Authority versus Power

by Nicole Duprat, France*

I have greatly appreciated the article on Brexit by the young political scientist Nicola Ferronato (Current Concerns No. 26 of 20 November 2018). He clearly explained to us the real problems involved in Brexit and pointed out the essential point – the democratic deficit in the EU.
In fact, the self-proclaimed transnational elite of Brussels officials, moving in the murky waters of economic and geostrategic interests, all too often distorts analyses and realities. As Benjamin Franklin said: „Everyone needs common sense, few have it, and everyone thinks they own it.“
Let‘s not lose sight of the fact that the terms authority and power belong in two different registers. The power of the Brussels bureaucrats must not make us forget that, despite the swindles with the Lisbon Treaty in France1, the authority of a referendum is decisive when democracy and national sovereignty are concerned.
In the countries it is therefore a matter of waking up each individual human being – or of staying awake regarding those who prick up their ears – so that the gross untruths that flow towards us every day undermining our dignity and preventing us from acting correctly are recognised. Congratulations to all countries that oppose this!
Bureaucratism suffocates freedom and participation – a democratic deficit leaves behind the bitter taste of illegality and fraud.
But let us remain confident, life is beautiful! Europe is not equal to the EU. Every unsatisfactory situation also contains the seeds of creativity. Faced with dysfunctions and dictatorship in the EU, we should promote thinking, innovation, peace and solidarity in working for a better world and put into practice what our conscience tells us to do.    •

1    On 29 May 2005, in a national referendum, France rejected the „Constitutional Treaty for Europe“ presented by the EU with 55% of the votes. Two days later, the same thing happened in the Netherlands. In 2007, the EU submitted a slightly amended new version to the member states under the name „Lisbon Treaty“. In 2008, the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, with the support of Parliament, amended the Constitution in order to be able to enforce this EU Treaty three days later - without a referendum.

*    Nicole Duprat is a teacher and graduate of the “Institut d‘Etudes politiques” of Aix-en-Provence (specialising in law and international relations). She lives near Avignon.

(Translation Current Concerns)