Countless political actors are hypocrites, saying one thing in public but acting in an underhand way and doing quite the opposite behind the public’s back. This duplicity can be legitimate and skilful in conflict situations where political actors defend clearly defined interests or principles. It becomes intolerable when these actors do not simply change their posturing but also their fundamental values.

Thirty years has seen the European Union (the “EU”) change from a predictable institution to a bureaucracy that defends interests that are both fluctuating and obscure. For three years, it has been constantly wiping the floor with the ideals that it claims to champion. Let’s look at the following five examples:

1. In 2005, the French and the Dutch voted against the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. Then EU stopped the referenda scheduled to take place in Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. After that, in 2007, the EU made some purely formal amendment to that Treaty and had it adopted by the European Council [1] under the name, “The Lisbon Treaty”.

In Ireland, however, the constitution required that a referendum was organized. The People spoke in rejection of the Treaty. The European Commission declared that the text had not been properly understood and managed to get the Irish to hold a second referendum in 2008 on the same text, without any modification being made to it. This time the people approved.

2. In 2014, an Eastern European country was the victim of a coup d’etat which brought some self-confessed Nazis to power. Several regions of this country rose up to restore constitutional legitimacy. One of these regions organized a referendum to determine whether to break away from the state where power was centralized and to become part of another state which was organized on federal lines as a democracy, and which it had once formed part of.

The EU chose to support the coup d’etat and the new government, the Nazis included. However, it denounced the character of the referendum which it considers to be anti-constitutional. Furthermore, the EU took measures of economic retaliation against the State which had accepted to integrate this “rebel” region.

By doing so, the EU publicly supported those who were Nazis and proud of this fact; it relied on a legality that the coup d’État had abrogated, had put this legality before the legitimacy of the new rulers, and declared an economic war on a state that did not agree with it.

3. Three months later, in June 2014, the EU banned a presidential ballot from being held in the consulates of a foreign country. This act of the EU constitutes a flagrant breach of the Vienna Convention.

The EU, considered that the likely winner of this election should not preside over this country and therefore refused in advance to recognize the vote. However the elections went ahead in that country and all its consulates in countries situated outside the Union.

When the results had been announced, all foreign ambassadors in this country —including those from the EU member states — gave an assurance that this election took place in a way that was both loyal and sincere. But the EU stuck to its position and refused to recognize it.

4. Three years later, in September 2017, a clan that exercises power without an electoral mandate over a region in the Middle East and over neighbouring oil fields that it occupies illegally, unilaterally organizes a referendum for independence. But first it expels those inhabiting the areas that it had conquered.

The EU considered that the instability of this part of the world made it impossible to hold a presidential election yet possible to hold a referendum for independence. It declared that this referendum was legitimate but the moment not quite ripe.

5. Some days later, in the heart of the Union itself, a regional government unilaterally organized an independence referendum so that it would not have to share with the rest of the country, the wealth that it enjoys.

The EU, which generously subsidized associations striving for independence, has not wished to deliver a statement on this referendum. For the EU, this referendum— in contrast to Justice in Poland and Hungary— is a question falling within the internal affairs of a member state.

And when this state’s government used of force in violation of its constitution to prevent this referendum being held (also anti-constitutional), the EU did not react to this conduct, tantamount to a forced occupation.

Leaving aside our personal feelings vis-a-vis the French, the Dutch, the Irish, the Ukrainians in Crimea, the Syrians, the Kurdish Iraqi and the Catalonians in Spain, the EU has made no attempt to know and respect the choice of its citizens. It no longer evidences substantive logic.

Anoosha Boralessa