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The Beginning of the End of Sovereignty
read in Macedonian


After Greece “shocked”  the world on October 31 by calling for a referendum on the bailout package the EU had crafted with them on October 27, the headline on CNN news on November 1 was “Greek Vote Casts Shadow on Debt Deal.”  The first sentence in the story continued:  “Greece shocked European leaders by calling for a national referendum on its debt bailout. If Greece rejects the deal, it could rattle the global financial system.” 

A Wall Street Journal article was more to the point: “The European Commission was rendered speechless last night, unable to react to George Papandreou’s dramatic choice to have Greece’s people vote on the country’s future in the euro zone. Referendums are anathema in Brussels, where scripted summits and handed-down directives are more the style than popular votes and their messy democratic outcomes. The Greek Prime Minister’s sudden lurch toward more democracy also seems to have caught most of the rest of Europe unawares. It was, in the tempered words of Rainer Bruederle, a senior German lawmaker, ‘a strange thing to do.’” 

What?  Let the people vote and have a voice?  I’m shocked.  Shocked I tell you. 

It’s no secret that as the world becomes more globalized countries will have to give up more of their freedom and sovereignty, if only in the name of saving the “global financial system” or “national security.”  What this means in practice is that voters will increasingly have to give up their right to representative democracy – their right to vote – and allow their leaders or – worse yet – unelected, unaccountable leaders in faraway places like Brussels – to make decisions for them.  This is the beginning of the end of sovereignty.  Even though it has been going on for a long time. 

Sally McNamara, senior policy analyst of European affairs at The Heritage Foundation’s Thatcher Center for Freedom, wrote an excellent article about Greece and the whole idea of allowing the people to vote for Fox News on November 3 writing that French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel “summoned Prime Minister George Papandreou to explain himself for having ‘outrageously’ announced that he would let the Greek people vote on their continued membership of the Eurozone and, more specifically, whether they’re prepared to accept greater austerity as the price for continued financial support. Only in Brussels could the thought of consulting the populace be more controversial than deliberately rigging your economic data to get into the Euro in the first place.” 

Macedonia is well acquainted with the idea of unelected European (and sometimes American) bureaucrats swooping in to Macedonia and telling Macedonians what to do.  We all remember Denis MacShane from the UK. This is the same Denis MacShane who, on October 27, 2004, came to Macedonia and told Macedonians not to vote in the November 7 referendum.  Stooping to new lows and arrogant highs, he took off his wrist watch and turned the hands back telling voters that they did not want to “turn the clock back” by voting.  He then went to Kosovo and told the voters there that they must vote in local elections.  (Granted the fact that he was born Denis Matyjaszek but changed his name to MacShane might have something to do with it – if you’re willing to change your name you’re willing to change or do just about anything.) 


Turing again to McNamara, she writes “it is easy to see why the EU wants to avoid referenda at all costs. When EU leaders (including Sarkozy) have gone to their populations in the past and asked them to approve of further EU integration, they’ve been repeatedly told ‘No!’ But time and again, referenda across Europe have been brushed aside—even in contravention of EU law—and peoples have been told to vote again and again until they get the right answer.  -- Such is the breathless arrogance of the European Union that an official once told me, ‘Sometimes you have to subvert democracy to get more democracy!’” 

If we ever get to the point where the name issue goes before the voters in a referendum in Macedonia, the unelected, faceless and unaccountable leaders in Brussels will again swoop in to Macedonia and tell the voters that voting is really not such a good idea and that they must stay home or vote no and be responsible Europeans.  Of course they will tell you this while referring to “your country” and “your people” without ever uttering the word “Macedonia” or “Macedonians.” And that should tell you all you need to know.

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Jason Miko
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