FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Greece: the Confrontation

Between Athens and Berlin, supported by Frankfurt [the European Central Bank], the confrontation is political. But it is not a matter of a conflict between two legitimate entities as numerous Eurocrats want us to believe. It is not some democratic European institutions, rooted in representativeness across half a continent, which attempt to assert their legitimate rights in opposition to the democratic institutions of a small country.

Greece is not a great power but we are presently discovering that it has more force than one would expect from the size of its economy and the extent of its territory.

Recall that, in the European Union, Greece can block any decision that requires unanimity as in the case of new sanctions that could be imposed on the Russian Federation.

Above all, Greece has a legitimate government which rests on a parliamentary majority arising from the free decision of a sovereign people. Opposed to Greece are powers and forces which cannot invoke democratic legitimacy, for reasons that have already been laid out on multiple occasions but which the European institutions and the European Central Bank do not want to acknowledge.

The European Parliament resembles a democratic assembly, the Commission resembles a government, the European Council, which brings together the heads of state and of governments, resembles bodies with executive powers – but they are nothing of the sort.

The European Parliament is not a legislative power given that it cannot initiate laws. It does not represent the European people as the European people do not exist. The [2007] Treaty of Lisbon evokes the ‘citizens of the European Union’ but this citizenship is acquired only within the framework of national states which issue European passports to French citizens, German citizens, Greek citizens, etc.

It is the European Commission that exercises legislative power by drawing up European directives whereas it comprises officials vested with executive power: they are given responsibility to enforce such texts which are not laws, for those officials are not representatives of a sovereign people.

The European Council [previously Council of Ministers] (configured according to appropriate domains of competence) is not a government as it co-produces texts with the Parliament and the Commission and approves the annual budget, while the Parliament is restricted to the right to disapprove of details of the Commission’s decisions.

The European Court of Justice decides arbitrarily on the matters that come before it: it creates European law while bypassing the legislative prerogatives of democratic national representative assemblies. The Court has actually established the principle of the absolute primacy of Community law over national law, national Parliaments having the obligation to integrate the former into the latter. This is worse than a government of judges, given that this Court of Justice does not operate within an institutional framework set by a Constitution. We are confronted by an autocratic body that constitutionalizes its laws and interprets them according to its own pleasure.

In the strict sense, the European Union has no institutions – that would presuppose a Constitutional order – but only instruments which do not respect the principle of the separation of powers, however essential in countries which respect the rule of law.

In any case, this Union cannot be considered a state. It is only a “juridical union founded on international law”, according to the unimpeachable definition given by the German federal Constitutional Court at Karlsruhe. This [fiction] doesn’t prevent the creation of a kind of ‘economic constitution’ – by establishing, for example, budgetary equilibrium as a principle – according to the ideological norms, whereas the so-called ‘European Constitution’ has in fact been rejected by France and the Netherlands.

In short, these are non-democratic bodies – the European Central Bank, the Eurogroup [Commission, Parliament, European Council, Court of Justice] – which attempt to subjugate a democratic government. These bodies can invoke the legality of the treaties but nothing that they impose can be legitimate for they are not the expression of a sovereign power.

Greece is, on the contrary, a sovereign state in which the government must satisfy the legitimizing criteria of popular sovereignty and of national sovereignty. It is this strength that the German government, the European Central Bank and the president of the Eurogroup are attempting to crush by technocratic mechanisms involving financial blackmail pure and simple.

We hope on behalf of the whole of Europe for a victorious resistance of the Greek government and of its people.

Bertrand Renouvin blogs at http://www.bertrand-renouvin.fr. This article was written on 10 February, following Syriza’s victory in the Greek elections on 25 January. It has been translated by Evan Jones.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail