch-Eurosceptic Libertas members/supporters, it is impossible to take Libertas seriously as a pro-Europe democratic reform party. Even if Ganley is a democratic reformer as he claims, it takes one than one member of a party, even if he leads it, to work successfully to that end. Or does he plan to unilaterally set the party's manifesto?