ESM – like 1940 says Estonian Supreme Court judge
The Treaty to Establish the European Stability Mechanism, the one that David Cameron vetoed, goes ahead but has faced a serious rebellion in one of the countries where the treaty was subject to scrutiny by a Constitutional Court – Estonia.
Readers of this site will be familiar with events: here and here , that Indrek Teder, the Chancellor of Justice or Constitutional Ombudsman had made an objection to the ESM treaty and called for a Judgment by the Constitutional Court.
The headline news was that the ESM Treaty was approved by the court and that passing in Parliament would be constitutional. But there was a large and powerful dissent.
There are 19 judges of the Supreme Court and nine of them dissented against the ruling. It was not just the numbers of judges who dissented that is shocking but also the strength of their objections and the language used.
Consequently, there is a call for a referendum. At the end of this article are details of how all readers can help.
The ESM Treaty was considered by the Estonian Supreme Court en banc, this is the highest body of the Supreme Court, which is comprised of all 19 justices of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court en banc is convened and chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, (Riigikohus), when the case is of too great importance for the Constitutional sub-court.
The official communiqué on the judgment of the contested article in the ESM Treaty said that it “limits the financial mandate of Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament), the principle of a democratic country with the Rule of Law and infringes upon Estonia’s sovereignty, but the limitations are justified.”
Justified? When is it justified to limit the sovereignty and democracy of a nation’s parliament? How?
“Stability is necessary for the Estonian state to be able to meet its Constitutional obligations, including guaranteeing individuals’ fundamental rights,” the statement went on to say. So there you have it: it is necessary to make a serious breach of the Constitution in order to be able to meet the Constitutional requirements. Is this Kafka or Orwell? No, it’s the EU.
The constitutionality of the ESM was considered by the 19 judges. A total of five dissenting opinions from ten judges were submitted with the ruling. The majority carried because one of these opinions was that the Court should not have considered the Ombudsman’s objections at all.
The nine dissenting judges expressed themselves in very clear and strong terms indeed.
Jüri Ilvest, Tambet Tampuu, Jaak Luik, in their individual statements made straightforward calls for a referendum.
Five Justices, in a joint report, Henn Jõks, Ott Järvesaar, Eerik Kergandberg, Lea Kivi, Ants Kull and Lea Laarma are saying “There are doubts whether the ESM itself is not already such a fundamental change in EU Basic Law which requires permission from the people”.
In his interview to the Baltic Times Daily, Estonia’s Finance Minister, Jürgen Ligi, claimed that debates over European bail-out programs are beyond the public’s grasp as well as beyond the abilities of Riigikogu. And, in case you have heard that level of arrogance from politicians before, he went on:
“Demands that every single person needs to understand everything and that every single person be polled are, in my mind, pornographic.”
In the past independence campaigners have been called “Enemies of the State” (by a Justice Minister) British spies working for Moscow (by a Prime Minister) but being called “pornographic” is new but lower.
In Baltic Times, he explained that popularity is not the objective of international relations as not all national interests can be translated to the level of individuals. Mr Ligi, the ESM is not about international relations, it is about people being taxed without control by their representatives in Parliament. The Euro is not stability, it is vanity.
Constitutional Court Justice Jüri Ilvest in his different opinion in the case said “My position is that The Constitution of the Republic of Estonia Amendment Act (the act that amended the constitution to allow joining the EU) does not give the right to ratify the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM Treaty) without holding a referendum”.
Constitutional Court Justice Tambet Tampuu : “As the case has to do with breaching the Estonian Constitution’s basic principles which are listed in the first chapter of the Estonian Constitution, it means that according to Constitutions § 162 these kind of breaches must be decided by the people as a sovereign”.
So, it looks like David Cameron was entirely right to make his “veto”, which was only a British optout in reality. But it must be noted by our British readers that this whole thing has happened without any influence by nor even mention of David Cameron’s action.
Perhaps the strongest and most chilling objection was made by Constitutional Court Justice Jaak Luik who actually compared what is happening today with events in 1940. It used to be considered outrageous when a NO-campaigner in the accession referendum made such comparisons with the Soviet occupation but now Constitutional Judges says these things in court:
“Because the Estonian Republic law in year 1940 gave to an Estonian President the right to dismiss Estonian Government on basis of special law and also to appoint a new Government it was introduced into the the Estonian Constitution a special sovereign defence clause forbidding giving away the Estonian independence and sovereignty just by norms of competence. .. As the Estonian Constitution § 1 point 2 states: ‘The independence and sovereignty of Estonia are timeless and inalienable’ it means that there is no room for interpretation - the taboo of giving away the sovereignty is absolute for ever and in changing legal space.“
Constitutional Court Justice Jüri Ilvest’s different opinion in Court Case said that ” I can not concur to this theory that in a globalised world all concepts - even sovereignty – are having a new revised meaning; that everybody is “voluntarily” giving away or “pooling” every element of freedom and identity created during thousands of years.
The objecting judges also noted that this whole process had been rushed through not allowing proper time for consideration nor for all process.
It should also be remembered that Estonia commits a higher per capita percentage than any other country. The smaller countries do: Germany 7.45 percent and Italy, 8.05 percent and Estonia 8.52%. Indrek Teder had also questioned that ESM could be imposed by 85% of votes. He said it should be unanimous since the six big countries of the Eurozone controlled 85% and Estonia only 0.186% of votes.
In addition to everything else, ESM requires Estonia (population about 1.3 million) to promise 150 million Euros and promises another 1 billion in loans. With every seventh Estonian being in receipt of food-aid and wanting a say on their future, you have to wonder what kind of pornography Jürgen Ligi watches with his fellow ministers.
Soldier, businessman and democratic campaigner, Mati Väärtnõu, reminds us that Finance Ministers, like Jürgen Ligi, will have immunity from prosecution under the ESM Treaty – it would rather explain Mr Ligi’s contempt for the opinion if the people and the constitution. Mati Väärtnõu also says ”Estonia, Ireland and everyone will be locked into ESM – there will be no legal way out for any of us.”
By John Harrison. This article is from Campaign for an Independent Britain and can be found here.
Last Updated (Friday, 10 August 2012 09:11)