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MEPs Walk Out on Klaus as He Tells Them That Democracy Works Best When Differing Views Are Allowed

February 21, 2009

Czech President Vàclav Klaus gave a speech to the European Parliament two days ago reminding the MEP’s of simple things like

that one or another institutional arrangement of the European Union is not an objective in itself; but a tool for achieving the real objectives. These are nothing but human freedom and such [an] economic system that would bring prosperity. That system is a market economy. [Emphasis original.]

Klaus deplored the fact that “the present economic system of the EU is a system of a suppressed market, a system of a permanently strengthening centrally controlled economy.” [Emphasis original.] and that the current financial crisis is incorrectly blamed on a free market.

He also pointed out the well-known and matter-of-fact democracy deficit in the current design of the European Union’s parliamentary system and added this:

I fear that the attempts to speed up and deepen integration and to move decisions about the lives of the citizens of the member countries up to the European level can have effects that will endanger all the positive things achieved in Europe in the last half a century. Let us not underestimate the fears of the citizens of many member countries, who are afraid, that their problems are again decided elsewhere and without them, and that their ability to influence these decisions is very limited. So far, the European Union has been successful, partly thanks to the fact that the vote of each member country had the same weight and thus could not be ignored. Let us not allow a situation where the citizens of member countries would live their lives with a resigned feeling that the EU project is not their own; that it is developing differently than they would wish, that they are only forced to accept it. We would very easily and very soon slip back to the times that we hoped belonged to history.

Klaus closed by saying that the expression of, and the listening to, dissenting views is “the opportunity and the only method for making the European Union more free, more democratic and more prosperous.” – a statement that should go without saying, so to speak, in a place that is called “parliament”.

Yet, as Daniel Hannan reports, the MEP’s reacted by heckling and walking out on the President’s speech. I guess they just wanted to prove his point.

H/T Andrew Stuttaford.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 4, 2009 14:31

    Fortunately, the EU Parliament will shortly be strengthened. On the other hand, I think the appt of EU officials by state leaders does not contradict democratic principles because those leaders have been elected and repuplican democratic principles don’t function as well directly at a very large scale. If you are interested, here is a related post:
    http://euandus3.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/the-eu-as-a-partner-for-the-us/

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