PROPOSALS FOR EUROPEAN UNION REFORM – FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM

These four proposals are being suggested in addition to any other current reform proposals emanating from Prime Minister David Cameron. It is believed they are conformable to right reason and to the general political will of the people of the UK and also, it is hoped, to the people of the wider European nations whose populations make up the membership of the EU as currently constituted. If these four reforms can be accepted in good faith then it is more likely that the people of the UK will be willing to remain in a body which otherwise has come to be seen to be offensive to common sense and the right ordering of society. Given that a major purpose of the creation of the European Union at the end of World War Two was the establishment of a zone of peace which would never again fall prey to continental wide wars (World Wars One and Two), these proposals are intended to remind EU leaders and member states peoples of that original founding purpose and to get the EU back on to its original track, from which it has too far strayed, and instead become a bloated, self-satisfied and over-paid bureaucracy feeding on its own over-centralisation and over-concentration of power, yet seemingly incapable of actually doing any genuine good in world affairs, even on its own doorstep.

1. No EU government bureaucrat or official, up to and including the highest bureaucratic posts in the EU, to be paid more than the lowest paid EU member state Prime Minister. This will mean a major pay cut in the ranks of the EU bureaucracy and an enormous saving. The principle is absolutely right however, that the EU bureaucracy is a body created to support and deliver the will of the combined parliamentary democracies of Europe, headed by their respective Prime Ministers, and not for enforcing a top-down series of policies imposed non-democratically against the will of national governments and peoples. It will send a clear signal to the EU bureaucracy – that it is the servant of the people of Europe and not their master. It will be given a pay cut at the same time as many citizens of European countries are also finding it difficult to make ends meet.

2. The European Union External Action Service will, in its present bloated and overpaid form, simply be reformed. The salaries of all staff will be conformable to the strictures listed above. It will instead be streamlined and instead of opening new EU Embassies in every country around the world (current plans at the costs of billions of Euro’s) it will share premises in foreign states alongside existing EU member embassies, i.e. in USA, the UK Embassy will make available a suite of rooms for the EU; in Switzerland the French embassy will do likewise, in Russia the German Embassy will be made available and so on. Instead the current EU External Action Service will be complemented by the creation of the European Union Mediation Service (EUMS) whose remit will be to prevent and solve conflicts involving neighbouring states to the EU, including states neighbouring the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans. This will be a fully professional service staffed by trained mediators selected by each country and made available for service. It will be free of day-to-day political interference from other organisations within the EU and will have a new autonomous Treaty drawn up which imposes on it the duty to foster peace among all EU neighbouring states. The EU will be obliged to remain strictly neutral in all conflicts breaking out on its borders, and instead of taking sides, to seek a peaceful outcome through mediation in all circumstances.

3. A Duty of Veracity Bill will be brought before the European Parliament and all layers of European Union officialdom and European Union bureaucracy in general, making it a legally required principle for all EU officials, bureaucrats and civil servants to tell the truth, on all matters of official policy and EU practice, both orally and in writing. If it is found that any EU official has lied about any official matter, they will be immediately required to stand down (resign) from office and automatically to forego all pension and other accrued rights or severance pay. The adoption of this principle should speed up and ease all other operational procedures of the EU in its day to day business.

4. A European Council of Spiritual Elders should be created under the auspices of and with the blessings of, the European Union. It should comprise representatives of all faith communities current in Europe, including Christian (Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Gnostic) and indigenous European pagan traditions, such as Druids, Wiccans, and all other indigenous native spiritual traditions (which vary from country to country). Philosophers would also be represented operating within the traditions of European philosophical discourse. More recent immigrant spiritual and religious communities resident in European countries such as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Rastafarians, Jains, Zoroastrians, Bahais, New Religious Movements, Buddhists, Shintoists, Taoists, Confucianists, Native African or American Indian shamans etc. would also sit on the council. All legislation going before the European Union would be reviewed by the Council Of Elders from a spiritual and moral point of view. It would have the function of safeguarding the important principles of freedom of religion and belief throughout the European Union member states, including access to sacred sites, and ancient temples, churches, mosques, synagogues and all other spiritual places of worship, study and prayer. It would ensure that European indigenous pagan holy sites such as Stonehenge, the Acropolis in Athens, the Capitoline Hill in Rome, Avebury in Wiltshire, the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney etc. are free and open for access to pagan religious believers at all times of day and night, administered by reverential practitioners of the appropriate faiths, and that such pilgrims should be treated differently to normal “tourists”. Freedom of religion, and the spiritual dimensions of the European Union project, would be affirmed finally in a new constitutional clause affirming the continuity of current European civilisation with all the previous epochs and layers of European civilisations at their best. Members of the Council would be elected by their respective faith communities, and the Council would function as a de facto House of Lords to the European Parliament. Spiritual Elders would be obliged to hold no party political allegiances or party offices. Elders would be unsalaried but would receive a stipend equivalent to the members of the UK House of Lords. The Duty of Veracity Bill would also apply to all their public actions and statements. They would serve for a 5 year term.

Four policy proposals submitted for consideration by the UK Government, the people of the UK, and the citizens of the EU, on November 11, Armistice Day, 2015 by Dr Thomas Clough Daffern, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, Director of the International institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy, http://www.educationaid.net – Dr Daffern is also Vice president of International Philosophers for Peace and the Prevention of Nuclear Omnicide, Coordinator of Philosophers and Historians for Peace in the UK and Europe, and has served on numerous academic, philosophical and interfaith peace committees, including serving on the European Council of the World Conference on Religions and peace. He studied European History in depth at the University of London, and has a PhD from the same University for a detailed study of the search for peace worldwide from 1945-2001, examining the life and work of philosophers, psychologists, theologians, educators and historians and their attempts to end the cold war and usher in an era of peace in Europe and worldwide. He has published over 30 books, traveled to over 33 countries and spoken at innumerable academic and other philosophical forums for peace worldwide. He serves as Peace officer to the Council of British Druid Orders, is Archdruid of the Druid Peace Order and is a lay Anglican Christian. He is a dual Canadian-British Citizen, currently living in the UK, and is also coordinator of the Commonwealth Interfaith network.

Note: The proposal number 2 above, to create a European Union Mediation Service, was first proposed in writing to the President of the European Union in 2008, then again in 2009, 2010 and every year since then. Copies of this correspondence were shared with the UK Foreign Minister (and Prime Minister) on each occasion. The full text of this proposal has been published and is available at https://ceppr.wordpress.com/policy-proposal/) The idea was also independently suggested to the UK Foreign Minister proposing that the UK should take a lead in proposing the creation of the EUMS. The general response of both the EU and the FCO has been on the whole positive, although finding reasons why the actual infrastructure of an EUMS cannot be set up, for this or that reason, usually budgetary. Proposal number 1 above takes care of that problem. If the EUMS were already in existence, note that the civil wars in Ukraine, in Syria and in Libya would have received fair and impartial mediation from the agency of the EUMS. Instead, the EU has been seen to be meddling and interfering on one side in the Ukraine, and thus lost the appearance of fair neutrality in many people’s eyes, and has been proved to be utterly ineffective in Syria, In addition, in all the correspondences conducted between IIPSGP and the EU and FCO regarding the creation of the EUMS since 2008, it has been stressed that one fundamental and crucial reason for its establishment, and for the guaranteeing of genuine peace on the borders of all European Union member states, is the possibility that devastation civil wars would lead to mass refugee problems and the influx of large numbers of refugees into the EU which EU member states could not necessarily cope with, for both economic and cultural reasons. Instead of importing destabilisation, therefore, the creation of the EUMS would ensure that Europe exports peace. It has been argued all along as an instrument of realpolitik that it is vital for the European Union to become deadly serious about creating the conditions of peace in its neighbouring states, unless it is itself to succumb to gradual deterioration of its own living conditions and civic stability. Unfortunately, with the current mass immigration of both political and economic refugees into Europe, coming into all Southern European countries including Greece, Italy, Spain, Malta, (and ending up in Germany and Northern Europe, which simply cannot cope with this influx in the long term) these predictions have been proved all too true. Yet not a single thing has been done by EU officials to remedy the situation and to set up an EUMS. After some years of trying, the communicative rhetoric of the EU bureaucracy did begin to change, and some progress has been made towards realising that it is in the vital interests of the EU that a mediatory approach to conflict resolution be adopted. See http://eeas.europa.eu/top_stories/2015/070515_preventive-diplomacy-and-mediation_en.htm. In addition, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2012 for adopting some of the rhetoric of mediation and peacemaking, “as if” an EUMS had already been set up. But still, as of November 11 2015, there is no official intergovernmental EUMS in existence, and still the refugees keep coming into Europe, and children and civilians and young men keep dying needlessly in Syria, and Libya. From a UK perspective, what on earth is the point of paying the vast membership fees to the EU (10 billion pounds per annum) if they cannot even set up such an obvious body and instead contribute directly to the destabilisation and mayhem in Ukraine by appearing to take sides and antagonising Russia, and supporting extremist nationalist Ukrainian factions with known fascist leanings ? The UK might be better off setting up such an international mediation service under the auspices of the British Commonwealth, a genuinely international, multicultural and multifaith body comprising 53 countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan etc. and outside the EU, where government by committee all too often seems to mean rule by the lowest common denominator of inaction, procrastination and dithering. The question at stake is whether the EU is capable of change and whether it realises that something drastic has to happen to attract the UK to wish to remain a member of this highly interfering and highly bureaucratic club. More broadly, what is at stake is whether the EU is a genuine inheritor of the European values of the enlightenment, with intellectual freedom, fair play, tolerance, respect for science and authentic spirituality both, as well as religious freedom and access to culture and the arts at the forefront of what it means to be human, as well as political democracy and human rights, and civic fairness and social justice, and above all a respect for peace as a long term value and goal for humanity. If the EU becomes again a project which puts peace, fairness and freedom at the heart of its operating protocols, and which shows its solidarity with the hard pressed citizens of Europe undergoing considerable austerity by cutting its official salaries, then no doubt the people of the UK will indeed be proud to remain a member of such an organisation.

The proposal number 3 above, a Duty of Veracity Bill was proposed for the UK Parliament in 2014 by the author, prior to the general election of 2015, and was circulated to the heads of all political parties in the UK. The thesis underlying this is that ordinary politics as a process of corrupt self advancement needs to come to an end and that political philosophy, which since Machiavelli has argued it is all right to lie to advance one’s political power (and all right for nation states, corporations, political parties, officers of the government, ministers etc. all to lie if it advances their own power base) – has to come to an end. The people of the UK and the people of Europe are fed up with politicians, at whatever level of governance, from local to international, who can be demonstrably be seen to be lying again and again. Until our political leaders and civic bureaucrats have a legal duty to tell the truth on all official matters, then we will never get a peaceful and prosperous society such as was dreamed of at the end of 1945, after the allied victory over Nazi Europe, and out of whose brightest dreams the EU itself was created. Machiavelli was wrong and Jesus and Gandhi were right. To get political maturity in a people, politicians must tell the truth as they know it to be. This proposal makes that a legal requirement to remain in office. Mendacity would be rewarded with the sack, automatically. This measure would at one stroke remove corruption, which is endemic in the European Union bureaucracy, which is why its accounts have not been signed off for many years.