Counter-Propaganda.com

The actual mission of the European Union (1) – destroying democracy

05 05 2005

Lithuania’s experience shows that the EU expands by intimidating the media and buying votes – by destroying democracy. Now democracy is being violated in the whole EU in order to ratify the ‘Constitution for Europe’.

The European Union as a ‘fighter for democracy’

Caring about democracy is quite fashionable among EU officials. They are always unsatisfied with any election in any EU-unfriendly country, and they often demonstrate their indignation when EU/US-sponsored political parties lose their positions.

Et toi, Jacques?
from left to right: Jacques Chirac, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Miguel Angel Moratinos, and Jose Manuel Barroso, 2004

The officials of the European Union like to speak about the so-called ‘democracy deficit’ in the EU. This not only means that they consider elections to be the only appropriate means of formation of the EU institutions, however. They strive for a democratically legitimized EU totally dominating the member states (and for themselves, they seek to dominate the national bureaucracies).

Nonetheless, despite many beautiful words and intentions, the actual EU’s impact on democracy in its member states is devastating. As it often happens these days, the official EU policy of promoting democracy all over the world turns out to be not much more than a pose to divert public attention from what is happening to democracy in the European Union itself.

In order to expand, the European Union has to destroy democracy in its member states

The actual EU impact on democracy can be seen best in the poor countries seeking EU membership or having already attained it. Formally, the EU has established strict political requirements for the applicants. The so-called ‘Copenhagen criteria’ state that a country must be an impeccable democracy even in order to start the accession negotiations. However, the other EU requirements for its new members make the political criteria a mere formality.

While the still prosperous members of the EU are still beginning to ponder the actual repercussions of abolishing their currencies for the sake of the euro, it is already clear that for most countries from Central and Eastern Europe, the very EU membership is generally harmful in economic terms.

All the new members of the EU must adopt virtually all the EU law (acquis communautaire) although, for the most part, the law is designed for the well-off members of the EU, and, therefore, it is inappropriate for the poor ones. While the still prosperous members of the EU are still beginning to ponder the actual repercussions of abolishing their currencies for the sake of the euro, it is already clear that for most countries from Central and Eastern Europe, the very EU membership is generally harmful in economic terms.

Most of EU’s laws are unsuitable for the weak economies of its poorest members, so they could by no means be adopted via a normal democratic political process there. Thus, in order to satisfy the numerous requirements of the EU, most governments of the new member states have to sacrifice the interests of the citizens. Although the governments declare the European integration to be their political priority, in practice they have to sacrifice democracy in order to become ‘good’ members of the EU.

In the spring of 2003, a sacrifice of democracy took place in some Eastern and Central European countries during the referenda on their accession to the EU. In Lithuania, democracy was virtually ruined.

The referendum on Lithuania’s accession to the European Union

The referendum took place on 10th-11th of May 2003. In order to facilitate its chances of success, the Seimas (the parliament of Lithuania) had changed the Referendum law, and it had set an unprecedented two-day voting period. So much of legal and democratic malpractice was related to the referendum that it was even called ‘the funeral of democracy’.

State sponsored campaign for joining the European Union

A special law adopted by the Seimas placed the responsibility for informing the society about the European Union and the expected consequences of the EU membership on the European Committee under the Lithuanian Government. For the task, the committee received about one million euros from the budget – a big sum in Lithuanian terms.

Virtually nothing was said about any expected negative consequences of Lithuania’s accession to the European Union during the official public information campaign.

Virtually nothing was said about any expected negative consequences of Lithuania’s accession to the European Union during the official public information campaign. Moreover, the European Committee took the role of the main coordinator of a well-organized campaign for joining the EU. Eventually, opponents of the EU membership received exactly zero support from the Government. One thousand pounds (!) received from a British citizen was all their financial resources.

Instead of informing the society about all the consequences of joining the EU – that is what the European committee had to carry out in accordance with the special law – it organized a brazen pro-EU propaganda campaign. Instead of providing information about the impact of the EU membership on the lives of Lithuanians, the committee paid for tens of thousands of placards with clearly senseless slogans, such as ‘Let’s be Europeans’ or ‘Lithuania will join Europe’ (Lithuania is located exactly in the centre of Europe).

Monopolized media

For a considerable time span before the referendum, most of the media refused to publish any information unfavourable for the European Union, especially about any negative consequences of the EU membership which Lithuanians were going to face.

Some influential journalists admitted in public that they wanted Lithuania to join the European Union so much that they were ready even for deception and cheating; these methods were widely applied by the media campaigning for ‘Europe’ at that time. Just a couple of days before the referendum, one of the leading Lithuanian dailies, the ‘Lietuvos Rytas’, published clear lies and disinformation about what would have happened if Lithuania had not joined the EU, such as the threat of reintroducing Schengen visas! This was quoted by most radio and TV stations, and many Lithuanians were seriously intimidated by the deceitful propaganda because nobody was permitted to unveil it in the media.

The accession to the European Union for Lithuania has resulted in a media censorship that is similar to its counterpart during the Soviet times.

The actual cause of such ‘unjournalistic’ stand of the Lithuanian journalists was disclosed some weeks before the referendum. A well-known Lithuanian journalist Rūta Grinevičiūtė published an article, in which she disclosed the actual method of how the European Committee had made the media so piously support the EU.

Her daily, the ‘Klaipėda’, was proposed to sign a contract with the European Committee. In accordance with the contract, the newspaper would receive a considerable pecuniary reward for ‘refraining…from publishing any negative information about the European Union or any information that could form negative attitudes of the readers about the European Union or Lithuania’s integration into it’ until the referendum. Besides it, the daily would have to publish ‘articles that would form positive attitudes among the readers towards the European Union and Lithuania’s integration into the European Union’.Rūta Grinevičiūtė ‘Censorship for the sake of this Lithuania’.– the daily ‘Klaipėda’, 14 04 2003. (in Lithuanian)

As the ‘Klaipėda’ had refused the contract, a proposal for censorship in fact, numerous officials of the European Committee threatened Grineviciute. Even its chairman Petras Auštrevičius tried to intimidate the journalist in order to prevent her from making the contract public. Many other people would have given up in her place.

As Grineviciute was told by some bureaucrats in the European Committee, such contracts were ‘normal legal practice’ at that time. It came out later that contracts similar to the one proposed to the ‘Klaipėda’ were signed with all the influential Lithuanian media channels.

Thus, the accession to the EU for Lithuania has resulted in a media censorshipthat is similar to its counterpart during the Soviet times, and, contrary to the media, it does not matter to the people that the censorship is being carried out by pecuniary means now.

Campaigning during the referendum

Any campaigning during the voting time is strictly forbidden by the Lithuanian law. However, this prohibition was utterly ignored during the accession referendum.

The then president of Lithuania Rolandas Paksas, prime minister Algirdas Brazauskas, and many others were shamelessly agitating to vote ‘for Europe’ during the referendum.

In spite of all the Lithuanian law, Lithuania’s Central Electoral Committee had decided in advance that the ban on campaigning during the voting time had not to be applied to campaigning in order to persuade people to participate in the referendum. Thus, during the accession referendum, many popular people were giving public statements of how important the referendum would be for Lithuania; all the main TV and radio stations were broadcasting numerous press releases by the chairman of the Central Electoral Committee.

Some top Lithuanian politicians did not limit themselves to inviting Lithuanians to participate in the referendum. The then president of Lithuania Rolandas Paksas, prime minister Algirdas Brazauskas, and many others were shamelessly agitating to vote ‘for Europe’ during the referendum. Some of their colleagues were more cautious, yet their zealous support for the EU was well known to the people, so their speeches tended to be perceived as nothing but campaigning for the EU.

All the major Lithuanian TV stations were broadcasting blatant pro-EU propaganda during the referendum; some politicians, such as the then mayor of Vilnius Artūras Zuokas, had recorded in advance their speeches calling people to vote ‘for Europe’, and these speeches were broadcast during the referendum…

All this, however, seems insignificant in comparison with buying votes.

Rewarding for voting

In the morning of the second day of the referendum, it became obvious that the voter turnout was not going to reach the required fifty percent of all the eligible voters. Then most Lithuanian TV and radio stations started broadcasting announcements that the biggest Lithuanian supermarket chain was ready to reward everyone who had voted in the referendum with a bottle of beer or a box of washing powder.

The campaign of actually buying votes must have been carefully planned in advance by the people responsible for the organization of the referendum.

Perhaps even the organizers of the venture had hardly expected their campaign to become such a success – according to the media quoting VP Market (the sponsor of the campaign), the campaign cost approximately one million litas – around 300 thousand euros. Thus, about half a million Lithuanians (twenty percent of all the eligible voters) managed to vote just in a couple of hours, so Lithuania eventually joined the European Union!

This campaign could be organized only because everyone who had voted in the referendum was given a special sticker (that could be exchanged for a box of washing powder). It means that the campaign of actually buying votes must have been carefully planned in advance by the people responsible for the organization of the referendum.

Thus, many fundamental democratic institutions had to be sacrificed in order to join the EU. Moreover, Lithuania’s accession to the EU was virtually bought by the above-mentioned supermarket chain.

Long lasting consequences for the democracy in Lithuania

Some people wish to treat all the events related to the referendum as ‘a temporary sacrifice for the sake of Europe’. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Most of the malpractices that ‘were necessary for joining the family of the best European countries’ are already firmly embedded in Lithuania.

Most of the Lithuanian media do not dare even to discuss the rationale of any development in the European Union yet. Not only the journalists who speak in public about any negative impact of the EU on Lithuania can easily be fired, it often happens to those who dare to disclose any information sensitive to the Government.

As the Seimas election of 2004 – the first Seimas election after the accession to the EU – has demonstrated, buying votes is becoming a coherent part of the Lithuanian democratic culture. At the time of the election, even the Lithuanian media broadcast a couple of reports about mass buying of votes during voting by post. Thus, contrary to a considerable decrease of the voter turnout, the number of votes cast by post had nearly tripled, exceeding 20 percent of the total number of votes.

It cannot be ascertained how many votes were actually bought in the autumn of 2004. Lithuanians do not even expect any proper investigation into the subject as the current members of the Seimas are hardly interested in its success. Anyway, the trite phrase ‘What would Europe think of us if all this gained international publicity?’ is enough to prevent any real investigation.

The influence of the EU continues to play an important role in destroying democracy and the rule of law in Lithuania. The ‘Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe’ was ratified by the Seimas in spite of the Lithuanian constitution, which clearly stipulated that a referendum was obligatory for such an important issue.

Is Lithuania an exception?

It is tempting to consider all the recent developments in Lithuania as something extraordinary, predetermined by the heritage of Lithuania’s communist past. This is not the case too. Many of the eight post-communist countries that joined the European Union in 2004 had to resort to special measures similar to those that were taken in Lithuania. The desperate actions of the Slovak government seemed to be no less horrifying.

Anyway, there is at least one feature present in all the current members of the EU. ‘Unifying Europe’ is considered by the vast majority of the politicians and the bureaucrats to be their ‘holy historical mission’. Meanwhile, the citizens are often treated as a semi-conscious crowd that has to be persuaded to follow the decisions of the ‘missionaries of Europe’.

Beautiful senseless words suit well for children and perhaps mentally retarded persons; for people capable of thinking themselves, purely emotional arguments sound offensive.

The very vocabulary of the EU propaganda workers shows that they do not respect the people they are trying to indoctrinate. For example, the President of France Jacques Chirac is beating about the bush, instead of telling the French people the truth about the EU, when he speaks about ‘black sheep’, ‘humanist Europe vs. Anglo-Saxon Europe’, ‘ceasing to exist politically’ and other nonsense; Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen threatens the Danish people that Denmark will have to ‘withdraw from the EU’ if they do not vote for the ‘Constitution for Europe’…

Beautiful senseless words suit well for children and perhaps mentally retarded persons. For people capable of thinking themselves, purely emotional arguments sound offensive. Nonetheless, many top politicians across the whole European Union are doing same things as the Lithuanian leaders were doing in 2003. They are fighting propaganda wars against there own citizens.

Sacrifice yourself!

Many international and national media channels were speculating just before the referendum in Spain, ‘Will the Spanish government succeed in persuading Spaniards to support the “Constitution for Europe“?’ Now they are speculating, ‘Will the governments succeed in persuading their peoples in France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland…’

Many debates on the most important EU-related decisions are out of touch with their actual impact on the lives of ordinary citizens. The prevalent arguments are all about the unification of Europe, progress, ‘the mission’ etc.

When they are campaigning ‘for Europe’, it seems that they ask us to sacrifice our miserable lives for their ‘holy mission’.

It is considered normal that the people of the EU member states are expected to sacrifice their well-being and the welfare of their families for the power and personal well-being of rapidly proliferating EU bureaucrats. Thus, most of what is being told about the European Union seems to be mere propaganda, by means of which the EU bureaucrats and their allies in the national governments are trying to dupe the credulous people.

It appears sometimes that the bureaucrats, just like the specialists in commercial advertising, treat us all as primitive objects for manipulation. When they are campaigning ‘for Europe’, it seems that they ask us to sacrifice our miserable lives for their ‘holy mission’.

continuation

Europe, isn’t it worth it?


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We should often be ashamed of our finest actions if the world understood our motives.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

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©  Giedrius // 2005 - 2017