Interview with MEP Gerard Batten (EFD, UK)
An initiative “for the shop-front”
By Gaspard Sebag | Friday 30 March 2012
Not all see the European citizens’ initiative as a positive development. One opponent is British EFD MEP Gerard Batten, whose political career has been oriented toward getting his country out of the EU. He believes the ECI is for “the shop-front” and a waste of time. “It’s to make the EU look democratic but it isn’t going to make any difference” as people’s concerns will not be taken into account in the end, says the British deputy.
What’s your take on the ECI?
It’s a return to medieval serfdom. The peasants are unhappy so we allow them to petition a law from the masters. I don’t want to petition the EU for something. I want to be able to have a vote to change this government so that we can change the law. I don’t want to go grovelling to the EU to ask them to do something.
Does the ECI signal democratic progress?
This is a renunciation of democracy. It’s dressed up as a great democratic thing. It’s not. It’s quite the opposite. You may remember that over a million people have already signed a petition saying they don’t want the European Parliament to meet in Strasbourg, that it’s a colossal waste of time, money and effort. It hasn’t changed anything and it won’t change anything because it’s in the treaty and it isn’t going to change.
It’s for the shop-front. It’s to make the EU look democratic but it isn’t going to make any difference because we don’t live in a representative democracy anymore, we live in a consultative democracy, which means the people who make the laws ask you what you think but if they don’t like it they ignore you anyway. We’ve sacrificed democratic governments for the great Euro-blob, which talks about democracy but isn’t democratic at all. n