Post-Democracy In Europe

I've blogged many times about Czech President Vaclav Klaus and how I admire his tough stands on freedom, democracy and global warming hysteria in an increasingly unfriendly atmosphere in Europe. Much to the chagrin of the political elites in the continent, Klaus is now going to assume the presidency of the European Union. Recently he met with members of the Conference of the Presidents of the European Parliament and it wasn't pretty. Brussels Journal has an excerpt. You may not understand everything they're talking about, but read the whole thing closely and see just what you come away with.

Klaus makes a very poignant statement:

President Vaclav Klaus: Thank you for this experience which I gained from this meeting. I did not think anything like this is possible and have not experienced anything like this for the past 19 years. I thought it was a matter of the past that we live in democracy, but it is post-democracy, really, which rules the EU.


You mentioned the European values. The most important value is freedom an democracy. The citizens of the EU member states are concerned about freedom and democracy, above all. But democracy and freedom are loosing ground in the EU today. It is necessary to strive for them and fight for them.


I would like to emphasize, above all, what most citizens of the Czech Republic feel, that for us the EU membership has no alternative. It was me who submitted the EU application in the year 1996 and who signed the Accession treaty in 2003. But the arrangements within the EU have many alternatives. To take one of them as sacrosanct, untouchable, about which it is not possible to doubt or criticize it, is against the very nature of Europe.


As for the Lisbon Treaty, I would like to mention that it is not ratified in Germany either. The Constitutional Treaty, which was basically the same as the Lisbon Treaty, was refused in referendums in other two countries. If Mr. Crowley speaks of an insult to the Irish people, then I must say that the biggest insult to the Irish people is not to accept the result of the Irish referendum. In Ireland I met somebody who represents a majority in his country. You, Mr. Crowley, represent a view which is in minority in Ireland. That is a tangible result of the referendum.


A couple points here. I like the definition that Europe is now a "post-democracy." It rings true. It was the great Vaclav Havel who coined the term "post-totalitarian" for China as the communists country moved toward capitalism while still controlling peoples' lives in general. Europe, which is mostly democratic, has been moving in the other direction for the last decade.

Incredibly, this parliamentarian Brian Crowley is upset that Klaus wants to follow the will of the Irish people which voted against the Lisbon Treaty. He's then accused of "telling us what the Irish think." Only Crowley, as an Irishman, knows what they think even though they voted against it. Klaus responds he's just looking at the data.

It all has a slight Kafkaesque tinge. It's like Klaus is Josef K.