The time has come for Theresa May to tell the [British] nation: Brexit can’t be done

By Alastair Campbell, in The Guardian

Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd; www.theguardian.com

The hard-liners in her party will howl with rage, but most of the country will welcome it if the prime minister is honest about Brexit’s awful consequences

Monday 16 October 2017 17.46 BST / Last modified on Monday 16 October 2017 22.00 BST

As she tries to move the Brexit negotiations forward, how much better would Theresa May and the country feel if the speech she made to her party went as follows.

“Leadership is about confronting the great challenges. But Brexit is the biggest challenge we have faced since the second world war. So I intend to devote my speech, in four parts, to this alone.

“First, I want to explain why I voted remain – because for all its faults, the European Union has been a force for good in Europe and in the UK. I believed that our future prosperity and security, and opportunities for our young people, would be enhanced by staying in. Second, I want to explain why, nonetheless, I was something of a reluctant remainer. The truth is, there is a lot wrong with the EU. So though I voted remain, I was not starry-eyed. I was determined that, had we won, we would also fight for reform.

She would get resignations, and vitriol by the bucket-load from the Brextremist media

“Third, I want to explain why I have been trying so hard to deliver the Brexit the people voted for. It was a close result. But leave won. I felt strongly that it was my duty to deliver the only Brexit that I believed could meet the demands of the majority of leavers – out of the single market and the customs union, out of the European court of justice.

“But precisely because I have a profound sense of duty, I want to tell you the absolute truth as I see it. It cannot be done. Yes, you can shout. You can storm out. But I have looked at it every which way. And, as your leader, I have concluded that it cannot be done without enormous damage to our economy, to your living standards, to our public services, to our standing in the world. This is damage I am not prepared to inflict. The cost is too high.

“I will publish the legal advice that I have the right to unilaterally revoke article 50, and if you look behind me you will see the backdrop has gone and instead there is onscreen the letter I will be sending to Donald Tusk and the EU 27 heads of government later today.

“… I am ready for any challenge, confident that finally I will be able to fight for what I believe is the right course for Britain, and confident that once the public have the proper debate we failed to have during the referendum and the election, that my view can prevail in the country.

“The Labour party will also have to make up its mind. Most Labour MPs support the position I am setting out today, though their leadership may need to be persuaded. We may need a general election to settle this. At some point we may need a referendum to reverse the outcome of the first one. I am aware I am launching something here, the course of which is unpredictable. I am prepared to take all the risks attached to that. For I am no longer willing to pretend. I am no longer willing for the delusions of the few to dictate a strategy for the many, when so much is at stake.

“I will also be publishing the sectoral advice papers we have received on the impact of Brexit on all aspects of our national life, so MPs can debate these fully. I know many of you think I might be ill. I feel a lot better now. Because what has been making me ill is the reality of which I have been certain more each day … that Brexit is a disaster, a potential catastrophe for our country. That my duty now is to steer the country to the only sensible decision I can see – a rethink, a change of course: not hard Brexit or soft Brexit, but no Brexit at all.”

Big and bold, I’m sure you will agree. She would get resignations, and vitriol by the bucket-load from the Brextremist media. She might lose her job. Equally, this might be the way to save it. In her Florence speech, May called for more creativity, as though it needed to come from others. This speech is the kind of creativity she needs. It would be the making of her. And most of the country, I am sure, would breathe an enormous sigh of relief.

  • Alastair Campbell was Tony Blair’s director of communications and is editor-at-large of the New European
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We will soon start with more early elements of European Armed Forces

French President Macron has, with his speech in the Sorbonne University on 26.9.2017, mentioned some aspects on Europe which, because of the scope of the subject, have been somehow neglected in other EU countries but merit to be discussed in a broader sense. One of them was European defense policy. There are indeed two axes we have to follow in this respect: one is the permanent attempt of withdrawal of the United States, despite some NATO displays in the Baltic region and Eastern Europe, and another is terrorism in all its facets. It is evident that the EU – and not the Member States – has to fight the financing of terrorism and of terrorist cyber propaganda. Some Member States do not take part in these activities, not because they are close to terrorism – no, they are too nationalistic to cede necessary competences to the EU.

The objective of Macron in the field of defense was and is to create a Europe of defense which is able to act on its own behalf, if necessary, and thus completing NATO. Macron spoke of „progress of historical dimensions“ within the last months; indeed things are developing positively since Great Britain is not taken too serious any more, because of Brexit. UK has of course strong, experienced armed forces, but not the will to enhance a Common Defense Policy of the EU, although any one of its Member States would be too weak to do it alone.  And NATO might be not proactive enough, with a US President who first had denied Art. 5 NATO Agreement (the solidarity clause) and with Turkey permanently moving away from NATO. What remains is the EU alone – one has to see this clearly.

Only in June 2017 the European Defense Fund had been created, for a permanent cooperation, for a financing of defense research. above all – we have more than a dozen different guns in the EU, and a myriad of fighter planes, double capacities in navy vessels etc. A lot of money could be spent in defense policy. With this fund it will be like the Schengen Agreement: This was launched by five Member States only, and a couple of years later it became a part of the Amsterdam Treaty for the whole EU.

Macron has also proposed a „common strategic defense culture“ The EU has not been able to act together in a convincing way. Macron sees traditional differences in cultural, historical, parliamentary and general political issues. Indeed, this won’t be changed from one day to the next, but if you don’t tackle this problem the EU would never have a common defense policy.

Macron also proposed a common defense budget for the EU. This could include all the budgets of the Member states plus the one of the EU (which until now is rather small, of course). At first, this does not need a formal approval power of the EU institutions above Member States‘ defense budgets. But a permanent synopsis will create a permanent discussion about the 2% target, about efficiency or inefficiency, about common purchases etc.

This might be a very realistic point of Macron’s speech. Starting informally with a kind of declaratory new budget part in the EU, which may even lie to ist biggest part outide of the EU institutions, is a first step which may be completed later. In the sense of what Ursula von der Leyen, German Minister of Defense, had said, namely that a European Army cannot come overnight but in very many small steps.

In this context, Macron had also proposed – and promised for the own French armed forces – to include into all the Member States‘ armies people from the other Member States. This should be done not according to citizenship but to the country where Europeans live (and to more than basic lanuage knowledge, evidently). This element of a common defense culture should come to reality at the beginning of the next decade – like then in a EU-wide common attempt of intelligence. To bridge the gap between European vision and reality in this respect, he advocated a European Academy of Intelligence. Of course, this is necessary, if you see how the existing mini-structures are treated by most of the Member States.

We need some courage – like the French President – to propose a nucleus of policies which may then become larger and larger. European defense policy is one of them – for defense policy reasons, but also for spending the necessary money, and not more. And of course for the most noble task of armed forces in Europe: to exist in order to be never deployed for their historical purposes.

Hans-Jürgen ZAHORKA

 

 

There Will Be No Brexit. Probably.

By Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

There will be no Brexit. This is my, as a lawyer I can say this, provisional legal opinion. But not only legal, if you commit a general system analysis. Brexit is an objective impossibility, and all this for the following reasons:

From the beginning, I was astonished with what kind of childish stubbornness Brexit was implemented into the British Government’s activities. I know- also in parallel from my own political history – that this was and is done in context with inner-party power struggles, beginning with a totally wrong estimation of the relation between inner-party Tory wings and the population’s position, by former Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron, and this is the danger of several years being in power at the same position, has lost a lot of ground contact, like Chirac in France when he decided to hold a Referendum on the EU Constitution a year ahead of when this was held – a year where he easily could lose a lot of approval, when an unholy alliance  brought this Referendum to failure. The same thing two times (!) in the Netherlands, when first Prime Minister Balkenende, the guy who looked like Harry Potter, ordered the second Referendum in NL after the first around 350 years or so ago, also on the EU Constitution, which was lost against an unholy alliance, too. The second (or third) Dutch Referendum was lost, when the Government submitted the Ukraine Association Agreement with the EU to a public vote. Not very many people have seen the text of this Agreement nor discussed it. A Referendum is always, in open, democratic societies, in EU countries above all, an invitation to kick the respective government in their ass, and nothing more. Why then some politicians, most at the fringes of the political spectrum, advocate a Referendum in questions where they expect a popular outcry against any government activities? However, we all live in parliamentary democracies, with parliamentary committees where many questions can be discussed and solved, and public hearings for these committees can be held, etc.  I took (actively!) part in British discussions in 1971/1972, right after school when I was invited for several panel discussions by Young Conservatives (and confronted with arguments against the then EEC, like „at one breakfast with a Rhine Army officer’s relative near Münster/Germany one foul egg was served…“). But I think there was more discussion about joining the EEC then, than before the Brexit Referendum to leave the EU.

Anyway, it was a clear deficit by the Tories and their protagonists in leading the debate before the Brexit vote. And nobody in the Government made any clear plans what to do if Brexit were approved – The UK suffers still of this disease, if you see and hear the leading politicians of this country, like David Davis.

Regarding the „system analysis“ arguments, I cannot imagine that British citizens today and collectively are, excuse me, so stupid to vote for their economic down-spiralling, for their loss of influence within or towards the EU, for not being taken serious anymore in the EU, for their world-wide loss of influence (as proven by Theresa May’s and BoJo’s travel & talk attempts in the last months). Everything said in this respect is a big lie, or perehaps „fake news“. And the gain of „control“ to everybody else in the world, by tougher immigration policy also to the EU, which is expected as a tool of new British nationalism means self-isolation and again loss of influence.

And now the British press is fuller than ever with qualified opinions (Nick Clegg) on how to exit the Brexit. British political culture may manage this U-turn, with a lot of what has lacked since 2016: the typical British pragmatism (which lacks totally in the negotiations with the EU). Forecasting attempts in policies should never be linear – like: 1 x voted for Brexit (and this with 37% of the population only!) – there will be the Brexit. This, by the way, is more immanent to a dictatorship, which is not applicable for Great Britain. Linear moves would permit the extrapolation (or intrapolation) of political circumstances, based on a population which is immune to learning. I hope this is not the case with the British. We have already a lot of UK citizens who changed their citizenship, and they are now Germans, French, Spanish, Portuguese etc. And lots of EU citizens have returned to the EU since the vote, and new ones hesitate to go to Britain. This is not typical for an element of a European open society.

In this situation, it cannot be a miracle that Theresa May seems to commit many mistakes. One of the next ones would be not to publish the legal opinions kept in secret until now about the Brexit and its implications – they seem to be good for a U-turn of the Government. While we are in a situation when senior Brussels personalities tell in private „OMG, let the British go, the sooner the better…“, this is clearly the result of the chaotic, unprepared, and probably unfeedbacked negotiation position of UK. It would take the Brexit negotiations with the EU into a year-long, maybe 5 – 8 years lasting negotiation nightmare. In the time between June 2016 and March 2017 any state of the world could and would have been better prepared than H.M’s Government.

Once more: to keep the advantages for UK in the EU Single Market which is and will be seen as necessary for the country, will require a U-turn towards the Brexit. It will take several generations until the British will be as „European“ as the French, the Italians, the Spanish, the Germans etc., but there may be a new agreement between the EU and Great Britain about the continuation of the EU Membership. Until now, I have thought, this can be achieved only by a change of government (which does not necessary mean a Labour one) and a significant change of public opinion. Now I believe it can be started by a change within the Government  This – or the other solution – seems today more likely than ever. Which leads me to the cautiously optimistic opinion that there will be no Brexit at all. If UK ask the European Council to vote for an extension of the March 2019 deadline, it probably will be granted, as first step. However, if the British would come back to the EU, a (francophone) senior Brussels personality has to be quoted: „Alors, s’ils reviennent, c’est la merde que recommence…

Pro-Russian Separatists Run Prisoner Camps in Donbass With Slave Labour

The Ukraine conflict is sometimes on the way of being forgotten, unfortunately. Except when the separatists proclaim a state „Little Russia“ in Donezk and Luhansk, what even the Moscow paper Kommersant brings to a smile and to say that „[this] proclamation … will not bring any big consequences“ (Kommersant, 19.7.2017). Indeed, if the Kremlin would support this „state“, then all Western negiotation partners would have to consider this as withdrawal from the Minsk Agreements. This would kill the Moscow expectation for a certain working relationship to the USA and above all to the EU and its Member States. But this is not even worth a substantial reporting in European media.

But what is worthwhile and should be repeated again and again is the strange way of „rule of law“ followed by the Donezk and Luhansk separatist administrations. This includes, besides everything else, also slave work in the form of forced labour for prisoners of these two „Peoples Republics“.They have to work, if they do not want to be thrown into a kind of dungeon, and they are not paid at all. They just get some tea and cigarettes. With their unvoluntary „assistance“ their wood chucking, welding, quarrying and other very hard work, they make money for the budget of the two „Peoples Republics“ (or of „Little Russia“, as now they call themselves) – amounting to approx. 500.000 EUR  per month. There are, following the investigations of the up to 10.000 prison inmates now many illegally in prison. They have done their time, or they should have been in freedom due to a 2014 amnesty by the Ukrainian President. But this latter seems not to concern the separatists, as they do not accept decisions by the Ukrainian Government or state institutions.

Karte Straflager "Luhansker Volksrepublik" (Ostukrainische Menschenrechtsgruppe)

(Map pf prison camps in The „Peoples‘ Republic of Luhansk, by the East Ukraine Human Rights Group, which helped to reveal These practices)

It is clear that these „gulags“ in nowadays‘ Europe, in an otherwise modernizing state of Ukraine, are not made without – at least – the toleration by the Russian authorities. Like in e.g. Transnistria, another „frozen conflict“ area, the Kremlin pays for most of the budget of the „Peoples republics“ – big Russia pays for „Little Russia“.

The prison camps have been revealed by Sabine Adler, one of the most experienced journalists of public radio Deutschlandfunk in Germany. (see her report, with interviews and photos, under http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/zwangsarbeit-in-ostukrainischen-separatistengebieten-gulags.724.de.html?dram:article_id=390676; there are also PDF links on that page in English and Russian language) She knows Ukraine since many years – as well as the whole system as she studied in Leipzig during GDR times. She had various leading posts in Deutschlandfunk and had worked also for a while as press & communication director for the German Parliament (Bundestag). Several times rewarded prestigious journalism prices, she is high on a list of self-proclaimed media critics from German nationalist or Russian troll orientation. If someone stands not for fake news, it is her. BBC from London raised the same issue.

It is indeed not easy to fight for the rights of the prison inmates in Donezk and Luhansk. While the Ombudswoman of Ukraine manages transports of prison inmates to normal correction centers in Ukraine from Donezk, she did not yet from Luhansk. But to stand for the rule of law which includes human treatment for prisoners, above for those who have served their time, is a permanent request to every responsible lawyer, journalist and pf course politician. In this context, the problem should be seized e.g. by the European Parliament, the EEAS – EU Diplomatic Service and all other EU politicians who from time to time are on their pilgrimages to Moscow.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ), http://www.eufaj.eu

Neuer Minister für Brexit-Fragen in May’s Regierung wollte Europäische Union „vollends zerstören“

Steve Baker MP ist seit 17. Juni 2017 neues britisches Regierungsmitglied (als Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, also Staatssekretär im Brexit-Ministerium) und seit 2010 Mitglied des britischen Parlaments. Der studierte Flugzeugingenieur, der zehn Jahre lang für die Royal Air Force arbeitete (seine Vita ist beschrieben auf der Regierungs-Website https://www.gov.uk/government/people/steve-baker – Zugriff vom 7.7.2017), wird in der britischen Presse auch schon einmal als „fanatischer Pro-Brexit-Konservativer“ bezeichnet (vgl. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4459342/Business-tycoons-make-toast-Brexit-Tory-MP-Steve-Baker.html aus Daily Mail Online, 30.4.2017 – Zugriff vom 7.7.2017, im Artikel „Business tycoons make toast of fanatical Brexit Tory MP Steve Baker“), als er sich von Kontra-Brexit-Geschäftsleuten mit Eiern bewerfen ließ.

Das alles wäre nicht weiter der Rede wert und könnte als übliche Profilierungsversuche britischer Abgeordneter gelten – wenn nicht der Herr Unterstaatssekretär vor einigen Jahren einige Bemerkungen gemacht hätte, die vollkommen in sein Engagement vor dem Brexit-Referendum passen. Diesbezüglich muss sich Frau May fragen lassen, warum sie dieses Regierungsmitglied ernannt hat, während sie mit Engelszungen Freizügigkeit für EU-Staatsbürger nach dem Brexit zusichert, freilich wie von der EU-Kommission festgestellt, in nicht sehr präziser Weise.

Steve Baker MP machte vor einer Konferenz der „Libertarian Alliance“ im Jahr 2010, wie vor einigen Tagen die renommierte britische Tageszeitung „The Independent“ nachwies, Bemerkungen, die für eine Zerstörung der Europäischen Union plädierten (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-european-union-eu-steve-baker-theresa-may-wholly-torn-down-libertarian-alliance-a7820721.html, Zugriff: 7.7.2017, mit Video; The Independent 3.7.2017, Tom Embury-Dennis, Joe Watts: „Brexit: Minister appointed to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal wants European Union ‚wholly torn down'“).

In seiner Rede bei dieser rechtsgerichteten Einrichtung (die auf dem Kontinent als „ga-ga“ bezeichnet würde, so bizarr ist sie), hatte der jetzige Minister Steve Baker gesagt, die EU sollte „wholly torn down“, also vollständig zerstört werden.  Sie sei ein Hindernis für den Weltfrieden und unvereinbar mit einer freien Gesellschaft („[…he said…] the EU should be “wholly torn down”, before branding it an “obstacle” to world peace and “incompatible” with a free society).

Baker sagt den applaudierenden Zuhörern wörtlich: „I think Ukip and the Better Off Out campaign lack ambition. I think the European Union needs to be wholly torn down.” – Ich glaube UKIP [die zwischenzeitlich fast erloschene Anti-EU- und rechtspopulistische Partei] und die Better Off Out-Kampagne [eine Bewegung aus dieser Zeit, die für einen EU-Austritt warb und das mit der Behauptung, dass dann UK besser dastehen würde] haben nicht genug Ehrgeiz. Ich glaube, die Europäische Union muss völlig zerstört werden“.

Der neue Minister fügte hinzu: Die EU … war dazu gedacht, wirtschaftlichen Nationalismus zu besiegen. Daher ist sie ein Fehlschlag nach ihrer eigenen Definition (“It was meant to defeat economic nationalism, it is therefore a failure in its own terms.“). Und weiter  sagte der Abgeordnete für Wycombe, dr später eine sehr führende Rolle in der Pro-Brexit-Kampagne spielen sollte: „If we wish to devolve power to the lowest possible level, make it accountable and move on into a free society, then it’s clearly incompatible.“ – Wenn wir Befugnisse auf die niedrigstmögliche Ebene herunterdelegieren und diese Ebene verantwortlich machen wollen, und uns in Richtung einer freien Gesellschaft bewegen wollen, dass ist sie […, die EU,…] klar unvereinbar damit.

Diese libertäre Ansicht, ganz im Sinne der Zuhörerschaft, wurde dann noch ergänzt wie folgt: „What I want is free trade and peace among all the nations of Europe as well as the world and in my view the European Union is an obstacle to that.” – Was ich will, ist freier Handel und Frieden zwischen allen europäischen Nationen sowie auf der Welt, und nach meiner Ansicht ist die Europäische Union hiergegen ein Hindernis“. Der Herr Minister sagt also, dass die EU ein Hindernis für den Frieden sei, in Europa und der Welt. .. Spätestens hier wird klar, dass diese Person eine Lachnummer ist.

Da fühlt man sich erinnert an die Worte eines ehemaligen konservativen Ministers, der vor einigen Wochen davon sprach, dass Gibraltar vor den Spaniern ähnlich wie die Falklands zu Zeiten Maggie Thatchers vor den (damals diktatorisch regierten) Argentiniern verteidigt werden müsste. Dies erregte nicht nur in Spanien Kopfschütteln. Beide Äußerungen  indizieren eine gewaltige Realitätsferne.

Jetzt aber ist derjenige, der mit abenteuerlichen Argumenten die EU zerstören wollte, Minister Seiner Majestät. Er hat zwar einige Parlamentskollegen, die davor warnten, dass diese Ernennung die Fähigkeit, gute Verhandlungsresultate zu erzielen gefährden kann – und dies zu einer Zeit, als es die ersten Meinungsumfragen gibt, die als Ergebnis wiedergeben, dass „Remain“ für einen Verbleib in der EU eine Mehrheit bekommen könnte, wenn morgen eine solche Abstimmung stattfände.

Man kann sich keine kontinentaleuropäische Regierung vorstellen, die derartig besetzt würde. Aber vielleicht bedarf es erst eines irrationalen Brexit-Votums (von insgesamt 37% der wahlberechtigten Bevölkerung!), dass so etwas geschieht. Wenn Theresa May mit so etwas kommt und die EU-Unterhändler diesen Mann ernst nehmen, dann dürften sie verdammt gute Schauspieler sein.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

 

 

 

Erfolgreiches österreichisches Modell: „EU-GemeinderätInnen“

Seit 2010 gibt es eine Initiative in Österreich, die ich für bemerkens- und nachahmenswert halte im Sinne des Eintretens für die europäische Integration und das Schließen der Lücke zwischen Kommunal- und Europapolitik: Europa-GemeinderätInnen, die unter dem Motto „Europa fängt in der Gemeinde an“ Ansprechpartner für besondere Bildungsmaßnahmen sowie von Fragen der Bürger sind. In Österreich sind es derzeit fast 1.000 derartige Gemeinderäte – von einem bis mehreren pro Kommune. Natürlich gibt es auch Gemeinden, die aus unterschiedlichen Gründen sich nicht beteiligen. In Österreich wurden alle Bürgermeister vom Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres (BMEIA) angeschrieben, die dann einen oder mehrere Gemeinderäte benennen, je nach Willen des Rates. Für diese Gemeinderäte stehen Dienstleistungen zur Verfügung (z. B. Seminare über Europa-Kommunikation ca. 3-4 x pro Jahr, 1-2 pro Jahr Brüssel-Studienreisen, gelegentlich interne Briefings, Workshops zu bestimmten Themen, an denen es ja zur Zeit nicht mangelt, usw.) bzw. die betreffenden Gemeinderäte stehen als Ansprechpartner auch Bürgern zur Verfügung. Österreich hat auch erfolgreich diese informelle Struktur in die italienische Autonome Provinz Bozen-Südtirol „exportiert“.

Das österreichische Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres (BMEIA) steht einer Ausweitung dieses Projekts in andere EU-Mitgliedstaaten überhaut nicht entgegen – im Gegenteil. Man ist auch sehr gerne bereit, konkrete Initiativen zu beraten: Frau Mag. Brigitte Trinkl, BMEIA Wien, e-mail brigitte.trinkl@bmeia.gv.at

Hier die entsprechende Website der EU-Kommission/Vertretung in Österreich: http://ec.europa.eu/austria/news/eu-gemeinder%C3%A4te-br%C3%BCssel-mittlerweile-%C3%BCber-900-teilnehmer-ganz-%C3%B6sterreich_de

Und hier die des österreichischen Bundesministeriums für Europa, Integration ud Äußeres: https://www.bmeia.gv.at/europa-aussenpolitik/europapolitik/oesterreich-in-der-eu/eu-gemeinderaete/

Die Anmeldeformulare für EU-GemeinderätInnen an das BMEIA sind einfache Adressen- und Funktionsbeschreibungen; hierüber wird dann eine Adressdatei gehalten.

Für Deutschland beispielsweise dürfte eine zentralisierte Behandlung dieser Frage durch z. B. das Auswärtige Amt nicht in Frage kommen, sondern eher auf Länderebene bearbeitet durch die jeweiligen Europaministerien der Bundesländer, auf deren Ebene auch die Kommunalaufsicht liegt, oder delegiert an die Städte- und Gemeindeverbände. Auch die Landkreise in Deutschland setzen viel EU-Recht um (z. B. Abfallrecht, Umweltrecht usw.) und sollten hierzulande nicht vergessen werden. Daher ist der Name „EU-GemeinderätInnen“ wahrscheinlich nicht automatisch übertragbar.

Auch dürfte dieses Modell nicht automatisch anwendbar sein, wenn z. B. in größeren Kommunen bzw. Landkreisen Europabeauftragte bzw. -referenten o.ä. vorhanden sind (also professionelle Kräfte der Verwaltung). Andererseits sind diese vielleicht auch daran interessiert, eine Verbreiterung ihrer Tätigkeit im Gemeinderat bzw. Kreistag zu sehen bzw. dort informationsmäßig privilegierte Ansprechpartner zu haben. Wenn die kommunale Ebene stärker europa-durchdrungen ist, ist dies auf jeden Fall kein Nachteil (zumal es eine Fülle von für Kommunen relevanter Projekte und Themen gibt, wo man „good practices“ entnehmen kann). In jedem Fall eignet es sich für kleinere Kommunen und Landkreise ohne eigenen Europareferenten.

Theoretisch wäre es auch möglich, dass die Europe Direct-Informationszentren (EDIC) Koordinationsfunktionen übernehmen, bzw. Seminare für EU-GemeinderätInnen abhalten (wie in Österreich). In Österreich arbeitet die Vertretung der EU-Kommission erfolgreich, z. B. das eine oder andere Seminar fördernd, mit den EU-GemeinderätInnen bzw. dem BMEIA zusammen; auf der Basis eines einfachen MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) aus dem Jahr 2010.  So etwas sollte auch in Deutschland möglich sein, auch in Kooperation mit den relevanten Landesministerien. Dann wären es eben statt einem MoU in Deutschland maximal 16.

Damit wären auch für alle, die sich mit der Kommunikation zum Thema Europa befassen, auf einen Schlag wichtige Ansprechpartner in den Kommunen gegeben, auch für die Europa-Union-Landes- bzw. Kreisverbände oder für die vielen Einrichtungen für politische Bildung (Landeszentralen, Stiftungen usw.). Europa hat es verdient, konstruktiv überall vertreten zu werden, auch auf Gemeindeebene, wo es eben zahlreiche Anknüpfungspunkte zu Europa gibt – von Umwelt-  über Abfall-, Veterinär-, Verbraucher- zu Verkehrs-, Digitalisierungs- und Freizügigkeitsnormen, aber auch die Integration unserer neuen ausländischen Mitbürger u.v.a.m. Etwa 70 – 85% allen EU-Rechts (je nach Sichtweise) wird auf kommunaler Ebene (in Deutschland also Gemeinden und Landkreise) umgesetzt. Nur wenige wissen dies, und wir hätten mit Sicherheit eine noch stärker regulierende Wirkung auf nationaler Ebene ohne EU-rechtlichen Beitrag der (supra-)nationalen Ebene.

Für die gesamten Aktivitäten in Österreich gibt es übrigens keine eigene Budgetlinie der dortigen Bundesregierung; etwaige Ausgaben sind dort Teil des Kommunikationsbudgets. Fahrten nach Brüssel bezuschussen das Europäische Parlament, die EU-Kommission bzw. der Ausschuss der Regionen.

Ein gelungenes Experiment, das also auch in andere Länder „importiert“ werden sollte. Ohne schwere Strukturen, leicht zu bedienen durch einen (Ministerial-)Referenten, der gelegentlich Hilfe braucht. Nicht die Lösung aller Probleme dieser Welt, aber ein kleiner Beitrag, Europa zu kommunizieren. Es lohnt sich, wie wir in den letzten Monaten in der Europäischen Union gesehen haben.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

 

The Result of Nationalism – Great Britain Might Have to Fear Dissolution

After Tito’s death, Yugoslavia was for a while headed by Milosevic, who was a staunch nationalist. He started with mild and ended with wild attacks against his own peoples. The result: Yugoslavia had been dismantled by themselves, and the historical core is now Serbia. Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina split off as independent states, and so did Kosovo, after a particularly bloody and cruel war against them. Still today Serbia claims that Kosovo is a part of its state territory, a more hypothetical claim. Yugoslavia, a country with approx. 25 mill. inhabitants, ended up in seven independent countries, of which Serbia, the ex-Yugoslavian core, has around 8 millions.

There are also many historical examples of secessions, also in Europe, or of intended secessions, at least by a part of the population – like Catalonia or the Basques from Spain, where the will to go for one’s own is already anchored in the center of the political spectrum. This was and is triggered by the impression of lacking dialogue and what is called nationalism by the central state. In turn, it triggered nationaism in the periphery of the country. While Madrid can have hope, as there is a constructive discussion about the role of the state and in the direction of a de-facto-federalism, Yugoslavia ended in wars and armed conflicts and therefore broke in pieces. Now the perspective of the European Union is a kind of federalist vision for the citizens of the Balkan states, identified with peace, freedom, human rights, the rule of law, and a functioning economy.

How Great Britain will develop? For London, there is the big danger that if the British Government stresses national issues too much, then parts of the UK like Scotland or Northern Ireland may be lost. This would have also repercussions on Wales. Why? It became evident with the Brexit referendum that from England there was exercised too much pressure (or power) for the whole country, e.g. by the simplified form of the referendum question. At the same time, this discussion is held, or tolerated, by the Government, in a nationalist mode. Let us remember only the sounds of Lord Howard, a leading Tory, when threatening Spain wit a British Armada comparable to the one to the Falklands many years ago under Mararet Thatcher. Incredibly, he forgot to mention that the latter wa the case as Argentinian dictatorship troops occupied the Falklands, and Gibraltar was never occupied by the Spanish. The Spanish only wanted, with full justification, a clear position of the UK in the Brexit talks, on the issue „Gibraltar and Single Market“, which is for evident reasons of high interest for Spain. Should they re-start with border controls? Gibraltar has voted with more than 95% against Brexit, and it was for decades not part of the EU, as the UK Government determined so, and became a member of the EU (as part of the UK) only after a European Court of Justice decision initiated by ist own government.

History shows us that enlightened, democratic Europeans are well able to replace their home capital by a regional capital (until now) and the European fabric above – a fabric which is neither imperialist nor violent nor nationalist. This fits excellently to the case of Scotland and Northern Ireland, which might break away from Great Britain in the vears after the Brexit. However, it might occur that Brexit won’t happen, as there may be grave economic distortions to the detriment of the UK. I am still full of hope of a kind of peaceful revolution by the people who should know it: scientists, university people, youth, company owners – and if you look at the Brexit results, altogether the open and more intelligent people.

The result of the equation „the more nationalist, the more states at the end“ might be followed at a significant change in the European map, like in Yugoslavia. This is undoubtedly the long-term tendency. If you listen to some Brexiteers, you can express your pity that due to the bloody EU they were not any more able to go tiger-hunting for the weekend to Eshnapur.

On the long term, the overall trend is against the national states in the EU – which all come from a certain period in the past. They will continue to serve as administrative levels – no problem with this. Because who is in an overall love to his respective administrative levels, e.g. the Regierungspräsidium Tübingen (which is one of my administrative levels) …  So in order to prevent the breakup of other countries, we need sound regional competences, a European federalism (with the subsidiarity principle!), and, why not, constitutional and cultural patriotism. But no nationalism at all. In four day, the French people will have defeated these ghosts from the past, after the Austrians, the Dutch, and the next ones will be the Germans in September 2017.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka (European Union Foreign Affairs Journal)

http://www.eufaj.eu