Schuman Declaration: Open letter
Brussels 22.12.2021 David Heilbron Price OPEN LETTER to the European Commission on the Europe’s key Democracy Treaty that Commission Secretariat-General refuses to publish.
“The Commission’s Secretariat General is refusing to follow the Commission’s instructions to publish two key legal documents on European Democracy, a treaty and the full text of the Schuman Declaration. The mealy-mouthed reply contradicts the decision of Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica.
Who is in charge?
“On 19 April at the launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Vice President Šuica and representatives of the European Parliament and Council Presidency agreed to publish the key treaty on European Democracy.
“For decades the Commission has not published this Charter of the Community. Hence the ‘Democratic Deficit’, Brexit and revolt against the Brussels version of the Rule of Law.
I wrote two letters to President Ursula von der Leyen about the need for publication and public discussion.
“Despite the introduction of a Complaint to the European Ombudsman in June, the Commission continues to refuse to publish these documents for public discussion.
“I asked when the legal documents will be published. The Secretariat General replied in curious terms. The treaty called the Charter of the Community by Schuman and others was a mere ‘statement’ and for some unspecified reason should not be published regardless of what the Commission, Parliament and Council had pledged. Same for the full Schuman Declaration.
By what law are statements, declarations and treaties on Europe’s democracy not to be published?
“Who is in charge? The people or a technocracy? Don’t the people have a right to know the contents of treaties on Democracy and even statements? Why have these legal documents been buried for decades?
“Here is my analysis given to Eric Mamer, Commission Spokesman, Vice President Suica, Guy Verhofstadt MEP, and the incoming French Presidency.
Thank you, Eric [Mamer – European Commission Chief Spokesperson], for your quick reply on the question on the Future of Europe Conference and publishing the FULL text of the Schuman Declaration and the Charter of the Community in the Treaty of Paris.
I learned today that the Secretariat General had sent the copy of the letter destined for me to the European Ombudsman! I have since obtained a copy and made a written reply to it to the Ombudsman’s office.
Given the upcoming French presidency, I am surprised that the Commission does not seem willing to re-publish Europe’s founding documents:
– the full text of the Schuman Declaration and
– the Charter of the Community, (Declaration commune) a key part of the Treaty of Paris, 18 April 1951.
The official of the Secretariat General gives her opinion of the two documents, the exordium of the Schuman Declaration (l’exorde as Schuman called it) and the Charter of the Community treaty. She then implies they are not to be published on Commission website anywhere!
This is contrary to common sense and the Commission’s responsibility as Guardian of the Treaties.
“It is also contrary to good administration. For example, the Commission originally published full text of the Schuman Declaration in French on its site. Then it stopped publishing it. Then a number of people complained to the Ombudsman. After the intervention of the Ombudsman, the Commission promised to publish it in all languages. But it didn’t! Not even in French.
“It is contrary to the joint pledge of three EU institutions. The joint pledge to publish them was made by Commission vice president Suica, Guy Verhofstadt MEP and the Council Portuguese Presidency at the launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe, in the press room on 19 April 2021. This French initiative of President Macron was aimed at replying to public concerns about the Democratic Deficit, Brexit and Rule of Law issues. The joint pledge of the three EU institutions was made to inform citizens of the foundational documents of European democracy and how the public and organised civil society should work using these documents.
“The official seems also to have missed the whole point of my request to President von der Leyen. She gives no reason why the Commission should not publish the legal documents about Europe’s democratic foundation. My question was not a Why? but a When?.
“I have therefore written to the European Ombudsman pointing out that the Commission has so far refused to re-publish these foundational documents. It has failed its commitments to the citizens on the Conference on the Future of Europe. It has failed its representative obligations to democracy in general. I will also copy this letter to the Ombudsman.
“I appreciate your help in this matter, Eric [Mamer]. If you can determine when the Commission will in fact publish these documents I would be grateful to know”.
The Schuman Declaration was presented by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950. It proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, whose members would pool coal and steel production.
The ECSC (founding members: France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) was the first of a series of supranational European institutions that would ultimately become today’s “European Union”.