Is the EU Stifling Democracy?

A Member of European Parliament Reveals All

In 2016, The U.K. conducted a referendum, commonly called BREXIT, on whether the British people should leave the European Union (EU) or remain. Britain chose to leave. Why? We were fed up with so many laws being formulated on foreign soil that took away much of Britain’s economic leverage in the world and chipped away at our rights to decide our own future and preserve our distinct culture.

But then a few short years later, Covid struck, hamstringing the British economy. Then our shores became inundated by illegal immigrants crossing the English Channel from France in small boats, inundating social services, and draining the country of resources desperately needed for the U.K.’s own less fortunate. Today, Britain is a shadow of its former self, a cash-strapped society whose institutions are now overrun by wokery and cancel culture. Small wonder, therefore, that many who held out for an optimistic future for Cool Britannia are now wondering if BREXIT was really worth it.

But while the plight of Britain seems bleak, our freedoms are not being eroded quite as fast as those of our EU neighbors. That was the siren song of Christine Anderson, a Member of European Parliament (MEP) for Germany since 2019, in a very revealing interview she conducted with the Big Picture. In an unusually candid exchange, Anderson revealed some alarming developments within the European Parliament that made her question whether it really is, or ever was, a truly democratic institution. Worst still, Anderson questions whether it plays any meaningful role. Before diving into her commentary, let’s briefly look at how the European Parliament operates.

The EU & The European Parliament

The European Parliament is the directly elected legislative body of the European Union, and it plays an important role in shaping EU policies and legislation. However, the question of whether the European Parliament is truly democratic is a complex one, and opinions on the matter can vary.

On the one hand, the European Parliament is elected through a system of proportional representation, which means that each member state is allocated a number of seats in proportion to its population. This ensures that all citizens of the EU have an equal opportunity to vote for their representatives and that the distribution of seats reflects the relative size of each member state.

In addition, the European Parliament has the power to approve or reject proposed legislation and to hold the European Commission accountable for its actions. In theory, this gives the Parliament an important role in the democratic process and ensures that citizens have a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.

However, there are also criticisms of the democratic legitimacy of the European Parliament. Some argue that the EU as a whole suffers from a democratic deficit, as decision-making power is concentrated in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and member state governments who aren’t accountable to citizens. In addition, EU laws are monolithic, forming a kind of “one size fits all” structure that pays no attention to the often highly nuanced requirements of particular regions. The needs of southern Italians, for example, are quite different from those of northern Germans.

Others point out that voter turnout in European Parliament elections has historically been low, which suggests that many citizens do not feel engaged with the EU or do not see the Parliament as a meaningful institution. Additionally, the fact that the Parliament cannot initiate legislation (this power lies with the Commission) means that its role in the legislative process is somewhat limited. So, while the European Parliament has many democratic features, there are also valid concerns about its legitimacy and effectiveness as a democratic institution.

Democracy Delusion

Now Ms. Anderson has weighed in with a highly illuminating account of what the European Parliament is really all about. “It’s not really a parliament at all,” she says. “It isn’t founded on a classical system of rights for example,” like the U.S. Constitution or the British Magna Carta. “They don’t control budgets or hold proper debates, [there is] no proper balanced ‘back and forth’ among opposing factions. Nine times out of ten, the questions you ask never get answered and when you do [get a response], it’s usually to get admonished.”

One of the primary benefits of having a classical bill of rights is that it establishes a framework for protecting individual liberties from government intrusion. A bill of rights can also serve as a basis for legal challenges to laws or government actions that infringe on these rights. Additionally, a bill of rights can help to promote transparency, accountability, and the rule of law by setting clear limits on the government's power. We’ve seen how governments operating within the framework of the EU abused fundamental human rights by punishing the unvaccinated, restricting their movements and excluding them from many normal activities, such as shopping or entering a restaurant. We also have witnessed gross online censorship of free speech by the same governments and their institutions.

Ms. Anderson had even more revealing things to say about whether or not the EU Parliament is truly democratic:

The MEPs get paid for doing effectively nothing. To them democracy is actually a nuisance. It’s a democracy Illusion – a big farce! They can’t be bothered having real debates, it’s just too time consuming. And they do not have your best interests at heart. Look at the way citizens of the EU were treated by their governments during Covid – manhandled like naughty children.

In other words, governments got drunk on power and now they’re pushing for more control over our lives.

Additional Alarm Bells

Anderson revealed some alarming developments that are afoot and likely to be implemented across the Euro Zone in the coming years:

In Bologna, Italy, they are introducing Smart Citizen Wallets in the fall of 2023. It’s essentially the same as the Chinese social credit system. You’ll be rewarded for what the government deems appropriate behavior but if you don’t [do what they want], they can program the same system to punish you. It’s voluntary for now, but things that are voluntary never stay voluntary for long. Just look at what most EU governments are trying to install in cars – a metering system that monitors your speed, gas emissions, and fuel consumption, etc. You’ll get rewarded for good car behaviour but punished if you don’t [behave the way they want you to].

Ms. Anderson also raised the alarm bells on digital ID systems, where all your personal data will be entrusted to the government. This, in her opinion, is yet another slippery slope towards a Chinese-style social credit system which has been badly abused by the Chinese Communist Party. These abuses include:

Surveillance and lack of privacy: The social credit system involves the collection and analysis of vast amounts of personal data, including online activity, financial records, and even facial recognition data. This level of surveillance can be seen as an infringement on individuals' privacy and civil liberties.

Punitive measures: The social credit system includes a scoring system that assigns points to individuals based on their behavior. Those with low scores can face a range of punitive measures, including being denied access to public transportation, employment opportunities, and even education.

Lack of transparency: The algorithms used to calculate social credit scores are not made public, so individuals are unable to know how their behavior is being evaluated or how they can improve their scores.

Political control: The social credit system is closely linked to the Chinese Communist Party and its ideology. Some fear that the system could be used to suppress dissent and control the population, as those who express views that are deemed unfavorable to the government could see their scores lowered.

Discrimination: The social credit system has been criticized for potentially exacerbating existing inequalities and discrimination in Chinese society, as those who are already marginalized or disadvantaged may be more likely to receive low scores and face punitive measures.

On the upside, Ms. Anderson also gave mention to tensions arising in eastern countries within the EU that have pushed back hard on so-called progressive agendas such as the normalization of LGBTQ ideology in our educational institutions. For example, in Hungary the ruling government outlawed the teaching of LGBT content to children under 18 in the summer of 2021, much to the chagrin of the EU parliament.

At Bay for Now?

Anderson’s comments on digital ID are especially prescient as a recent UK poll showed as much as 50 percent of people are onboard with Sir Tony Blair’s push to introduce digital ID cards. Blair, an avowed globalist, believes it’s necessary to give up many personal freedoms for the sake of some new world order. I vehemently disagree. It’s just more Big Brother Watching, more control over little old you and me. And it will certainly become a slippery slope towards a social credit system where citizens can be punished or have their freedoms curtailed for not towing the line, as it were.

Thankfully, the U.K. Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, “There are no plans to introduce digital ID. Our position on physical ID remains unchanged.”

Yes, maybe. ... For now.

is that author of eight books on amateur and professional astronomy. His latest book is Choosing & Using Binoculars, a Guide for Stargazers, Birders and Outdoor Enthusiasts (Springer Publishing, 2023).

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