News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Friday, June 22, 2007

European Union to go Soviet

The latest draft of the proposed new EU Constitution Treaty has removed a reference to "free and undistorted competition" to be replaced with a "social market economy aimed at full employment". The move disgusts me. The one and only good thing about the EU, in its many various guises, was the commitment to free and fair trade between member states. Rather than trying to remove that, the EU should be focusing on developing global free and fair trade. That's not what Europe sees itself as being about though. It's a cozy old boys' club for Europe's leaders to scratch one anothers' backs and exclude those who don't conform to their view of the playground.

The move away from free trade is concerning on many levels. It's a clear attempt to turn back the clock on the pro-market reforms of my lifetime and could seriously undermine everything that Margaret Thatcher achieved for Britain, taking us back to the 1970s. It's no surprise that our European masters should wish to do that - most of them were opponents of the Thatcherite reforms at the time, which is why they were rejected by the electorate and had to create their own undemocratic utopias in Brussels and Strasbourg. In terms of European politics, the fact that it was the French that insisted upon this change would not normally surprise me. However, Nicolas Sarkozy and his UMP allies were elected this year on a promise of pro-market Thatcherite reforms. He appears to be a fraud of the most dangerous, most socialist kind.

Perhaps fundamentally for Britain as a democratic nation, the removal of free trade from the objective of the EU violates the terms of the union sold to the electorate during the referendum on membership. The British public were told that it was simply about free trade within Europe and nothing to worry about. If the EU is to be permitted to over-rule the free market - and make no mistake, this treaty would allow and require the European Court of Justice to do just that - then there will not be free trade. It is imperative that there is a new referendum on whether the British people wish to remain a part of this new European project, more closely modelled on the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact than the Common Market we joined in 1972.

So will we get a referendum? Blair pledged on on the EU constitution, which was rejected by the French and Dutch before being put to the test in the UK. However, he and Brown argue that this is not a Constitution, but a Treaty. This is just a tidying up exercise, so won't need a referendum. That's also what they said about the constitution, at first!

So what really is the difference between this Treaty and the rejected Constitution? Essentially the words used - the Constitution becomes a Treaty, the European Foreign Minister becomes the European Head of Foreign Policy etc. There are some welcome improvements - I gather that defence has been removed from the scope of the new document and that governments will be able to opt out of crime and immigration elements of EU policy. That's certainly not enough for me - this treaty has to be put to a referendum. If the government refuses to allow the will of the British people, the government has to go.

David Cameron has already made clear that the Conservatives want to see a referendum before any further powers are transferred to Europe, which is welcome. If this treaty is implemented without a referendum, he will need to go further. He will need to pledge that the next Conservative government will hold a referendum, and will withdraw from the treaty if that is the will of the people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No to Sarkotics! Vote yes to Free Europe Constitution at