ir. Since the approval of the bipartisan EU exit referendum by the Interior Ministry on 7 January 2015, many people have woken up and now want – thankfully – to contribute disseminating the arguments for the withdrawal from the EU and the recovery of a free, independent and neutral Austria.
For five years, our small team has struggled to get the groundbreaking referendum officially registered. At the first start the nearly ten thousand municipal official or notarial signatures were rejected by the Ministry and the Constitutional Court. The second attempt, (we had to collect some ten thousand new municipal official or notarial certified signatures, making a total of twenty thousand), succeeded. The referendum as the most powerful instrument of direct democracy, which the Austrians – still – have at their disposal, had to be accepted by the responsible Minister of the Interior, i.e. a member of the Government. By decree of the Ministry the public registration week for the nationwide referendum has been set on 24 June to 1 July, i.e., from Wednesday until (incl.) Wednesday. For eight successive days Saturday and Sunday, all Austrians can officially sign at their appropriate local authority or municipal council and thereby vote for the withdrawal from the EU. Many citizens of other states do not have laws that allow a referendum. For example, our German neighbors have no referendums at a federal level!
Just about all the promises that were given before joining the EU 20 years ago, which then resulted in the majority “yes to EU membership”, were broken. Instead of recovery, there has been a huge downturn in Austria on almost all fields: from the rising unemployment, rising government debt, the loss of purchasing power of the masses, the rising crime to the increasing “farm deaths” and the massive deterioration of the environment. Many believe that the EU decision-making levels are controlled by large corporations such as atomic, genetic engineering and pharmaceutical companies and international retail chains, which give no chance to a more small-and-medium enterprise, less crisis prone and environment-friendly oriented economy.
In addition, peace is threatened severely by political actions of EU member states. The EU violates international law more and more frequently which governs the self-determination of peoples as the basis for freedom and peace. Austria’s participation in the economic sanctions against Russia is inconsistent with the statutory permanent neutrality of Austria. We want again a free and neutral Austria and no “colony” of Brussels or Washington, and we certainly do not want to be involved in foreign policy conflicts which clearly do not concern us and are a severe threat to peace. Resist the beginnings; otherwise it might be too late!
The secret negotiations on the Transcontinental Free Trade associations TTIP and CETA that have been driven forward for years now by EU and USA/Canada, can be pre-empted for Austria safely by the withdrawal from the EU. The same is true for Austria’s annual net membership contribution to the EU for 20 years (!). Of these sums, amounting to billions of Euros each year, Austria gets only a small portion back, which is called “funding” in a propagandistic sense. Austria may not even decide on how to use the funds itself – funds that are a return out of their already paid contributions(!).
Under the bottom line this has been an annual loss-making business for Austria for 20 years which has been causing social cuts and a general cutback of government services to the citizens.
There is no mentioning of any payment obligation in case of withdrawing from the EU treaty. On the contrary, Austria would not only save the annual net payments for the membership, but also all the payments for the so-called “Euro-bailouts.” The multi-billion deposit obligations of Austria in the ESM would disappear, as well as the horrendous warranty for the EFSF. Austria could re-introduce its own currency, the Schilling, and follow a monetary policy that primarily backs the interests of the Austrian economy.
The National Council has every right to decide on Austria’s withdrawal from the EU! Even more so because such a decision is subject to a mandatory referendum so that in the final say is with the citizens – EU supporters and EU opponents, all alike. The purpose of this referendum is therefore a deeply democratic one, which no one should bypass.
Summing up, the withdrawal from the European Union intends to shelter the Austrian people from further harm. By many of our citizens the EU is perceived as a crippling, centralistic instrument of paternalism with ever increasing signs of dictatorship, which does not seem fit for the future. Smaller independent states offer much better chances of an ecologically friendly, sustainable economy and way of life, which will give future generations “breathing space” – in the broadest sense!
Source: Wegwarte, Volume 25, Issue 2, April 2015, Announcement of the Initiative Heimat & Umwelt (abridged)
Initiative Heimat & Umwelt, 3424 Zeiselmauer, Hagengasse 5, Tel. 02242/70 516 firstname.lastname@example.org
The withdrawal from the European Union is legally secured in a separate article of the EU Treaty.
Art. 50 TEU.
Para. 1: Each Member State may decide, in accordance with its constitutional requirements, to withdraw from the Union.
Para. 2: A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. Based on the guidelines of the European Council, the Union shall negotiate with that State an agreement on the details of the exit and conclude the agreement, the framework for the future relationship to the Union being taken into account. The agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218 para. 3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It is concluded by the Council on behalf of the Union; the Council shall act by a qualified majority, after approval by the European Parliament.
Para. 3: The contracts will no longer apply to the State in question from the effective date of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council decides unanimously. In consultation with the concerned Member State to extend this period.
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