THE PREMIER PRESENTS HIMSELF
Premier Hezterblatz's first visit to Inimicus
The Imperial Palace in twilight
"His plane approaches, Your Majesty".
Artabanos was shaken up from a state of semi-sleep: he had been waiting on the Premier's plane for the last two hours due to a slight delay, the Inimician summer storms had not been gentle on the Premier's executive jet. The plane should have arrived at 1 PM, but the clock was approaching 3 when a dot appeared on the horizon and Artabanos was notified of the Premier's arrival.
The Telum Imperial Aerodrome is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, with over 92 million passengers in 2013. Inimician heads-of-state have been recieving foreign visitors since the aerodrome's opening in 1923, and Emperor Artabanos was no exception. This was his first time, though, and he hadn't slept well because of it. He had tried to reinvigorate himself with three double espessos from the Aerodrome's VIP lounge bar, but he had fallen asleep whilst reading a prototype chapter of the Complete History of Inimicus either way. When he woke up half an hour later, his espresso was cold and moments later, a security officer came to notify him that the Premier's plane was approaching.
The Premier arrived at the airport straighten his suit checked his coiffure and walked down to step to greet the waiting party. 'Your majesty on behalf of the European Commission I thank you for agreeing to meet with me, I eager to see how we can improve the relationship between national government and the European institutions to ensure we can preserve sovereignty and keep in equal measure legislation to improve regional trade and living standards. I am an open book with open ears and ready to hear any opinion you may have' he then bowed at the Emperor.
'Oh, there's no need for that, Mr Hezterblatz", Artabanos said as the Premier bowed to him, "I don't want a man of your stature bowing to me, haha! Both you and me were given the democratic mandate by the people to lead, after all. Anyway, shall we?"
The two leaders, accompanied by security staff, made their way to a motorcade waiting outside the aerodrome. "Don't worry, it's only a small ride to the Palace.", Artabanos said to Mr Hezterblatz.
They were discussing the delay the Premier had suffered when the car came to a stop in front of the Imperial Palace, where all foreign guests of stature are hosted.
Artabanos recognised the Premier as a "straight-to-the-point" sort of man, so he forgot the introductions to the Palace and the small tour, and led the Premier directly to the meeting room, where warm drinks had already been served.
"So, Mr Hezterblatz, welcome to Inimicus. I would like to congratulate you on your election to the office of Premier, first of all. Let's get straight down to business, shall we?"
'Your Highness thank you for such a warm welcome to your glorious nation, a country we are honoured to be part of our strong union. I want to know how I can help facilitate a dialogue that is open and transparent between the European institutions in Europolis and your government. We both recognise the value of such openness in our respective democracies. How can I ensure your government feels a central part of the European dialogue is what I am asking'
"Well, Commissioner, it is a very important issue you are adressing here. Especially in the beginning of Inimicus's membership to the EU, our nation had oftentimes found itself isolated and treated with a fair amount of unfriendliness. This was, however, mostly due to our own policies and actions, such as the Telum Incident and the destruction of evidence on it, Nicholas Benfield's climate change denial in the European Council, and the environentalist terror ravaging the country.
Over the past year and a half, though, Inimicus has become a well integrated part of the Union. We fired the Minister and the officials responsible for the Telum incident and allowed international observers and technicians to contemplate and destroy Inimicus's chemical weapons stocks; Benfield was replaced by Sir Barrington and, later, Ralph Jaevons; our government has effectively dealt with the terrorists and Inimicus has become a stable nation once again. We have now delivered a Commissioner, a Presient of the UEC and an ECoJ justice.
However, we have recently had to cope withtwo near-war encounters, and fight one overseas conflict. Because of this, we have distantiated ourselves from the warring nations: Inquista, Red Croatia, Groot-Belgi?, and above all, Rimroth. Our senior officials no longer dare set foot inside Rimroth, and have even asked me to issue an Imperial Decree banning such a move. I have, although reluctantly, accepted. We will definitely have to work on this.
As for the question how you can ensure the Inimician government feels a central part of the European dialogue: I think we already do. Admittedly, we are not the most influential member of the EU, nor have we ever aspired to become so. But we have been given the opportunities to integrate and assimilate, and we have taken them, with result. True, there are things that need work, but I think time will certainly help to erase past grievances. What do you think?"
'Thank you for such an articulate summary of how Inimicus described its relationship with the EU. Fro my perspective I think our community is incredibly diverse and we will have disagreements but peace in our time is surely a goal and conflicts are something we need to work to counteract. What could we do to make it so Inimicus are not felt like they have to engage in conflicts?
You also speak of not wanting extensive influence in the region, I would like to see Inimicus contribute and be at the table with regional discussions to be part of the family that has a voice because I want your voice to be heard to and don't want you to ever feel like other nations have precedence. How can I bring you to the table more?'
'You must have misinterpreted my words, Commissioner. Of course Inimicus wants to have a voice in European politics, and I"m happy more and more nations have accepted our state as an integrated part of the European Union. How can you bring us to the table more? It depends about which table you're talking. Inimicus has had a key role in applying international pressure in these recent times of crisis, and we are proud to have worked together with other EU members in doing so. We would love to work with you and other members in the renewed Universal Declaration of Human Rights Committee, as well as the European Court of Justice.
As for the recent conflicts: Inimicus's history has taught our people an art of order and discipline. Our forefathers were attacked twice in the first fifty years of their settling in these lands. We have waged three civil wars and countless international conflicts to preserve our nation and the regional peace, and we always feel inclined to attempt to stop injustice or violation of human rights. That is why we opposed the Inquistan occupation of the Western Sahara, and do not recognise the puppet that is the Sahwari Union. That is also why we helped to apply strong international pressure on the late Emperor Jules, and immediately attempted to rescue me from the clutches of Rimrothian terrorists. I handed over Inimician authority to my Ministers during the Groot-Belgi? crisis, but I was not exactly pleased with the outcome of my decision. Should we come into a situation like this again during my reign, I will give everything to avoid a military confrontation, probably more than my (sometimes warmongering) Ministers might!'
'As you know both the UDoHR and the ECOJ are easy to access the first by submitting to Count Jelesniak your councillors intentions and the second through election. It would be wonderful to see your Councillor working with Commissioner Callaghan on legislation to maintain peace in our region perhaps moves against weapons or certain actions made by aggressive states.
It is good to hear that avoiding conflict has become a national policy but is there a move we can make to move towards more piece perhaps any facilitation we can offer? monitoring services, dialogue services, assisting with trade agreements and the like?'
"I'm very grateful for the help you are offering, Premier Hezterblatz", Artabanos replied after taking a sip of coffee, "But I think Inimicus is very capable of negotiating by itself. The European Union definitely is the basis of Inimician trade and business industry, and of international relations and summits. But I would not know how the European Commission could assist in these, except, perhaps, encouragement for warring parties to sit at the table together. I think this is what Sir Augustus Barrington attempted to do, but (and don't tell him I said this, hehe!) I don't think he succeeded very well. I know I'm supposed to support him in all he did, but I don't, frankly.
So what do you expect of Inimicus in the near future? What would you like to see us doing?
'In terms of what Inimicus can do for the union it is simple. To strive to maintain peace at all costs to seek diplomacy as options, to ensure the passage of democracy in your nation and to follow the given laws. We also need to see a progression towards open democracy and demonstrations of willingness to work with Europe'
"As I've already told you, I will strive to keep Inimicus out of conflict as much as possible in the future. You are right, we were wrong to engage in conflict in the Groot-Belgi? crisis, and Commissioner Barrington was not justified in acting as he did. I would not have done so, but I left it to my ministers and Barrington's judgement to decide. I will take these matters in my own hands in the near future.
That brings us to the second point you raised: a progression towards open democracy and demonstrations of willingness to work with Europe. I do not hope this implies that Inimicus is not an open democracy. It may seem as though the system of government we have in Inimicus is undemocratic, because we do have an absolute monarchy, but this is not the case. Let me take you back to the early fifteenth century, when a ruthless monarch sat on the throne I sit on currently. He went by the name of Tarquinius Superbus, and was "King of Telum", as the office was called in those days. He suffered a horrible defeat against a tribe to the north, and consequently, the country's nobles lost faith in his reign. They wanted to force Superbus to abdicate, but he hid in his castle with some hostages and, while the nobles besieged it, hanged a citizen from its walls every day. This did not fare well with the commoners, who now aided the nobles in bringing the King down. In late 1402, Tarquinius was overcome and executed in early 1403. Afterwards, a bicameral parliament was established and the First Kingless Age began. After two years, the Inimicians, as the people were now called (after the Latin word for enemy: Inimicus; they were "enemies of the state" for the king), started electing their Kings in 1405, because they felt Parliament was too weak to lead their nation. This was the birth of the Inimician system of government, lasting four hundred years, until the Kings were overthrown and a presidential system was installed.
This history tells us that Inimician monarchs have to act with their people in the back of their mind, and that they will always be accountable to Parliament. This makes the Inimician absolute monarchy a sort of absolute-light, if you'd like! Also, because our Emperors are elected directly by the people, they are not put in the office undemocratically.
If you desire, I could also tell you about the abolishment of the Green Party, last year, which I consider a black page in Inimician parliamentary tradition. But I think ?'ve bothered you with anecdotes enough, or am I mistaken?"
'My apologies your highness I meant no insolent tone but rather a declaration of what we expect from everyone not just Inimicus in particular and I feel that the willingness to progress by your nation is nothing short of admirable. I will admit as an ALDGE affiliate we were troubled about the abolition of the Greens'
"So am I, Premier", Artabanos said a tad sadly, "So am I... That is why I have previously stated I would like to see a renewed Green Party. The old one was indeed involved in terrorist organisations, and no doubt a threat to national security. But abolishing it was never a good decision. Instead, I would have liked to see a deep investigation and a reformation of the Greens. Emperor Hugh, my predecessor, and Prime Minister Cocx thought differently, though. A bloody shame, if you ask me.
What kind of a declaration of willingness to co-operate would you like to see? I'm afraid the concept is not entirely clear to me."
'Of course naturally I am happy to expand. We would like to see your public support for the union and its legislation and perhaps we could negotiate an EU presence. I would like to encourage all member nations to have an EU office in their nation and councillors to have a national accessible presence. Would this be something you would be willing to do?'
"I would be very open and welcoming of an EU office in Inimicus. I could reserve a building near my own office, the Imperial Palace, and Parliament, if you wish. I will have regular audiences with the ambassador(s), and discuss the same matters I am discussing with you right now with them. I fully support the idea.
As for our councillor, Ralph Jaevons, he is also our Minister for European Affairs, so he is both responsible for the Inimician council presence and a national office. He is held accountable by Parliament and by me. Perhaps I can also arrange the next councillor to be appointed by means of a European Election. That might be a good idea.
How, do you think, could we show public support for the EU?"
'Please do open the office I hope we can move to encourage other nations to do the same. We don't want to bring any staff in as this is about inimicus and you know what is best for your country that is for sure. The Councillors are essentially the ambassadors for us to them. I would strongly welcome a move to democratize the selection of your Councillor and feel it would be a wonderful display and gesture to your commitment to the union to do such a thing.
I wondered if you might poll your citizens about the EU to gather their thoughts and have Councillor Jaevons feed it back to me (OOC: Via PM). I would like to see public support though making it event ratifying European legislation having yourself sign a copy of the ratification documents in public demonstrating your respect for union processes. I hope that is to your liking. Do you have any other inquiries? As I feel our meeting is approaching its natural end'
"Very well, Premier, I will make sure an EU office will be opened in the next month. I'm sure it will serve a good purpose. I will also have my favourite politcal correspondent, Colin Hoskins, conduct a large poll, asking many questions about Inimicus's membership of the Union and its legislation.
Speaking of the legislation, I would be happy to personally sign a copy of every ratified piece of legislation the EU produces. I will most definitely consider a ceremony like this to be organised.
I will have Hoskins send the details of his poll to your office so you are the first to be informed about it. I hope this will stengthen relations between our two governments.
I have no further questions, I don't know if you have any othr comments or requests."
This is all wonderful to hear, I think we can say major progress has been made and on behalf of the commission I thank you for taking time to meet with m,e and advance our relations. I look forward to the poll results and seeing how we can continue such a great working relationship.
Feeling he had achieved a fair deal wit this meeting the Premier bid adieu to the Emperor and took to the airport for his next state visit hoping to achieve similar goals.