Archive for October 15th, 2009

Although it gets scant attention in America, the proposed EU Constitution (somethimes called the Lisbon Treaty) is a significant threat to economic freedom and national sovereignty (in this case, these are related concepts). One of the few heroes in this inter-European battle is the President of the Czech Republic, who is doing everything possible to avoide signing the treaty. This is irritating the pro-centralization, pro-harmonization, pro-bureaucratization apparatchiks, who are afraid that Klaus’ refusal to surrender may destroy their dreams of a socialist superstate governed by Brussels. But rather than engage in honest debate, the political elite is resorting to jaw-dropping dishonesty and (presumably) petty threats. Klaus has been told to surrender of “face the consequences” (what, are they going to shun him at cocktail parties?). But the award for Orwellian deceit goes to the German diplomat who accused Klaus of  “obstructing the democratic process,” when only one out of 27 nations (not Germany, of course) allowed voters to make a decision about the unpopular pact. Indeed, the entire European project is fundamentally anti-democratic as elected governments cede power to a technocratic ruling class in Brussels. The UK-based Times reports:

In faraway Brussels furious diplomats were calling for his impeachment and even his country’s expulsion from the European Union because of his obstinate refusal to sign the Lisbon treaty. Klaus, now the only European leader holding out against ratifying the document, made it clear he did not give a damn. …On Klaus’s return to Prague he dropped a political bombshell. At a press conference in his official residence the Czech leader announced that he would sign the treaty only if his government negotiated an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is incorporated in the treaty. …“I have always considered this treaty a step in the wrong direction,” Klaus said. As he is well aware, the slightest change to the treaty, which was first proposed in 2001, would require all 27 EU member countries to agree. His remarks were greeted with outrage in Europe. German and French diplomats, in talks with their Czech counterparts, explored two ways of removing the Klaus obstacle: impeach him or change the Czech constitution to take away his right of veto. “If the president is obstructing the democratic process and opposing the decision of parliament as well as the will of the people, he is moving beyond the law and will need to face the consequences,” a German diplomat told The Sunday Times. …Opponents of the treaty hope that Klaus will be able to stall ratification until the British general election in May. David Cameron, the Tory leader, has promised a referendum if his party wins and the treaty is still unsigned. Klaus is unlikely to give in without at least some concessions. He is said to want to be seen as the leader who derailed the European project. A comparison is being drawn in Prague with Edvard Benes, the pre-war Czech leader who in 1938 had to flee to Britain after refusing to cede territory to Hitler under the Munich agreement.

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This chart, put together by my Cato colleague Andrew Coulson, is a devastating indictment of the government monopoly education establishment. They’ve received huge amounts of money in recent decades, and dramatically expanded the bureaucracy, but student achievement is stagnant.

Cato Education Chart

January 17, 2014 addendum: Chart has been updated to show May 2013 version.

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