Regrettably, it’s no news anymore when fresh reports surface that prove again how non-institutional democratic initiatives in the European Union are stiffled by those in power in the corridors of the European institutions.
Intimidation? Smear campaign? Corruption? Dishonesty?
Many journalists in Brussels simply do not seem to bother anymore.
Today, Libertas, the new pan-European political party created by Irish ‘No-to-the-Lisbon-Treaty’-campaigner and businessman Declan Ganley, has begun to experience the full brunt of those defending vested interests in Brussels.
Libertas on Monday was given the official status of European political party, which entitles it to an immediate amount of about 200,000 euro in funding from a 10-mln euro budget in the European parliament. The biggest European party, the European People’s Party, gets more than 3 million euro out of this budget. To qualify, any party has to hand in signatures from at least seven different EU nationalities of members of the European parliament, or a national or regional parliament in the EU. Libertas did so a few months ago.
But surprise, surprise…. Less than 24 hours after the official status was granted, the parliament announced it had frozen the funds because first one, and now two, of the signatories said they did not sign. It’s the second time that Declan Ganley’s initiative is being badmouthed by people in the European parliament.
Igor Grazin of Estonia has signed, according to these photographs, back in October.
And as if Grazin’s withdrawal is not enough, Bulgarian MP Mintcho Hristov Kuminev late on Monday claimed not to have signed Libertas’s application to become a European political party. “This is untrue,” Libertas said in a press release headlined “More intimidation of Libertas signatories.”
“It might be a coincidence or it might be a concerted effort to intimidate or otherwise influence those who expressly support the advancement of democracy,” says Libertas. “We deplore the corrupt,dishonest and anti-democratic forces that are pushing them to renounce their support.”
Here is the Libertas press release on Igor Grazin:
LIBERTAS PUBLISHES PROOF OF GRAZIN SIGNATURE
Libertas is today publishing photos showing the documents signed by Igor Grazin supporting the application of Libertas for EU Parliamentary recognition. The photos, attached with this release, clearly show photocopies of Mr. Grazin’s Estonian Parliamentary Members pass, his Passport, and documents with his signature attached.
Libertas is releasing these photos to end the disgraceful allegations that the organisation somehow acted improperly with respect to Mr. Grazin.
Libertas is also issuing statements (below) this morning by Mr. Ganley, Libertas Chef de Cabinet Robin Matthews, and Former Europol deputy head Kevin O’Connell.
These documents prove that any suggestion that Libertas cheated, or misled the parliament is an absolute Lie. As a consequence, Libertas fully expects the Parliament to withdraw its partisan investigation.
STATEMENT BY ROBIN MATTHEWS:
“During October 2008, Igor Grazin signed the required papers to support Libertas’s application to the European Parliament for EU-wide political status. He supplied Libertas with an original copy of his signature, and a copy of his passport.
Yesterday, Mr. Grazin is reported to have issued an affidavit, which neither Libertas nor I have seen, declaring that these events never took place. Mr. Grazin has subsequently refused to comment.
I can only speculate as to the kind of pressure exerted on Mr. Grazin to make the declaration that he has apparently made. I know him to be an honourable man who shares Libertas’s vision of a democratic, transparent, and totally accountable European Union.”
STATEMENT BY DECLAN GANLEY
“The Liberal group in the Parliament have apparently, over the past 48 hours, engaged in the most reprehensible bullying and dishonesty.
They appear to have misled in order to embarrass and discredit an honourable man, and in order to subvert the very processes that are in place to protect the people of Europe and their democratic representatives.
Because they have by all accounts engaged in this behaviour, Libertas has no option but to publish photos of Mr. Grazin’s signature, and a photocopy of his passport.
We have engaged with this process in good faith. It is beyond disgusting that there are elements in the European Parliament, elected to serve the people of Europe, who seem more interested in using filthy and underhanded political smears to damage those who question them than they are in furthering democracy.
It is particularly telling that Graham Watson MEP, leader of the Liberals, would welcome Libertas with one hand, and yet people in his grouping apparently try to destroy the good name of one of our signatories with the other. Mr. Watson and his acolyte, Mr. Duff, should resign their positions immediately following this smear.
Libertas will respond to this by taking out adverts in the constituencies of Mr. Watson and Mr. Duff, letting the people who elected them know the manner in which they do business.
Because of this incident, a good public servant’s name has been dragged through the mud, and his career damaged. In all my years in the business world, I have never seen something so disgusting”.
STATEMENT BY KEVIN O’CONNELL
“For an individual to come under the amount of pressure apparently exerted on Mr. Grazin over the 72 hours or so since his name became public is deeply troubling. Mr. Grazin took his decision in good faith, and has now been subjected to a witch hunt by the Liberal leader and his acolytes. The destruction of this good man’s name by a partisan grouping within the EU parliament does not bear the hallmark of a civilized democracy.
Rather, these are the tactics of a manipulative, possibly corrupt, enterprise. In my many years of public service to the people of Europe, I have never been more convinced of the need for a total change of leadership within the European Union”.
Images have been uploaded to Flickr – http://flickr.com/photos/libertaseu/sets/72157613320920511/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MORE INTIMIDATION OF LIBERTAS SIGNATORIES
Mr. Mintcho Hristov Kuminev, a Member of the Bulgarian Parliament, has claimed not to have signed Libertas’s application to become a European political party. This is untrue.
Mr. Kuminev has consciously and kindly signed this document at the request of Libertas. The document, together with the required copy of Mr. Kuminev’s passport and his member’s pass for the Bulgarian parliament, is in our possession and we invite any interested party to view it.
It might be a coincidence or it might be a concerted effort to intimidate or otherwise influence those who expressly support the advancement of democracy, that this is the second Libertas signatory who feels they must now distance themselves from their actions. We appreciate that they both gave us their initial support. We deplore the corrupt,dishonest and anti-democratic forces that are pushing them to renounce their support.
We are mildly amused that the other Libertas signatories have not been persuaded to suffer from amnesia.
Libertas will provide over and above the required number of signatures in spite of – and partially as a result of – this blatantly anti-democratic campaign to undermine the first truly pan-European party. We will succeed in our campaign of democracy, accountability and transparency. Voters across the 27 Member States should draw the
clear message that these anti-democratic elites do not so much fear Libertas as fear the will of 500 million Europeans.
Libertas looks forward to being being a catalyst for change – change that is sorely needed in a corrupt and unaccountable system. The people of Europe have had enough. Libertas will find tooth and nail to defend democracy for those who support us and for those who do not.