Megalomania unlimited? What is METREX?

or: How to dissolve national borders by stealth – Published on Current Concerns, by thk, May 1, 2012 (Translation Current Concerns).

… As early as in 1996 the association “Metrex” was created at the Conference of Metropolitan Regions in Glasgow with active support of the EU-Commission in order to press ahead with the dissolution of national borders. The whole purpose was veiled as the euphemistic pretext to ensure closer cooperation of the metropolitan areas across the borders.  

“Metrex”, the association itself labels “the eminent European planner, environmentalist and educationalist Patrick Geddes” (1854–1932) the father of this idea who designed the city of Tel Aviv (1927 –1929) and was principally concerned with planning of metropoles.

“Metrex”, short for Metropolitan Exchange, features itself as “a network of practitioners, that is, officials and their advisers, concerned with the spatial planning and development at the metropolitan level. It is essentially a network through which key European strategic decision makers can share their knowledge, experience and expertise.” According to “Metrex” in Europe there are “some 120 metropolitan regions and areas, which are the larger centres of economic and social life”, each with more than 500,000 inhabitants.

The association’s aim is to achieve the gradual dissolution of the borders by means of close cooperation beyond these national borders, notabene without any democratic legitimation.

Moreover, if one examines the published documents of the association “Metrex”, a list of the hitherto associated cities can be found besides the club rules. Up to now 50 European cities or metropolitan areas have joined the association so far – almost exclusively cities from EU states and their surrounding regions. If you read the list to the end, you may rub your eyes when you notice that even the “Metropolitan Area Zurich” is member of this association, represented by the “Regionalplanung Zürich und Umgebung (RZU)” (umbrella association of the Zurich region and surroundings). The membership costs money, and it would be interesting to know whether the parliaments of the member cantons and cities as well as the inhabitants of the individual communities were asked for their consent to a “Metrex” membership and whether they were informed about the resulting costs.

The association deliberately bypasses state structures and sees itself as a represantative of the associated cities and their settlements.

Under the title “Metropolitan Governance”, which can be simply translated as control system of the urban centres, the political aspiration becomes clear. In the view of the association “Metrex” “metropolitan areas are now the level at which European spatial planning objectives can be realised most effectively.

Without effective metropolitan governance the populations of metropolitan areas are unable to influence some of the key issues affecting their future and their sustainability.”

A minute elite has created an institution with which they can completely bypass the democratic structures in the EU countries which partly are very weak any way. It presumes to be the representation of the people living in the metropolitan areas, which it has created on its own, and adorns itself with the competence to realize their political concerns. This is absurd. The affected population neither had anything to say in the founding of this association nor is it involved in the decision making in any way.

This means that the whole thing has no democratic legitimation. There is a vast amount of associations and organizations that see themselves as umbrella associations or coordination offices of the so-called metropolitan areas. All the EU’s Interreg-programs are an example of how one wants to raze the national borders and to build up new structures. Private-law associations, such as the association “Metropolitan Area Zurich” are beginning to take on official duties without ever having gotten a democratic mandate for that. Here clarification is essential, the fewest citizens of a so-called metropolitan area have been informed about the existence and the operation of such an international association, which has finally acquired broad powers. Moreover, this entity absorbs their tax money that now lacks everywhere: for the children, for older citizens, for the sick, for the Hartz IV-recipients … (full text and table of cities).

Links:

Making up the balance after almost three years of Metropolitan Area Zurich: a waste of time and effort? (… without the voters being asked – an affront unparalleled in direct democratic Switzerland), on Current Concerns, by Dr iur Marianne Wüthrich, May 21, 2012; h

METREX – The Network of European Metropolitan Regions and Areas (5 languages): en.Homepage; about activities; e-mail, Website, Contact and docs;

metrex – European Commission: Call for contributions to the debate on European Governance, Dialogue with associations of regional and local authorities, Response from METREX (May 23, 2003);

Metrex Hypothesis.

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