07 June 2009

Relations of the Union and the member states 2 - Foreign policy

There are also other things following the provision on foreign policy that was written in the previous post. I will discuss them now.

If it is said that the federation is one entity towards the outside, many consequences go out from that which need to be mentioned explicitly, I believe.

The European federation will act with non-members states and will represent them because the member states will not be allowed to have their own foreign policy. But the same principle should be applied also in the cases where the member states of the European federation need not act with any states but the situation will be that they act outside their own territories. What I have in mind the international seas are. It is an area where the EU member states can get in contact with non-member states (fishery) and some conflicts can easily occur. There is another area similar to the international seas where interests of various world states can collide - the space out of the Earth. For that reason the European federation should be only one acting also there. It can be seen needless maybe because the space research is an expensive matter and almost no European state can afford it independently (that is the reason why the European Space Agency arose) but in spite of that the greatest states of Europe or a few of them together could make their space activities though they are demanding.

Nonetheless I will write on some matter now which can seem contrary to that what I have written above. The European federation member states will not be allowed to act independently outside the union; but in some cases I believe it can be allowed. The spheres of independent acting of the member states which I have in mind are culture, sport and science. The culture is an expression of European diversity and need to be united by the European federation in no way, the same applies to the sport. These two fields are not connected with a power, so any collisions with some non member states come not into consideration (at least I believe) - therefore the European federation members can be allowed to act independently also with non member states in this domain. The same is a matter of the science although the federation can have more interests in it; for many science projects (especially in nature sciences) are so expensive that they need to be accomplished with the powers of more than one member state and at least a coordination of the federation would be appropriate. But where the powers of the member states are sufficient, they could act with non-member states in this field. The sport is the third domain where the member states could deal with non-member states. Today, for example, Poland and Ukraine arrange together the world football championship, the EU member with non-member. In current EU it does non matter because the European union is not a union and its members are independent states. However, I believe the member states could act like this also in a true union and Poland could arrange the above mentioned championship with non-member Ukraine (or other non-member state) in such circumstances too. Why I believe that the European federation member states can act independently outside the federation in this case? The diversity of Europe manifests itself most in culture and related fields and establishing the union in Europe ought not to change it. The states of Europe - as I have already written before - got very accustomed to their independence and it is not necessary to take it away from them in all cases. And I believe that the common European Olympic expedition under the EU federation flag, for example, is not necessary for Europe's welfare. It is obvious to me that the federalists would well welcome it in the present time but the national politicians would be able to agree with it but the foreign policy, for example, would preserve by themselves at the same time. And there is more necessary a real union than mere symbols of unity. However, back to the member states independent action outside the Union.

The culture, sport and science are not about power, so I think these matters need not to be managed by the Union outside the Union. However, some difficulties can occur also in this field. Let us imagine that Poland would want to arrange the football championship not with Ukraine but with Belarus and the European Union will have bad relations with it and sanctions against it (hypothetically). Then: the independent acting of Poland would be in accordance with the federal constitution in the sport field but not in accordance with the federation interests. Therefore the federal constitution should contain a statement that the member states can act independently in the culture, science and sport matters outside the Union if it is not in contradiction with the interests of the Union; and also the member states ought to inform the Union about their intentions and approach if they will act outside the Union.

If only the European federation can have its foreign policy and the member states cannot have it (except of the matters mentioned above), only the federation can also determine economic relations between the Union and the foreign states. I believe that I have not to develop it much because the authorities of the EU negotiate with the third countries in trade matters already today (although they need a final consent of the member states governments today). The European federation ought to be one state towards the outside and therefore the member states cannot act independently in such important matter like business and trade negotiation and contracts. Also determination of customs duties amount and of prohibition of certain goods import belongs to this matter; the federation will also naturally be able to determine rules for export.

The matter that also ought to be transferred in the power of the federation is the guard of the outside border of the federation. This matter needs a federal regulation because the uniform territory of the federation (with free movement of persons (about it in another post)) cannot be guarded by different states (passing by that not all member stats will be border states) - federal rangers can on the other hand operate in whatever sector of outside border in the case of need. In addition, guarding common borders is a normal federal competence.

What belongs closely to the mentioned matter is a matter of "visitors" of the federation. That is to say only the federation can determine who can enter the federation territory, the member states cannot do it. One of fundamental features of every federation is that there is free persons movement among the member states - in that case it would be at least peculiar if some border states should decide who alien can stay in other member states territory. Beside that this matter is related to the foreign policy and that is the exclusive matter of the federation. Another way is also possible: the federation will determine the rules of admission to the union territory and the member states will execute them. But it is untypical for federal arrangement; it corresponds rather to present intergovernmental way how the EU works now. But although the second way can be employed, the principle should be valid that if some power was put in the hands of the federation, the federal authorities should accomplish the power. The contrary way would mean that the federation would be dependent on its member states in its own policy. That I do not consider to be suitable for Europe (though this principle works in some federations like in Germany for example); nonetheless, I will discuss it more in another post dealing with federal bodies.

Now, I will stop and finish this post with the words that other federation competencies will be discussed by me another next time.