19 September 2009

Associated states

In this post I will return back to an international policy of the European federation because I have realized something yet in connection with it. It will be very probably necessary in future that a category of to the European federation associated states will be. The fact points to it that not all member states of the present EU will want to join the European federation (a realistic estimate is that majority will not want). It is therefore necessary to ask a question what will be relation of the refusing states to the new federation, whose members they made up a close community with before its rise. It is certain that they will not be willing to throw away all what they have reached in the integration to present days (e. g. the common currency). If present members of the European community will not access to the European federation, they will be non-members as well as the states which are not members of the EU today. But in comparison with present non-members they will be (due to present connection) in privileged position. This privileged position, less than full membership in the federation but more than ordinary full independent states relationship, I call an association.

Some provision needs to be in the European federal constitution. I hold a view that every state can associate to the European federation under different circumstances, on different conditions accommodating itself, therefore not all associated states need to have the same position toward the federation – similarly to present EU arrangement where some states are members of monetary union and some are not. There must be however some minimal requirements which states aspiring after the association have to meet so that the federation may give them a status of privileged partnership. These minimal requirements should be part of the federal constitution so any candidate state cannot obtain less strict requirements by the European federation.

First question is what states can associate to the European Union. Many people would start with „Every state in Europe which...“. But the association partnership should not to be restricted only to European states; present existence of dependent territories of some European states (of Denmark, France and the United Kingdom) requests it. These territories are not fully integral parts of mentioned states and therefore cannot be parts of the European federation along with their maternal states (inhabitants of the dependent states want not often – see their membership in present EU), however neither the three states nor their dependent territories want break off their mutual relations at the same time. The status of an associated state is therefore an only solution how to preserve the connection of mentioned overseas territories to corresponding European states if the states access to the federation but these territories will have to be states associated to the union as a whole not to any of its member states because the second one would be in contradiction with the principle that no member state can have its foreign policy.

What should be the minimal requirements towards the associated states? The first one of them is that an associated state should not act in contradiction with interests of the European union. It is not so self-evident requirement because some European states can be easily imagined which will not want to access the European federation and generally will not want to join other states more closely than by economic treaties; and these states could take advantage of the association to the European Union only one-sided, as a relationship advantageous only for them, from which they will only take but nothing give for it. A regard to the European union interests is the least what an associated state can give in exchange for the association. What „regard to the European Union interests“ means concretely cannot be said exactly in advance; it will depend on concrete political and international situation. It can be said commonly that the associated states should not do anything what could harm the European federation. I believe that it is not necessary to mention economic and business matters, I doubt not that the association treaties will specify relations of the associated states to third states in this sufficiently. But another thing is political and military influence of the European federation. Should the federation give it up? Europe has to learn – with arising the new federation – that Europe itself will be liable for its own security and defense at last and not an outside superpower as in time of its division. And not only the federation's member states but also other European states, though “only” associated, must accustom themselves to it. Let us take present Britain's example: this state is a member of the European union but holds “special” relationship with the United States of America, it participates all military campaigns of them and want to give the impression at all that it is still a worldwide power and that it is not an “ordinary” one of many parts of Europe. The east-European states on the other hand fear of Russia so much that they want to be defensed by (the same) extra-European superpower and do not believe in Europe. But no European federation's associated state can act like this (if it want to, it cannot be an associated state). If an associated state should remain independent from international point of view, I do not know whether it is possible to bar it from doing such thing like sending its forces of its own free will to battlefields somewhere outside of Europe without a compliance of the European federation but at least the associated states should not retract such acting in Europe itself. So that the defensive and military capability of the European federation may come into being the associated states should not be allowed to permit to install foreign (that is to say not of the European federation or of another associated state) military forces in its territory – for simply the defense of Europe ought to be a thing of Europe. In present time, three small east-Baltic republics have not their own air forces and their defense from air has been provided with the air forces of other NATO members. If this principle works today, it can work in the future in all-Europe extent too. (Present condition (the USA or other military installations in Europe) must be dealt in a transitional provision in corresponding part of the constitution with.)

It is obvious that European states will want to join the European federation mainly by economic reasons. One of the main reasons why European states access to an idea of partial restriction of their sovereignty (which they guard as an treasure otherwise) today is an idea of economic advantages arising of the association. To avoid an economic downfall and to maintain prosperity is the most important reason for many states (for some of them the only one) why they participate in the European integration process. The economic part of the integration came farthest from establishing the European Coal and Steel Community, over tariff union and integrated economic area to monetary union what is actually an accomplishment of integrated market construction. Also the states that want not to be members of the present European Union take part in the incomplete (without the common currency) economic union, therefore just this grade of alliance should be the minimal measure of association in the future. It means an economic union between the European federation and the associated state in exchange of goods and providing services with the exception of finance services that as a specific and sensitive domain should not be involved in requirements towards association candidates as well as the common currency – a monetary union of the European union and its associated states is not necessary (also because the federation would not have its currency under its full control, what is a disadvantage of present European currency).

The other requirement for associated states is a question of sharing (common) European values. The association is not a common bilateral commerce treaty but closer partnership and so a requirement for observing the same values is understandable. The question however is how to define the demanded requirements. To write „the associated state has to profess the same values with the European Union“ is insufficient because it is not clear what values a candidate for association has to profess. If some state labours for status of the associated state, it must first fulfill conditions for giving the status of association to it and the conditions must be concrete in order that the European federation can control fulfilling the conditions. Also for the time of the association observing the mentioned conditions (values) has to remain possible to be controlled. It is obvious of it that the European values demanded for association candidates cannot be determined only so broadly as e. g. democracy, rule of law, respect for human life and similarly. For controversies between the European federation and its associated states about explanation of these broad terms can happen in certain cases. But if condition are determined doubtlessly which a candidate for association has to meet as well as principles which must not violate, there will be minimal possibility of such different views and controversies. And if I have written that the same values should be demanded from the associated states which profess (will profess) the federation, then it is nothing better than that the bill of fundamental rights which will be part of the federal constitution will be valid also for the associated states. Sharing the same values cannot be expressed better and be ensured more effectively – with other words candidate states have to acknowledge the same human rights as the European federation which they want associate to. It has been demanded for decades already that Europe ought to be a space where democracy and law rule and it is necessary that also the associated states will be submitted to these principles the more so because especially in the beginning it is expectable that the European federation will include only a little part of Europe and the majority of present EU members will vote the option of associated states.

It follows the fact that the associated states will have to submit to the part of European federation's constitution enumerating fundamental rights, that a method must exist which ensures that the mentioned rights will be observed and exacted really. Another exacting than the judicial one cannot be imagined, at least as far as the associated states are concerned, for in their territory the federation will not be able to use its police or other order forces (unless (in case of present Britain, Denmark and France's dependent territories) an association treaty determines otherwise). If the associated states should be submitted to provisions of the European federation's constitution, all controversies resulting from the mentioned basic rights bill logically should to be judged just by the federal court that will watch over the federal constitution, that is the Supreme court of the European Union. Establishing a separate court (roughly a federal court for associated states) submitted to the supreme court which should be then a court of appeal for the mentioned special court can be also taken into account on organizational ground. It can seem to somebody that there is a contradiction between the fact that the associated states should remain independent from international point of view in frame of the association (obviously with exception of present dependent territories of European states) and the fact that they should be partially submitted to another state's justice. However, we can find an example of similar arrangement in present Europe. The Council of Europe member states have established the European Court of Human Rights making possible to bring suits at it to their citizens and they bound themselves to acknowledge judgments brought in by it. The Council of Europe is an international (intergovernmental) organization (the EU today is too, by the way), its member states give not up their independence in favour of some superior state (e. g. a federation), in spite of that they submit themselves to judgments of that court willingly. For this reason I can see not a single reason why the same principle cannot be valid in relation of the associated states of the European Union and the Supreme Court of the European Union. The only difference between the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court of the European Union would be the one for the associated states that the second mentioned one will be a state court whereas the present court in Strasbourg is an exclusively international institution.

Not all controversies and legal questions of the association states need to come out from the bill of basic rights, also other controversies (for example commercial ones) between the two sides could arise. The most advantageous from the viewpoint of an organization is to entrust also these matters to the same federal court that will verdict controversies coming out from the federal bill of basic rights. The respective provision of the federal constitution should correspond to it and speak about all controversies and legal questions coming out form the association relations.

Another question that needs to be mentioned is a question of citizenship of the European federation and of its associated states. The associated states will not be part of the federation and if they are independent in the moment of arising the federation, they will preserve their independence also in the relation of association. There is no reason to give the citizenship of the European federation to the citizens of these states, besides in the opposite case all laws of the European federation would apply to citizens of the associated states and it is what the associated states will not want (otherwise they would became direct members of the federation). But there will be a problem, if we think about present dependent territories of Denmark, France and the United Kingdom. Because a membership of Denmark and the United Kingdom will be unlikely just from the beginning, I will write about overseas territories of France as example. These territories are special part of the French republic but whereas France is part of the present EU its overseas territories are not part of the EU mostly. The inhabitants of all these territories are citizens of France and it is the problem. I have already written in previous post that after creation of the European federation, the citizenship of the federation cannot be established otherwise than to give it to everybody who will be a citizen of its member state in time of establishing the federation. It would however mean in the case of the France's overseas territories that all their inhabitants as citizens of France would became automatically also citizens of the European federation; it means that these territories would became also part of the federation. For the federation cannot give its laws to a territory but to citizens and inhabitants. But if inhabitants of the France's overseas territories would be citizens of the European federation, the federal laws would apply to them as well as to other citizens of the federation – because it is impossible to divide citizens of one state to citizens with greater rights and obligations and to citizens with lesser rights and obligations. It is not also possible to give the citizenship of the federation to all citizens of France (and Denmark and the United Kingdom) with exception of inhabitants of their overseas territories (and colonies) because it would mean that the inhabitants of these territories would be citizens of France (and so on) but not citizens of the federation. But it would be in conflict with the provision of the federal constitution saying that no member state can give its citizenship to anybody who is not a citizens of the federation. From the mentioned reasons I cannot imagine other solution than that to detach the overseas territories of (not only) France from the framework of their state and to establish them as associated states of the European federation out of a frame of any its member state. In every case, because I am writing about provisions of the constitution, I will close this section with the sentence which should be written in the constitution and which results from the previous written, that is that citizens of the associated states will not be citizens of the European federation.

I have written in the beginning that the association will be a closer relationship than a mere friendly neighbourhood and because it is in interest of the European federation that as many as possible European states join it, there is good idea to enable them to be in close contact with European federation's lawmaking to the associated states for laws of the European federation will influence on the associated states, especially in economic sphere. I mean by the close contact with the lawmaking that the associated states should have their representatives in the parliament of the European federation as it is usual in other association relations (e. g. the USA and Puerto Rico that is however an nonindependent associated state). There will be nothing surprising now if I write in advance that the European federal parliament will have two houses as in (almost?) every federation. The question is in which house of the two the associated states should have their representatives. I want not to anticipate about form of the parliament of the European federation now because I will write about it in the future but I have to mention both houses of the federal parliament now. In federations, both houses differ that the lower house is considered as a representative of the whole people of the federation (for that reason number of chairs (deputies) is distributed among the states according their inhabitants number), the upper house is considered a representative of member states (therefore each of them has usually the same number of deputies). Because citizens of the associated states will not be part of the federation's people, they should not have their representatives in the lower house where the people of the federation should be represented but they must have them therefore in the upper house. The representatives of the associated states should have the same rights as the member states representatives in the upper house but with it exception that they will not be able to vote (about laws and upper house resolutions); I add one restriction more (fully understandable), namely that the representatives of the associated states should have access to secret informations.

Considering the deputies of the associated states in the federal parliament, it is necessary to respond a question about number of their deputies in this assembly. The reasonable number is only one representative for each associated state in the upper house, for simple reason: in the beginning undoubtedly only small number of European states will join the European federation and majority of present EU members (and other states too) enter into a relationship of association with the new federation at most. There will be majority of associated states in Europe for a certain time and greater number of representatives of the associated states in the upper house would outnumber the number of representatives of the member states themselves which would not be useful though the associated states representatives would not have a right to vote.

There is one provision of the constitution finally which I consider necessary. It is possible that some state will associate to the European federation because it will be advantageous for it but it will not have an interest to act as a true associated partner and will therefore violate rules of association – in that case a possibility must be to take away the status of association from the relevant state and corresponding provision should be written in the constitution.