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The Protocol and the Founding Principles of the EU

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jan 13th, 2023 at 11:24:35 AM EST

Cross-posted from Slugger O'Toole, the leading political blog in Northern Ireland. Warning: This story contains links to original sources and may challenge existing perceptions

Treaties can be as dry as dust and as boring as old rope, which is why lawyers have to be paid to read them. But sometimes it is worthwhile to scan their more important provisions. This is how the 1957 Founding Treaty of Rome (Official text not available in English), later consolidated and incorporated into The Treaty on the Functioning of The European Union describes its purpose on its very first page:


DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe,

RESOLVED to ensure the economic and social progress of their States by common action to eliminate the barriers which divide Europe,

AFFIRMING as the essential objective of their efforts the constant improvements of the living and working conditions of their peoples,

RECOGNISING that the removal of existing obstacles calls for concerted action in order to guarantee steady expansion, balanced trade and fair competition,

ANXIOUS to strengthen the unity of their economies and to ensure their harmonious development by reducing the differences existing between the various regions and the backwardness of the less favoured regions,

DESIRING to contribute, by means of a common commercial policy, to the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade,

INTENDING to confirm the solidarity which binds Europe and the overseas countries and desiring to ensure the development of their prosperity, in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

RESOLVED by thus pooling their resources to preserve and strengthen peace and liberty, and calling upon the other peoples of Europe who share their ideal to join in their efforts,

DETERMINED to promote the development of the highest possible level of knowledge for their peoples through a wide access to education and through its continuous updating,
and to this end HAVE DESIGNATED as their Plenipotentiaries:

(List of plenipotentiaries not reproduced)
WHO, having exchanged their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows.

For those interested, there follow 358 Articles, organised into 7 parts, with numerous Titles, Chapters and Sections, 37 Protocols, two Annexes, and with 65 declarations added mostly by the member states who adopted the Treaty of Lisbon on the 13th. December 2007.

It totals 344 pages, about the length of an average novel, and I doubt many outside the legal profession involved in European litigation have read it in full. I do not suggest that you should.

My purpose in reproducing a small part of it here is to demonstrate that:

1. It is written in clear and unambiguous language. You do not have to be a lawyer to get the gist of what it is about

2. Claims by Brexiteers that the UK was hoodwinked into joining an emerging European Union, when all it wanted was to be part of a Common Market are clearly bogus - see "DETERMINED to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe"

3. It is the basis for European law and clearly lays out rights and responsibilities. It is not some nebulous "unwritten constitution" which can be made up by the courts as they go along to suit the powers that be at any given time.

4. It has been formally endorsed by each member state according to their own constitutions - in Ireland's case that required a referendum in 1972 to agree accession to the then EEC.

5. It is possible for the Commission or any member state to propose changes to the Treaties if they deem it necessary, provided they can get the agreement of all the Member States. (How can ordinary people change an unwritten constitution? Is there any formal procedure for doing so? How do you know exactly what's in it?)

6. It provides an agenda for the Commission to work to and be judged against, as well as delimiting its powers and competencies.

7. It provides a basis for resolving disputes between member states that does not involve going to war, waging trade wars, engaging in bellicose rhetoric, or otherwise seeking to undermine the peace and harmony between member states.

8. It does not mean that conflicts of interests between member states won't arise, just that there are peaceful mechanisms for resolving them.

The same can be said for the CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, which came into force in December 2009 along with the Treaty of Lisbon and is concerned more with the rights of individual European citizens. The business end of this document is only 14 pages long, and I very much recommend that you do read it. When I first read it I expected another turgid legal tome, and my breath was taken away with how simple, straightforward, and accessible its language was.
To give you an example, I reproduce its first page below:

Article 1: Human dignity
Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected.
Article 2: Right to life
  1. Everyone has the right to life.
  2. No one shall be condemned to the death penalty or executed.
Article 3: Right to the integrity of the person
  1. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.
  2. In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:  the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by law,  the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons,  the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain,  the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.
Article 4: Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 5: Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
  1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
  2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
  3. Trafficking in human beings is prohibited.
Article 6: Right to liberty and security
Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.
Article 7: Respect for private and family life
Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications.
Article 8: Protection of personal data
  1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.
  2. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the right of access to data which has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified.
  3. Compliance with these rules shall be subject to control by an independent authority.
Article 9: Right to marry and right to found a family
The right to marry and the right to found a family shall be guaranteed in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of these rights.
Article 10: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
  2. The right to conscientious objection is recognised, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of this right.

There are 54 articles in total, and they are worth reading in full. But you get the gist. Of course, the devil is often in the detail, but the point is that any court within the EU has to have regard to the principles contained therein and you can take a legal case against your government or the Commission if you feel that your rights are being infringed.

Now that the UK is no longer in the EU those rights are no longer enforceable in the UK. There is even talk of abrogating the UK's membership of the European Convention on human rights and renouncing the authority of the European Court of Human Rights to adjudicate on alleged breaches.

It should be noted that this latter Treaty and Court have got nothing to do with the EU and are unaffected by Brexit. But parts of the UK establishment appear to believe there should be no checks and balances on the rights of individuals, workers and consumers, unless they deem it necessary.

All of this can be dismissed as dry turgid stuff until it is your rights that are being infringed. You don't know what you've lost until you need it.  Europe has a long history of authoritarian, fascist and communist rule, and so it is important to codify citizen's rights regardless of what their current government might want them to have.

Could I suggest these rights could also become important to unionists if a united Ireland ever comes about? You may not vote for, like, or trust an Irish government, but will always have recourse to an independent European Court if you feel your fundamental rights are being abused.

You do not have that right in Northern Ireland right now. Any lingering role for the European Court is strictly limited to commercial and state aid disputes pertaining to the Single Market under the Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement.

But you knew that. Claims that British sovereignty is being breached by the protocol were always disingenuous. The UK is still signatory to numerous treaties which constrain what actions it can or must take in various areas. Operating customs controls on goods entering the Single Market on behalf of the EU is just one of many.

However, the Protocol is unusual in that Article 18 para. 5 (Page 14) gives the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly the right to decide on a regular basis whether the substantive sections of the Protocol (Articles 5 to 10) should continue to apply to Northern Ireland. This gives the Legislative Assembly power over the operation of an international treaty that would normally be a reserved matter for Westminster. And it gives the EU no say on the matter whatsoever.

This is in stark contrast to Brexit itself, where even a large majority in favour of Remain had no standing with respect to decisions on the precise form of Brexit and its impact on Northern Ireland. I wonder why the DUP is not anxious to allow the Legislative Assembly to exercise this important power?

In any case the Protocol is consistent with the founding principles of the EU, as codified into law by an international treaty which has been agreed, ratified, and endorsed by 27 Member states and the UK government, parliament, and electorate as Boris Johnson's famous "oven ready" deal. Any change must also be endorsed by those 27 member states who have given the Commission no mandate to negotiate any changes.

The EU is nothing if not an amalgam of Treaties, Institutions and laws, and any attempt to break those laws strikes at the very heart of the EU itself. The EU will simply cease to exist if any member state or third party can break those laws with impunity. The Commission has instituted legal proceedings against the UK for failing to implement the Protocol and taken on new powers to institute trade sanctions in the event of the ECJ finding in its favour.

The current impasse is not sustainable and things could escalate very quickly if a resolution is not found and the court issues its ruling. A trade war is in no one's interest but EU member states have made it clear that their paramount concern is the protection of the integrity of the Single Market from any unauthorised or non-compliant goods entering via the Northern Ireland back door.

The UK government's proposals to "sunset" all EU derived laws, product standards and regulations only makes the resolution of this dispute all the more urgent. As UK and EU laws, standards and regulatory agencies diverge, more and more UK products will become ineligible for export into the Single Market and will require checking at customs control points.

The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill currently wending its way through Westminster Parliament which proposes to unilaterally disapply the Northern Ireland Protocol in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement simply could not be more provocative. This is a battle the EU simply cannot afford to lose and it will do whatever it takes to ensure international law is upheld.

The UK government may have hoped to use Northern Ireland as a Trojan Horse to gain favoured access to the Single Market for its own products from "the mainland" but that possibility has long been sealed off. For the EU, preserving the integrity of its laws and Treaties is on a par with resisting Russian aggression on its borders. Losing this battle is simply not an option. Let no one be fooled by honeyed words and warm sentiments. The mood music may have changed, but the score remains the same.

Excellent read so very worthwhile ... thx Frank ☮️

The Dutch conservatives longing for NeXit should refresh their memory of the destruction of WWI and WWII, the League of Nations, peace initiatives by elite women wanting to end wars, but gained the right to vote and to leave the home and make life's decisions independently from their spouse. Human Rights starts at home ...

Dutch government has abused family and children rights, and recently Rutte and his Tory party the VVD have cut funds for mental health, youth care, reception of asylum seekers and refugees. The conservatives are willing to make exceptions for well educated persons from outside the EU ... also called brain-drain from developing nations.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 13th, 2023 at 12:08:43 PM EST
It makes economic sense to import highly educated and trained professionals from abroad:- you get the benefit of their expertise without the cost of developing it. It also contributes to the underdevelopment of third world countries, and even of N. Ireland, which has suffered a brain drain for decades of young people departing for universities in Ireland or Britain and never returning to work in NI. Some have described NI as a giant sink estate in consequence. I couldn't possibly comment.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 13th, 2023 at 12:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would make even more sense if they were not actively destroying their own education system by removing any history or literature from the normal youth cursus. But so many Dutchies and expats have largely enough money to send their kids to international schools who still do care for these subjects that.. it makes no difference, ain't it?
A neighbour of mine who is not an intellectual but is 60+ told me she was shocked to see the abysmal level to which her contemporaries have fallen from watching a popular TV programme,
by Tom2 on Wed Jan 18th, 2023 at 06:31:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so long ago contestants from Belgium took part .. and won quite handily. 😄

Another tv show Groot Dictee [dictation] was on every year for both Dutch and Flemish contestants ... the Dutch were wiped out.

The sliding level of education is a process of at least 30 years ... a new coalition always campaigned for renewal of the middle school  and banned vocational training (politicizing education?).

Today I was in Leiden for a haircut by a famous student barber (in the past freshmen were shaven bald undergoing hazing). In grammar school I rode the bicycle 8 miles to my school at the Rapenburg in Leiden , across from the University Academy building. A few houses from student home of Soldier of Orange during the German occupation.

Minister wants an end to humiliating hazing

The bald young students wore caps to hide their humiliating baldness ... we loved to use small sticks to flip their caps off as we ran by on the Pietersplein ... centrum of Leiden with so many centuries of history. Travel starting point of the Pilgrim Fathers I wrote about ... medicine - Boerhave ... astrology, mathematics, physics and of course Albert Einstein with colleagues.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jan 18th, 2023 at 08:24:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All familiar. You still refuse a walk in Marlot? By the statue removed from the old gemeente? Your time is mine.
by Oosterbeek on Wed Jan 18th, 2023 at 08:43:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have met a number of bloggers from ET in the past and a few American friends from the early years at the Pond ... BooMan Tribune ...

Most amazing was a meetup with an American couple who at the last moment notified me they were African Americans if I didn't mind ... still puzzles me.

From ET Bjinse - Sven Triloqvist and ET Meetup in heart of Amsterdam a long time ago.

In all instances there had been online exchange of views over many months and these persons were not strangers to me.

Personally Marlot is a bit isolated, too close to the Auto Museum, Royal Palace and the US Embassy 😉

We have a Landgoed Oosterbeek nearby behind the former Dutch Defense bunker and Prinses Julianakazerne and the mansion of Seyss-Inquart (renamed Huize Clingendael). Nearby some nice shopping and restaurants in het Benoordenhout. Short distance from het Haagse Bos, launching site of Wernher von Braun's developed V-2 rockets targeting London.

Plenty of recent and ancient history ... fortunately there is no intense hate for the Germans anymore and there is close cooperation within NATO to punish aggressor Russia for its unprovoked attack [war narrative from Stoltenberg and Washington DC think tanks like Atlantic Council ... so much wisdom 🤥]. #stopwarnow #stopnato

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jan 19th, 2023 at 10:58:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am all for organizing a protest in Clingendael. Who knows, maybe the ducks would join.
by Tom2 on Thu Jan 19th, 2023 at 03:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only ducks but geese and elegant swans. A blooming spring with vast shrubs of rhododendrons and in the month of May, the Japanese Garden ...just beautiful ....

I buy my bottles of honey at the farm house ... only trust local bees 🤣

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jan 19th, 2023 at 03:35:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can certainly make it to the Voorschoten old man on saturday or sunday... will let you know (I am afraid the protest might be limited to 2 persons and a few ducks, geese and herons, unless you know other Hagenaars).
by Tom2 on Thu Jan 19th, 2023 at 08:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please post pictures of the protests. I am all for seeing you guys marching in lock step with some ducks, geese and herons, especially if you get carried away by Rutte's storm troopers, like Greta Thunberg from Lutzerath. We need to liven up this place!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 19th, 2023 at 08:44:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
🤣 🤣 amen

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jan 19th, 2023 at 08:56:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is even a shaman woman who manages to get close to the swans and feed them as well as the herons who gather around her when they see her coming with her plastic bag. She would be the one to lead the march.
Your friend does not know that his honey is partly made in Voorschoten!
by Tom2 on Fri Jan 20th, 2023 at 07:17:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Voorschoten a dangerous place ..
someone placed explosives tied to a speed camera near de Zilverfabriek. The daughter of Putin lived nearby in a penthouse. Travel through Voorschoten quite often, was there yesterday.

On market day do visit sometimes for a cup of cappuccino at the wonderful chocolaterie.

Some decades ago family ties ... uncle as headteacher in primary school, author of books one of which was broadcast on radio as an hoorspel. Was club director of SVLV football club ... Andere Tijden 😄

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Jan 19th, 2023 at 08:53:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Netherlands in general and Leiden in particular have been sucking up every neo-Boer pseudo-scholar like Jeff Fynn-Paul from the Anglophone world for some time, but that gravy train may be running dry as these people get more opportunities at home, especially at schools in places like Texas and Florida.
by rifek on Sun Jan 22nd, 2023 at 02:04:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Smart enough to be filed at the United Nations .... In four languages 🇪🇺

Treaties and internationalagreements registered or filed and recorded with the Secretariat of the United Nations

The US on a path to become a Hermit Nation? 😄

The US as leading nation does not do International Law or things like the Geneva Convention.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 13th, 2023 at 12:24:26 PM EST
When I studies International law under Kadar Asmal in the 1970's there was a debate as to whether there was even such a thing as international law. I remember writing an essay arguing that there was and getting a First. The UK may be about to find out...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 13th, 2023 at 12:39:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Coal and Steel Community

In May 1950 French foreign minister Robert Schuman proposed the establishment of a common market for coal and steel for those countries willing to delegate control of these sectors of their economies to an independent authority.

By 1954 the agency had removed nearly all barriers to trade between its members in coal, coke, steel, pig iron, and scrap iron. As a consequence, trade in these commodities rose dramatically in the 1950s. A set of common rules was established to control cartels and to regulate mergers. The central institution, the High Authority, fixed prices and set production limits or quotas and was authorized to impose fines on business firms that infringed treaty rules.

From the 1960s one of the ECSC's main tasks was to supervise its members' reduction of their excess production of coal as that mineral was replaced by petroleum as an industrial fuel. This involved the closing of inefficient or uneconomic coal mines in member countries. Similarly, in the 1970s the ECSC began to supervise the elimination of its members' excess steelmaking capacity when low-cost steel from Japan and other countries put western European steelmakers at a competitive disadvantage.

The Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC) also known by the name Euratom

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 13th, 2023 at 03:09:44 PM EST
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Jan 13th, 2023 at 05:40:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've just re-read my diary "Explaining the EU to Outsiders | by Frank Schnittger - Sept. 29, 2014 " and it seems quiet prescient of what has happened since. It warns of Brexit happening through political miscalculation even though it would not be in the UK's interest if it did happen.

Generally speaking, the EU has responded quite well to the many crises since and is probably in a stronger position than ever before, party due to Brexit, the pandemic and the Ukraine invasion demonstrating the need to stick together if we are not going to be very vulnerable to exogenous threats.

Still have a long way to go though to tackle the cost of living and climate change crises, not to mention Ukraine.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 13th, 2023 at 06:53:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also : Transparency and corruption (couldn't happen in the EU's institutions!!) is going to get a look AT LAST...
nice to see old hobby horses getting a trot.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jan 16th, 2023 at 04:24:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where there is power and money, the presence of dishonesty and corruption is almost a given.

The institutional questions are: are there effective prevention mechanisms to minimise their occurrence
are their audit procedures robust enough to spot irregularities where they occur
when they do occur, is the institutional response to prosecute effectively or to cover-up
the latter, the institution and those who manage it are part of the problem, perhaps even the main part.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 16th, 2023 at 06:53:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
profit motive per capita is dead.
Habeck wants to redefine the prosperity of Germans, 13 as ECB MULLS another interest rate hike
The picture that emerges from the ministry's data is mixed: after many years of upswing [read: trade surplus], Germany is doing well in the past decade, but prosperity is unequally distributed, economic momentum [read: perpetual "growth"] is low, and the goals for the energy transition are still a long way off .

Greens want to anchor sustainable [read: constant] thinking in economic activity

The annual prosperity report of the Greens was already presented during the opposition period and demands that in addition to material prosperity other factors such as [figurative] ecology, the social Situation® and the level of political participation [read: "politicization"] should be taken into account when assessing economic growth. With the assumption of government, Habeck would like to anchor this idea in everyday political life [read: "political participation"]. The problem, however, is that Germany still lacks sufficient data for a comprehensive picture. For years, German economists have lacked suitable data to draw a complete picture.

archived OECD Better Life Index
by Cat on Fri Jan 13th, 2023 at 10:02:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This diary has been cross posted on Slugger O'Toole where it has attracted almost 2,000 readers and 300 comments in the past 12 hours.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 14th, 2023 at 10:39:22 PM EST
In learning mode ... a bit of education ... will read them in the morning 😉

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Jan 15th, 2023 at 03:03:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You started a lively discussion with opinions scattered in many directions. Raked up some history too. An interesting read.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Jan 15th, 2023 at 07:46:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For once there is something EU-related than can be celebrated today at one at the farm (not a honeypot!!)
by Oosterbeek on Sat Jan 21st, 2023 at 06:40:55 AM EST
Making obligatory experimental products, welcome to France

https:/www.breizh-info.com/2022/01/03/177193/tyrannie-sanitaire-marc-gotti-les-300-notre-collectif- tente-retablir-letat-de-droit-interview

by Tom2 on Sat Jan 21st, 2023 at 03:14:24 PM EST
yes, to the
Tyrannie sanitaire. Marc Gotti (Les 300) : « Notre Collectif tente rétablir l'Etat de Droit »
for theory of hierarchy and practical applications

no, to the
coffee klatsch

by Cat on Sat Jan 21st, 2023 at 03:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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