Irish businessman Declan Ganley declares that he is proud to be a European. But, as he said in an important speech in France September 21, Ganley – founder of the Libertas organization sees European cooperation through a much different lens than the European elites who have tried unsuccessfully to create a European super-state under the banner of the European Union.
Ganley said, “When will Brussels have pride and trust in the citizens of Europe? Because until they have trust in the citizens of Europe, logically those citizens cannot have trust in them.”
Ganley’s Libertas describes itself as a “new European movement dedicated to campaigning for greater democratic accountability and transparency in the institutions of the EU.”
Libertas wants to preserve Europe’s tradition of “individual liberty and free markets”—as well as national sovereignty, which is slowly being eroded as more power is transferred to Brussels.
“To be empowered as an individual, one must have a voice, to have a voice one must have a vote,” Ganley said. “It is our fundamental right as Europeans to individually, not just collectively, but individually to choose our futures and our leaders.”
Thanks largely to the Libertas campaign, the Irish voted against the Lisbon Treaty, a revised version of the EU constitution that was rejected by France and the Netherlands in 2005. According to Ganley, the Lisbon Treaty is part of an effort “to categorically reject once again the voice of a sovereign people raised against the antidemocratic draft of the European constitution.”
During its campaign in Ireland, Libertas offered eight reasons why voters should reject the Lisbon Treaty. For starters, the treaty would “enshrine EU law as superior to Irish law.” Furthermore, it would transfer decision-making power to the EU in more than 60 areas, including “immigration, sport, culture, transport and the appointment of the European President and Foreign Minister.”
After his success in Ireland, Ganley now hopes to spread the Libertas movement to other European countries. He met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy last month to discuss the Lisbon Treaty’s implications for France.
“According to its own rules, the European Union cannot now ratify this rehashed Constitution. This, a Constitution already rejected at the ballot box by your own countrymen and women and those of the Netherlands just three short years ago,” Ganley said. “The elites willfully ignored the democratic will of the peoples of France and the Netherlands and now they are doing the same to Ireland. Those elites conspired to change only those elements of the Constitution which would again trigger referendums in member states.”
“Is this really how Brussels proposes to redress the democratic deficit at the heart of the European project?” he asked.
Predictably, Ganley and Libertas have come under attack from EU officials and from pro-Lisbon politicians in Ireland. Libertas has even been investigated for possible ties to the U.S. military, a charge Ganley called “utterly outrageous.”
The Irish Independent reported that EU leaders are “worried about the prospect of Libertas spreading to other European countries…The so-called ‘Conference of Presidents’ (leaders of the main political groupings in the EU parliament) met last week to discuss Libertas in the light of unproven allegations about US connections in the Irish Lisbon Treaty referendum.”
The Conference of Presidents asked the U.S. Congress for help in investigating Ganley, a request that has so far not been obliged. One leader of the Irish Liberal Party, Graham Watson, justified the request by pointing out that Congress was helpful in tracking down funding for the terrorist Irish Republican Army.
However, the Irish Times called this comparison absurd.
“Ganley has not threatened to blow up the Strasbourg parliament [as the IRA did],” said reporter Jamie Smyth. “It seems that Libertas’s plan to launch anti-Lisbon candidates across Europe for next June’s European elections has spooked pro-European leaders into making a pre-emptive strike.”
Ganley thinks he knows the real motive behind the witch hunts.
“Those elites decided that they know what’s best for all of us, and that we do not need to be consulted any further,” he said in France. “The quiet men of Brussels seek to crush the final free voice of a people who were the only citizens of Europe to have their voices heard.”
As he asked the crowd, “Exactly how stupid do they think we the people of Europe are?”
Ganley and Libertas are as important for America as they are for the future of Europe. Our next president will have to revive NATO, engage in cooperation with Europe on the economy, the war and so many more issues.
Who can doubt that a Europe united under Libertas’ banner will be a better ally?