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Location: Virginia, United States

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Is the European Union in the Interests of the United States? – June 28th – Heritage Foundation


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The Heritage Foundation continues to impress me with its special events calendar. Today I attended an all-day presentation on the European Union. The event was fascinating. I’d never been in a room with so many European politicians. There was a representative from Portugal, several from England, and one gentleman who walked out before I could discern his ethnicity. The event actually served – at least initially - as a hostile battleground for these foreign politicians to debate the EU.

The first speaker was Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon. He made it very clear that he is not in favor of the EU and its constitution as they are. He feels overall that the institution is vehemently anti-American. The same views were expressed by all the speakers and panels that attended. Though the people at Heritage are strongly opposed to the EU and showed a clear bias in their choice of speakers, I don’t find that disturbing. In addition to providing me with a great deal of factual information, the day’s speakers thoroughly convinced me that their position is correct. Thus, I don’t think it was particularly necessary to have anyone representing the opposing viewpoint. Supporters of the EU were in the audience – very briefly – and were able to ask some very direct questions. Within the first half-hour several members of the European Parliament attempted to change the format from lecture to debate. I thought their manner was unnecessarily rude and disruptive. In any case, I felt the panel did a fine job of answering the MEP questions. In the end, their arguments made the EU supporters look pretty silly. However, the EU fans do deserve credit for sticking it out in an unfriendly environment for as long as they did.

After Sen. Smith spoke, the first panel took the stage. This panel gave a basic introduction to the EU and what it’s about. They believe it is intrinsically undemocratic, and its purpose it to undermine the US. Currently 80% of British legislation is decided by the EU, and, thus far, no EU legislation has been overturned by Parliament. Daniel Hannon made an especially impressive speech. By the end of the day I had built up great respect for Mr. Hannon, and I sincerely believe he is the greatest rhetorician I’ve ever seen in person. His presentation skill was phenomenal.

The second panel focused on the EU as it relates to US defense interests. Speakers argued that the EU is a threat to Anglo-American cooperation. Intelligence sharing, as well as strategic military cooperation with the British friends, is seriously compromised by giving the EU control over British treaties. Likewise, NATO is threatened, and there is a very real danger that European uniformity will mean no allies for the US. Finally, terrorism expert Youssef Bodansky argued that the EU can afford to update its intelligence system only by close cooperation with China.
The impact of the EU on the US economy was discussed by the next panel. Frankly, this was extremely boring, so I won’t spend much time on it. I was able to gather that the EU has enacted a plethora of regulations which hurt businesses. Otherwise, the economic jargon had the effect of soft music after a hearty meal. This session was the one sour spot in an intellectually stimulating day.

Panel four exposed a number of scandals that have occurred within the EU. Thus far, no one has been fired for participation in known scams. However, two people have lost their jobs for exposing scams. Ultimately, it was argued that the EU is a corrupting system. It has become a racket.

The day ended with a bang, as Judge Robert Bork headed a panel on the EU and American law. In the words of Judge Bork, “We now have a court that is divorced from the Constitution.” He specifically mentioned the fact that US courts have recently begun citing foreign precedents! This asinine practice is destroying the sovereignty of our own constitution and must cease immediately. Our legal system is based on the Constitution. Our courts must interpret the Constitution as it’s written and not according to some evolving standard.

After the event, I was privileged to shake hands with Judge Bork and thank him for his work in defense of the Constitution. It was truly one of the highlights of the day, and of my internship. To conclude, I simply say thank you to France and Holland.

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