09 May 2009

Relations of the Union and the member states 1 - Foreign and military policy

In this chapter the constitution will determine the relations between the Union on the one hand and the member states, that is to say competencies of the federation. Whereas my previous posts were relatively indisputable (although it is possible to quarrel on everything) many (potential) readers of this chapter can easily dissent from many (or even all) of submitted suggestions because the European states independence is a very delicate matter, so I will explain them as well as can be (from my point of view) – however, if someone dissents from the European federation concept itself nothing can be explained to him at all.

I will discuss first more common matters about federation competencies. How large should be their extent? There are competencies which every federation must have to be a federation but before I will deal with them concretely I will refer first to the principles of their arrangement in the federal constitution of Europe. There are two types of federations, those that arose from below and those that arose from above. The first type represents such a federation that arose from the originally independent states which voluntarily have ceded part of their competencies to the federal state. The second type represents such a federation that arose from originally unitary state which has given some state rights to its parts. Examples for the first type are the United States of America or Switzerland, for the second type Belgium. The first type differs from the second one in the fact that the originally independent states joined in a common state but their independence was so dear to them that they ceded to the common state only the most necessary competencies so that the common state may work at all. In this type of federation the federal state is more weak initially (and its competencies acquires only gradually) than in the second type where the federal constitution is written for the sake of strong federal state and less competencies and less independence is left to the member states in this case than in the first type. The European states have very strong feeling for their independence, all of them have never been together in a common state except some states which were parts of greater states today non existing (like the Austrian empire). Hence it follows that the European federal constitution should be more like the USA constitution which came out of the states rights protection than the constitution of Germany where the competencies of the federal state are very extensive (assuming that the so called concurrent legislation (the states make laws till the federation do the same in certain areas) is in fact additional competencies for the federation); and I do not mention the constitution of Austria where the competence of the federation is even greater than in the German case.

Then: the competencies of the federation and the member states can be set in a different way in the federal constitution. First, only the competencies of the federation are enumerated and the other not enumerated remains in the competence of the member states. Second, only the competencies of the member states are enumerated and the not enumerated rest is in the federal competence. Third, both the competencies of the member states and of the federation are enumerated. The third way seems to be the most exact division of the competencies. However, it is not. All human activities and all possible state competencies cannot be listed in the constitution. Besides, nobody knows which activities will emerge in the future and will have to be regulated by the state (for example, before fifty years, nobody knew that something like a cloning will be possible some day). The best way is in fact the first one – the competencies of the federation are strictly done whereas the competencies of the member states are open. That means: if some new matter operated by the state occurs it goes automatically to the member states because it will not be listed among the federal competencies in the federal constitution. If it is proven that it is better to transfer this newly occurred competencies to the federation, the federal constitution will have to be changed, that is to say the member states will have to agree with the transfer of their competencies to the federation. That is fully in accord with the principle of federalism which says that the member states are independent if their independence is not restricted by the federation, in other words the member state have all competencies and all power that have not transferred to the federation.

So, now I will proceed to concrete provisions of the federal constitution of Europe. In first place the thing will stay that is the most important attribute of every federation – the federation is a single entity towards the outside. That means the one – the foreign policy has to pass over to the federation completely and the member states cannot act independently outside the federation. It is self-evident, there in no federation in the world where it is otherwise; all the same this is the greatest problem for Europe – the European states do not want to abandon their foreign policy; though it is a core matter for whichever form of a political union. I believe that the main fault falls at the European states politicians because they want not to give up their power. We hear how the national interests must be protected all the time but let somebody say to me: what for any European nation needs its foreign policy? Will the Spaniards stop to be the Spaniards if they do not have their foreign policy? Will the Poles stop to be the Poles without their foreign policy? Cannot the Swedes remain the Swedes without their own foreign policy? (And so on, naturally.) As a matter of fact the national and cultural diversity of Europe has nothing to do with the foreign policy of individual European nations; no European nation needs in fact its own foreign policy for its preservation, if it wants to have it, that is an expression of its thirst of excessive might or glory. In any case the European federation cannot exist without its foreign policy and with the member states having their own foreign policy – it is one of the most important things in the construction of the federal state of Europe.

Another matter belongs closely to the foreign policy, it can be said it is its integral component – the military. It would be absurd if the European federation member states should preserve their forces – an armed confrontation among them comes not into consideration (they enter the federation among other thing to avoid mutual wars) and no reason to have the forces exists in that case. The only one who can dispose of the armed troops in the European federation is the federation itself of course, it will use them according to its foreign policy. Nevertheless the troops and the weapons have to be spaced out somewhere; and it is obvious that it cannot be nowhere but in the territories of the member states. This may be for some of the member states people difficult. First because “foreign” troops should be spaced out in (almost) every member state (it is impossible to separate the soldiers of one common army strictly according their home states so they stay not in other member states) – but thus cannot it be in a federation: how can the other member states and their inhabitants of the same federation taken for foreign? It is impossible to enter the European federation with this outlook. The other difficulty for someone: the federal army must have some areas where it preserves its weapons and other technology and where it exercises its soldiers, i. e. military areas. The European army can easily use such current areas of the member states armies but the federation is the only one who will decide about the army in the future and therefore also about the land use for military purposes. However, to use its land is a sensitive matter for every state, so the federal constitution should respect it (a principle that the federation will care about the opinion of the member states in selecting the land for military purposes).

In any case, there is one more problem in common army matter and it is much greater than the previous ones, however it concerns the federal constitution only marginally. It sounds simply: NATO. Some of the present EU members are members of NATO, some of the EU members are not. What to do with it? Should the current NATO member states give up their membership in the military alliance by joining to the federal EU or on the contrary the current NATO non-members should join also the NATO by joining the European federation? And (so called) neutral states? Now, when no European federation exists, it is a great problem for all European defence projects (how to create common EU forces if not all EU members are NATO members). But the answer is simple in the case of the European federation. If the present independent states join the federation and only the federation can dispose of the military, the member states of the European federation cannot have own foreign policy and their own forces and therefore no member state can be member of any military alliance including NATO.

The question arises now whether the federation itself should join NATO or not. In the beginning it will be not a member naturally, because the treaties were signed by the present European states, no by any European federation, the membership of the current states cannot be automatically transferred to the federation. So, should the European federation be member of NATO? I do not think so. I know that many people in Europe see NATO as in integral part of European existence. But they have forgotten why NATO arose and in what circumstances it was established – Europe was destroyed after the second stage of its civil war (traditionally called WW2) and occupied by the United States of America and the Soviet Union and the states being not under the Soviet influence were so weak that they could not defend themselves without a foreign help. For that reason NATO is a witness of weakness, division and unindependence of Europe. Today, there is absolutely different situation – the invasion of the USSR threatens today not, even USSR itself exists not and the main thing is that by creating the federation, the military power of all member states will join together and Europe will not be military unindependent more. Europe like a federation will make do without the USA troops well and the USA military protection of Europe will be needless. All the same I believe that already today NATO serves not for the benefit of Europe but of the USA, the European member states support the USA wars in the world – that is the main purpose of NATO today; the USA military presence in Europe makes more an impression of an occupation than a help. So the summary is evident: NATO arose like a USA military protection of weak and divided Europe against the military strong Soviet Union; after the rise of the European federation Europe will not be weak and divided more and the Soviet Union exists also already not, so the future existence of NATO will be superfluous. Because a membership of the federal European union in such military organization is a weighty thing, I believe that in the federal constitution a provision should be that the accession of the EU to some military alliance requires the consent of the federation citizens (something similar what is in the Swiss constitution (article 140)).

There are still many other issues having to be discussed on the European federation competencies but this article would be too long containing all of that so I have divided the topic in more articles and this is the first one of them. So, to be continued next time (my suggestion of the pertinent constitution text will be in the last part).