More than four years ago Anders Bruun Laursen translated an article that had been published a few days previously in Världen idag. The author was critical of the European Union, and highlighted the undemocratic nature of the Lisbon Treaty, which had not yet been ratified at that time.
The translated article became part of a larger Gates of Vienna post on Euro-Med, a.k.a. the Mediterranean Union, which is a topic that has been covered in this space from time to time.
This afternoon we received a brief email from the author stating that we had published our translation without his permission, and demanding that we remove it. I was more than happy to comply, and as soon as I could locate the post in question, I excised the translation from it.
The article did not make as much sense without the translation, so I replaced it with a brief summary of its contents. The author’s criticism of the EU is at least as relevant today as it was four years ago, and the summary is worth reposting here:
The original article, first published at Världen idag on July 6, 2007, is no longer available. Therefore I have summarized its contents below.
Note: This is a précis of the original article, which provides the gist of what was said, but more briefly. It was written entirely in my own words:
The European Union is turning into a closed system, and is moving away from democracy.
Margot Wallström, Sweden’s commissioner in the EU is astonished at the lack of understanding about the EU constitution [now the Lisbon Treaty] and the fact that people see it as the project of “the elite”.
Since the constitution was rejected in previous referenda, the author writes that this time, for the new treaty, there will be no referendum. The leaders of the European Union do not like the opinions of their own people, so the people will not be permitted to have a say in the treaty. The super-state will be constructed without ordinary citizens having a say in it.
The people of Europe will have thus been trapped into losing their freedom.
The new treaty will have a foreign minister, called by another name. It will impose a common defense system, and its courts will supersede national courts. Power will be concentrated in the hands of the highest-ranking officials in the EU, who are virtually unaccountable to any electorate in any member state.
Parliamentarians in Sweden are to be given a verbal account by the EU Commission, but nothing in writing, and there are no legal guidelines for what must be contained in this verbal account.
Thus, the workings of the EU under the new treaty are decided by elite without popular advice or consent. The flow of information is impeded, and there is a lack of openness. This is obviously destructive of democracy.
Without consulting their people, the leaders of the European Union are moving away from democracy and entering a closed system which will be indistinguishable from dictatorship. This is true of Sweden and all other member states of the EU.
The author of the EU-critical article lives in Sweden, so we may assume that his heretical sentiments have put him under a lot of pressure from the elites to recant and repent. It’s possible that the recent public furor surrounding this blog — which was more intense in Norway and Sweden than anywhere else — drew attention to the translated version of his article, the Swedish version of which had already been removed from Världen idag.
He may not realize it, but nothing disappears from the internet completely. Researchers know how to recover missing posts from their cached versions, by using the “wayback machine”, or by consulting other resources that store archival material from the web. This is especially true of Gates of Vienna — over the last twenty-nine days, every post and comment in the entire history of our blog has been archived or screen-capped multiple times, so that there is unfortunately no way that I can obliterate his article entirely.
In fact, my altered version of the post went out over our RSS feed, alerting any sentinel bots that something had changed, and drawing further attention to the article. In this case it might have been better to let sleeping dogs lie.
It must be hell for anyone living in Sweden who publishes an opinion that lies outside the current consensus. Social pressure, public shame, shunning, ostracism, and the bully-boys of the “anti-fascists” await those who dare to step outside the marked boundaries of permissible thought. And all this before the government ever swings into action and files a hets mot folkgrupp charge against the offending freethinker.
I’m glad I live in the USA, where things are not quite that bad.
Update: At the request of the author of the article described above, his name has now been redacted from this post as well as the original one.