EU – is it Brussels or Westminster at fault?

Regarding the EU, Witterings from Witney had this some time back [dated August 1, 2013 for some reason]:

“David Cameron’s statements regarding Norway & Switzerland are factually incorrect. A huge amount of technical legislation is formulated at global or regional level, in bodies such as UNECE (on which Norway is represented) and then handed down to the EU institutions as “diqules” which cannot, in substance, be changed. Thus Norway, for example, has a considerable say in the nature of regulation, long before it gets anywhere near the EU.

As members of EFTA both Norway and Switzerland are represented on over 200 EEA committees which assist in the framing of Single Market legislation; also members of EFTA have the ability to refuse to implement any Directive the European Commission produces; something that Norway did do in respect of the 3rd Postal Directive and appears about to do with the latest oil-drilling proposal.

We demand a public apology from David Cameron for misleading the British public:”

The Boiling Frog has written:

Article 48 has ‘implicit’ and ‘explicit’ clauses. All bar one are explicit, i.e. any self-amendment to the Treaty requires the UK Parliament’s permission (along with the other 26 member states):

The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

Conversely the ‘notorious’ 48.7 clause is implicit; so basically Parliament always agrees to amendments unless it specifically objects within a certain time period:

Any initiative taken by the European Council on the basis of the first or the second subparagraph shall be notified to the national Parliaments. If a national Parliament makes known its opposition within six months of the date of such notification, the decision referred to in the first or the second subparagraph shall not be adopted. In the absence of opposition, the European Council may adopt the decision.

Therefore as we can see from Article 48 the key point is that Parliament still has a say in any potential amendments to the Lisbon Treaty. That it can choose largely not to is a failing on its part not Brussels; impotence that is inline with every other EU treaty that it has passed.

Thus time is not running out, Brussels isn’t forcing EU rule on us, instead the political establishment on our behalf choose it. Nothing can illustrate this better than the pickle Cameron has got himself into over his much awaited EU speech, as Richard North demonstrates.

There is considerable confusion about whether we are or are not bound. Whilst Witterings and the Boiling Frog are technically correct in that respect, Witterings also writes [dated the 10th of the 16th month]:

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

The last time I posted on this subject I was inundated by those who in commenting could not seem to accept two facts: (i) European Union Law prevails over national, even national constitutional, law; and (ii) there still exists a treaty, signed by the government of the day, to which the United Kingdom is bound by its Articles; and in which is clearly stated the procedure by which any signatory, who wishes to remove themselves from the obligations of said treaty, has to follow.

While I entirely support Carswell’s belief that membership of the European Union is not in the best interests of our country, I do feel he is being a tad disengenious to suggest that with the passing of his bill throught the House of Commons we would be rid of the European Union.

At the same time, he writes:

As Richard North has written on his blog, the minute Article 50 is invoked the UK could cease any contribution to the EU and cease to apply all directives and regulations because by the time any retribution could be executed and imposed by the Commission through the offices of the ECJ the two-year period specified by Article 50 would have ended.

Which appears to say the opposite.

So, what does the public make of this? A writer at NO, Wiggia, could formerly have been seen as “Undecided of London” and I hope he doesn’t take issue with that epithet. He wrote:

I’m not going into the details of the pros and cons of membership of the EU it’s something that has been laid out by all and sundry on both sides over a considerable period anybody with an interest has had ample opportunity to study some very good works on the whole subject, but if ever there was a good reason to distance ourselves from Brussels and all it represents it is this as seen on CH4 news last night.

… which does reflect a hardening in the attitude of the public. Which tends to undercut the whole idea of who’s actually responsible. This just says let’s get the hell out.

7 comments for “EU – is it Brussels or Westminster at fault?

  1. Greg Tingey
    January 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

    My earlier question (another thread) STILL has not been asnwered…

    It costs the nation including the aforementiond “Big Business” (who seem very much in favour of remaining inside the EU) between £8.5 & 10 billion a year, for, apparently, nothing.
    Why are they in favour of it, then? Why is the guvmint in favour of it?
    It does NOT stack up: something is missing, somewhere.

    • Jonathan Miller
      January 13, 2013 at 11:19 am

      I consider that the EU is popular with bureaucrats and big business, primarily because it provides a single point for lobbying or decision making.

      Big business can lobby the Commission to promulgate rules in their own favour. They only need to lobby in Brussels, rather than in 30-odd separate countries. They then implement one set of rules from a central management structure. Their competitors, however, being smaller, each have to spend money implementing the regulations – the vast majority of business is not Big, but small (1 man outfits usually), and it is they who bear the brunt of the cost of EU membership (and as basic economics tells you these costs are paid by customers).

      Bureaucrats follow the same logic, their incentives being a single place to put pressure on Estonia, Spain etc. or bigger sticks to ‘bargain’ with China. There is another outlet (as commission officials) for 2nd rate politicians and bureacrats, coming with salary and pensions that are exempt from income tax.

      …The most obvious demonstration of this comes not from Big Business, but from the Envionmentalists. They barely bother lobbying local government, it is all now done through diktat from Brussels.

      As Daniel Hannan points out, the EU is NOT a free trade organisation. It is a customs union, imposing tariffs on non-EU goods and services. THAT is why Big Business wants in.

      The EU does not exist to provide benefits to the people, but to large bureaucracies. Therefore, any question about costs has to look at where these costs are felt – and they are not felt by politicians or Big Business, but by you and me.

      • January 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm

        The answer is partly in this:

        Mr. Carr, the chairman of the energy company Centrica, is also on the advisory board of Business for a New Europe

        There are some never-varying principles in politics:

        1. people individually and in groups on the whole argue for and support that which affects them personally. Hip pocket nerve. They might argue for pensioners when they’re not pensioners but often it’s politicians who want votes who do this. Pensioners are the other group.

        2. people argue for and support bodies which give them sweetheart deals and kickbacks. Thus Clegg logically, because of what he stands to earn, wants in and to hell with the country.

        3. organizations will support certain politics when the alternative is going to be worse in their eyes. Big business sees a UK outside the EU as having less trading opportunities, not realizing that the EU will collapse without the UK and once firms start unilaterally negotiating with other firms.

        4. big business is multinational, i.e. it depends on all parts of the firm operating, particularly outsourced roles. A wdge between the UK and EU means a wedge down the middle of their firm.

        Small businesses, on the other hand, have very little benefit from the EU, in fact the opposite. As big business has the ear of the media, theirs is the only voice heard every day.

  2. Greg Tingey
    January 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    How come Switz & Norway are tolerated then?
    Since they ARE in a duty-free free-trade arrangement with the EU – as we should be???

    • David A. Evans
      January 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      That’s where you miss the point Greg.
      The Swiss are in EFTA with access to EEA.
      Big Business likes the EU because it gold plates the international agreements that the Swiss/Norwegians have a say in, same as our Whitehall bureaucrats gold plate what the EU hands down.
      They will tolerate us as we will truly have a seat at the top table.
      Just about everything is agreed at the global scale. We miss out because the EU takes our place.

    • Jonathan Miller
      January 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      Both Switzerland and Norway have a groundswell of anti-EU feeling that won’t tolerate their political classes taking them into the EU against their wishes.
      Both are independently wealthy, and so Business finds it profitable to continue trading with these nations despite the lack of uniformity of regulation.
      I would say that Britain’s financial services put it in a similar position to Switzerland, the EU need London more than England (the South, at least) needs the EU.

  3. Paul Williamson
    January 13, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Living within the EU has clearly not brought self determination that Cameron espouses for the Falkland Islanders. We need to be out.

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