Steen has posted a Danish translation from the Swedish of an editorial in the Swedish daily Världen idag [The World Today]. He wrote me and said that he thought a translation into English was warranted, and the doughty Kepiblanc was drafted for the task. Here’s the result:
EU-Constitution adopted in Sweden without Swedes taking part
by Björn von der Esch, Monday September 17
The new EU Constitution was debated in Stockholm with participation of Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and foreign EU experts. Everything was conducted in English and, in the absence of expertise in English EU-legalese, one shouldn’t have attended. No written translation, and no translators were present. Could one possibly display greater arrogance towards the citizens?
The audience repeatedly raised the same question: “Why not ask the Swedish people about their opinion concerning the EU Constitution by holding a referendum? “ After all, it’s all about a constitution overriding the Swedish one. Apart from the usual reply — namely that the populace doesn’t fathom such matters and accordingly tend to cast their ballots erroneously — the Swedish minister’s motivation was even more scary, especially since she holds a university degree in political science.
In fact, her motivation against a referendum was given as follows: referenda are not a Swedish tradition. And she gave an example: The current Swedish constitution was adopted in 1974 without a referendum.
Well, that may be right, but the adoption nevertheless took place while observing the conditions stated in the constitution, namely that changing the constitution must be preceded by two successive ballots in two different parliamentary sessions separated by a general election.
What the government and the parliament now are about to do is to not give a damn about Swedish constitutional law. They argue that the Law Council finds such a referendum superfluous. But they don’t mention this council’s reason for doing so: there is a precedent. On several occasions the parliament ignored the constitution when transferring executive power to EU, which means that the Swedish Constitution is already de facto invalid in EU matters.
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When some political entity doesn’t obey its own constitution but ignores it without asking or informing the electorate it’s usually called a coup d’état. In Swedish EU politics there is a cordial alliance between the parties presently in power and the Social Democrats. Together they have the absolute majority in parliament and want to avoid a referendum at any cost , nor do they even want the constitutional proceeding take place. This agreement has facilitated an EU policy akin to a one-party state! Rigged elections without EU-critical candidates and a muted EU debate are some examples.
This October the government intends to ratify the final EU Constitution arguing that the common flag and a common EU anthem has been dropped from the otherwise unchanged constitution. Instead Sweden will be blessed with a sovereign “EU President” and an “EU Minister for Foreign Affairs” and no longer be able to reject laws unpopular with the Swedish electorate.
The irony of this is that Sweden was actually one of of the oldest democracies in the World and now — over a very short span of time — has evolved into a state where fundamental, democratic rights have disappeared, because nobody in his wildest dreams imagined the possibility!
— Björn von der Esch, former MP and Constitutional Councillor