Barrington's Tour: Stop 2
((([[[OOC: The Groot-Belgi? visit is still ongoing in the thread, but that meeting took place before this visit]]])))
COMMISSIONER BARRINGTON'S TOUR: STOP 2
The Althanian Dominion
Aecae, 3-5-2014 - After his visit to Groot-Belgi?, Sir Augustus Barrington, Commissioner for Defence and Peacekeeping, was invited by the newest member of the European Union: The Althanian Dominion. He knew little of this new nation, apart from the fact that it is a polytheist theocracy, which he found very interesting. The persons he was going to meet today were the highest authority in Altha (the shorter name for the nation): the supreme head of state and government, the Anitax; and the Council of Elders, which is made up of one religious priest or scholar for each major god (of which are 24) and one of the state's various districts. Barrington had never visited a theocracy, and, not a religious person himself, he wondered how a state could be organised according to religious values. He was about to find out.
His plane landed on the Aecae International Air Transit Hub, and was greeted by a welcoming committee, including Anitax Aureliana IV, the supreme leader of The Althanian Dominion. Barrington bowed to her, just as he had bowed to the Emperor of Groot-Belgi?. This did not mean he felt he was a subject of the ruler, but he simply did so out of sheer respect for the ruler's authority and culture.
"Thank you for having me. Please, lead the way", he said as the group went inside.
"Hello commissioner, it is in my absolute pleasure to welcome you to out fair nation, please follow me," started Aureliana, placing her right hand over her heart and bowing in the traditional Althan way of respect and greetings, she started toward the vehicle assigned to them, "The Council of Elders is greatly excited towards meeting you, unfortunately for them I get to you first, haha" she continued as she chuckled softly.
Soon they reached the vehicle, security was all around the Classical inspired airport, stone white pillar were scattered about but very noticeable. In the distance one could see the Europolis plane being taxied to a hanger. As they reached the pure white car, the group saw various bystanders outside waving. They were not excited for seeing a rare foreigner, but rather for the Aureliana herself. She was only excited only a few months past as Anitax and at an extremely young age of 24, she was elected on the promise of hope(Her patron goddess after all was responsible for it), and peace for the future.
"Excuse me commissioner, public meetings with the Anitax are few and far in the days after Ascension to becoming Anitax due to various rituals one must complete. I will be back shortly." Aureliana told the commissioner, she hurried after to the crowds, and greeted various people from young to old, poor to rich, she gave them all blessings of the gods ad promised good times ahead. She hugged, shook hands, kissed foreheads more times than one can count, gave reassurances, and promises she would try beyond the best of her ability to keep. Thirty minutes into talking to the people as a real leader should, security stepped in and escorted her away for her own good. Aureliana had a rebellious streak tending to step out of line to help people.
As she entered the vehicle where the Commissioner was waiting she apologized, "I am very very sorry Commissioner Barrington for making you wait,". She nodded to the driver who began to drive and was shortly lead by and followed by various security details.
"Now where should we begin?" she asked while smiling.
"I can see your affection to your populace, Your Majesty. Is that the title I should use?
This is the first visit of any European authority to your fine nation. Why don't you tell me something about The Althanian Dominion, and tell me what you think your country could possibly achieve within the European Union?"
Aureliana smirked for a moment, and responded,
"Well first thing is first, I am not a monarch, I am a religious figure within the dominion and within Althanian Polytheism or as well call it Althanism for short. You can call me simply Anitax, or Aureliana. I personally prefer the latter, as well its the name I chose for myself the day I ascended to this position between the gods and mortality.
To answer the second part of your question, the Althanian Dominion has existed for well over 3,000 years, well Georgian years that is, in Althanian Years it is more closely associated with 500 years. It is a constitutional theocracy to those of the outside world, but to us it is the gods' nation and home here on Earth or Aterra in our religion. Democracy isn't seen as a needed element in our society, only those who have merit to have devoted their time to studying the gods and the various laws they created for us, and the ones we created for ourselves. The only identity we see is really which god you worship, but we still still each other as brothers and sisters, and together as a people in life and death.
Ok now the third part of your question, what do we expect out joining the European Union is a chance to do our religious duty to spread peace, equality, love to all....and well maybe to increase economic power just a tad bit more."
"Very well, Aureliana. Your nation is a particularly interesting one, if I may say so. We only have one theocracy in the European Union, Inquista, and so I am very curious as to how your nation will thrive inside the Union. I assume you have already read about our international co-operation and know all about it by now, but this is not mutual, as not many EU-citizens know about your beautiful country. I would like to ask you some questions, particularly in the field of Defence and Peacekeeping.
First of all, I'd much appreciate it if you told me something about your military. I don't even know whether you have an army or not!"
"Oh that is a very simple answer, Commissioner Barrington, since a sign from the God of War and Peace Arus seventy some odd years ago with a dove appearing in the nest of one of the hawks of Dekrus alive and unharmed we have not had a true military.
Instead our Naval, Special and Land forces have been more used as emergency police, border patrol, and used for some research used for peace. In short they are peacekeeping, not war mongering....the last war the Dominion was in was roughly 1456 of your years ago." Aureliana responded once again with a smile, she looked out the window and watched the passing scerny of city scape and various people not knowing who was in this pure white car...surely the media by this point would have pointed it out but as it stood no one cared or knew. Aureliana then saw a sign say it was only another 15 minutes to the destination.
"We will be arriving shortly, I suggest we hurry our conversations as the council is sure to have its own" Aureliana added.
"Very well, I will go through the questions quickly. We can already skip one: seen to the fact that Altha has no real military, I do not expect your nation to be in the posession of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. If you are, I would have you tell me. You see, we in the European Union have banned chemical and biological weaponry, and have strict regulations as to who is allowed to own nuclear arms. But of course you have already delved deep into the files and dossiers, and know all about the ENAA". Barrington smiled and took a look at some papers he had brought with him in a briefcase. "Now then: what do you think your wonderful nation and its government can contribute to Defence and Peacekeeping matters in the European Union? I am talking, for example, about contributing to the arming of the ERF. Which reminds me, I should publish a review about the matter. Also I would like to know whether your people would be willing to contribute manpower to the European Relief Force."
Aureliana smiled very greatly, this is just the sort of thing she wished to acchomplish for her people and the world,
" Medical supplies, peacekeepers from our military, aid in monetary form. Really we will be able to provide most things you require. My people believe in peace and helping all those they can, so me and my people would be more than willing to contribute to the ERF.
I'm afraid we only have time for one last question Commissioner Barrington before we arrive at the Elder City, oh by the way you are giving a speech to the Council, sorry about dropping that last minute....."
"That is very gracious of you! I will be contemplating an ERF review when I've finished my visits to some more countries, or, if no one wants, me, I'll review the force after my trip to here!", Barrington grinned, "Anyways. I would be much obliged if you could tell me what the Council is, what it does and what I should talk about in the speech. I'm no stranger to a sudden oration (unfortunately, I have had to defend myself in the European Council unexpectedly on many occasions!) but I do like to know what I will be speaking about. I suppose I have to give an introduction as to what the European Union is all about, and explain my position in the European leadership?"
"The council is the advisory body to balance out the Anitax, it has a democratic element in one half of the religious scholars being elected by the twenty-four historical city states, the other half are appointed by myself to represent each of the gods and their morals in the mortal world. Any of these men and women will be removed by me if I deem it so, and if all of them agree it must have I shall be removed from my nations history, my very existence will be forgotten as punishment as betraying my people in the placing of their trust in me.
The council debates as a whole, it never forms committees choosing rather as a group to handle issues, it proposals laws and such but I must be the one to approve them. It serves as the highest court and often members of the government are from the Council, the courts decisions can be appealed to me if they deem a possible interpretation of Althanian Polytheistic Law or as scholars called it Athi Law is needed.
Now, the council just wishes to see a general speech by you on your impression on Altha, they want to know how the EU works, they want reassurances national sovereignty won't be removed, " Aureliana stated, the driver then told Barrington and Aureliana that they had arrived.
"Showtime I guess"
Nervous, but anxious, Barrington took to the stand, recieving a quiet applause from the council. He supposed not many of them knew who he was, what he had come to do, and why he had come to speak before them today. Thoughts like these ran through his head as he took a sip of water and waited for the council to give him the silence to begin. He wanted to look down to his paper, but he realised there wasn't one. Nonetheless, he began:
"To begin with, I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming here to listen to me today. I know not many, if none, of you know me, and that I just seem like a boring old politician with nothing new to say. I am here today on behalf of the Union your nation has joined recently. The European Union is a co-operation of great diversity: we have various religious beliefs, different cultures and above all: we field a variety of different opinions. In the European Council, some are in favour of a region-wide ban on capital punishment, others despise this idea due to national sovereignity issues. Some support climate legislation, others don't. Yet we all share the same basic mentality: we want the best for our peoples, our nations, and our values.
How do we achieve this, I hear you ask. Well, we have a central European capital, called Europolis, where legislation is made and treaties are signed. Each nation has one representative, who serves as delegate to the European Union and councillor in the European Council. I have served as a councillor myself, until I got elected to the Commission. Most likely, I will return to the council when my term is done. This brings us to the European Commission. This is the branch in the EU that is elected by the council. There are five commission offices: the Premiership, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Economics, and Defence and Peacekeeping. The last office is mine for now. I am tasked with securing the peace in our union.
You might be concerned as to what national sovereignity is concerned when confronted with international legislation. As a matter of fact, this is why the Inimician councillor, Ralph Jaevons, along with a majority of the Council, voted against a region-wide ban on capital punishment. We found the ban concerned national issues, and would not help international co-operation. I can assure you, you will always have my aid when it comes to national sovereignity. I have fought long and hard for it, and still am today.
Your councillor has been delegated to the UEC, the Union of European Conservatives, I have heard. If you want to retain national sovereignity, this is indeed the best choice. I think I can call myself a senior member of the UEC, since I have been one of its most important faces the last months. The UEC is the largest europarty, while the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for a Green Europe, a neo-liberal progressive europarty, is the smallest. Then there are the European Classical Liberals, a strong centre-right party, mainly represented by the delegates from the Duxburian Union and the Confederacy of Gun-Toting Animals. The councillor for Northern Caesarea is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Democrats, a social-democratic Europarty that has lost most of its influence. We also have two extreme parties, that have been inactive for a long time: the Socialist Worker's Party (communists) and the European National Party (fascists). These no longer play any role in European Politics.
I hope to have enlightened you a great deal in this short speech. I am open to any questions you might have."
Barrington thanked his audience. He waited on the central spot in the council from where he had just delivered his speech for the questions that would undoubtedly rise from the council.
Elder Nikodemos Melanthios, rose from his seat of the risen semi-circle, and began his own questioning,
"Commissioner, you stated that your responsibility is to keep the peace in the union, I look towards the situation to the south in Dromund Kaas, as a great example of the European's failure to keep peace. How can we in Altha expect you to help us, when you have already let a nation slip into a war for three years straight, and nothing has really come up about it in official documents in the comission or the council since its beginning. Only false promises in campaigns have been stated. So please enlighten this great body how the European Union could possibly help us in a timely manner without failing like the past." Melanthios than sat back down, staring down at the Commissioner who had his face flushed, Melanthios smiled he was a eurosceptic and opposed the entrance of Altha to the union he wanted to milk the most out of this opportunity.
Sir Augustus Barrington listened with intent to this man, who called himself Melanthios. He was a Eurosceptic, just like Barrington had been in a distant past. It was a good question, so he knew a good answer was necesarry.
"A very wise question, Mr. Melanthios. Inimicus was not a member of the EU (at least not an acclimatised one) when the Dromund Kaas war broke out. Being a neighbour of Dromund Kaas, however, we experienced the war face-to-face. I cannot recall who the commissioner for Defence and Peacekeeping was at the time, but I'm sure they did everything they could to prevent the war. I deem a scenario like Dromund Kaas highly unlikely, now that all of us have seen what it does. This question reminds me that I have to start urging the combatant nations to sign a peace treaty as soon as possible, thank you for that.
Especially a nation like your Dominion, which, as I've been informed, does not have a real military force, I can assure with a large degree of certainty that you will never be involved in a hideous conflict such as the Dromund Kaas war. Also, since the war broke out, the European Union has raised a so-called European Relief Force, a military force capable of dealing not only with combat situations, but also with disasters, be it man-made or natural ones."
Murmurs occurred throughout council, some felt like the question was dodged, others just unhappy with the response in general, soon another council member rose, it was the oldest one at 105 years of age, the great Hyginus Agathon.
"Our people have been shunned throughout history due to our beliefs, attacked even. What is to say the European Union won't treat us differently as well, what is to say the European Council takes its time with sending aid in an disaster, how can we be assured beyond any doubt that won't happen. How can you prove to us history will not repeat itself."
Barrington, with his sixty-five years, was in awe of the man who had just asked him a question. Augustus would never have thought someone was able to work in politics at such a high age.
"A good and simple question, which can be answered very simply as well: because it's proven.
Everyone in the European Union is equal. My nation, Inimicus, was worried about this issue before we joined the EU, too, but after a rough start (which was caused by national, not international issues) we have become an influential member of the Union. Also, I would like to say about your security that the ERF has been deployed in the Carribbean, when a hurricane passed there, with astounding success. Whenever your nation may be struck by a (natural) disaster, the ERF will be there for you. No concerns needed on this point."
Next rose a young woman, one of the few in the council itself. It was the twin sister of the Anitax herself, Priscilla Kassandra.
"I am of the younger few of the council, as well as a newer one in general. My question reflects the questions of youths across our nation. How can cultures be taught about, and respected in the EU, or in short form, how can cultures be exchanged with a good eye watching over them."