Sunday, 4 April 2010

Hague On 'Europe'

William Hague is provided the opportunity of a little 'pre-election electioneering' by the Sunday Telegraph in an article 'authored' by Patrick Hennessy.

Within the article 'Hague on Europe' makes three specific pledges - although, understandably, neither Hague, nor the Sunday Telegraph, states whether these pledges are 'cast-iron'. Hague pledges that a Conservative Government would have no part whosoever in plans for the creation of a European Public Prosecutor; that they would not allow moves to end national vetoes in key areas, such as defence and that Britain will not join the Euro.

Let us consider each of those three areas in more detail.

1. A European Public Prosecutor: Note the wording in the article: "a firm commitment that the UK would have no part whatsoever in plans for a powerful European Public Prosecutor" which all that means is a Conservative government would not participate in the political work within the EU creating this position - in another words a meaningless pledge. Questioned in the European Parliament on 12th January by former EC Chief Accountant, Marta Andreasen, ME-fraud Commissioner Algirdas Semeta stated that "the Lisbon Treaty allows us to establish this office, so we should go ahead".  The office that he was referring to was that of European Public Prosecutor. Admittedly, Lisbon did give the EU the right, de facto, to set up such a post as European Public Prosecutor in Article 86, The Treaty on European Union (TEU) which actually would establish a European Public Prosecutors Office from Eurojust. Ergo, if such an office is created then the EU need someone to head it - no? It is also correct that any such decision is one of unanimity, although if nine or more member states wish they could proceed on their own.

Note that it was the anti-fraud Commissioner taking the lead on the EPP because doubtless it will be ‘sold’ to the public on the pretext of it being a necessary measure to deal with financial criminality. Next will be the excuse that 'terrorism' is another reason for the creation of this new 'office'. What one can be more certain about is that the establishment of an EPP will be the prelude to the imposition of Corpus Juris because, to enable him to function, the EPP will need a set of rules which is common to all Member States.

2. Ending of national vetoes: Hague once again "If, for instance, Europe were ever to decide that foreign policy is no longer by unanimity but by majority voting, that would constitute, to us, the transfer of a new competence and power to the EU, and that would trigger a referendum." again, fine words but not much else. It is worth repeating Article 24 TEU which states: "1. The Union's competence in matters of common foreign and security policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy..." and "2. Within the framework of the principles and objectives of its external action, the Union shall conduct, define and implement a common foreign and security policy.....". 

In other words there will be an EU Foreign Office, the High Representative will be the EU Foreign Secretary - oh and Hague baby, you're fired!

3. On not joining the euro: "We’ve made our assessment of whether we should join the euro and a Conservative government will not join the euro." so by that one can assume that for all their words in the past, the present Conservative 'inner circle' did actually consider it. One still has to return though to Article 3.4 TEU which states "The Union shall establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro".

The first two matters may well be covered presently by unanimity and the third by an opt-out, but knowing how the EU goes about its business, at some time in the future the 'rules' will be changed - on that you can depend. It is also worth repeating Article 4.2 TEU "Shared competence between the Union and Member States applies in the following principal areas:" included in which is "(j) area of freedom, security and justice." In other words, if the EU decide to legislate in an area of shared competence  - be that justice, foreign policy or finance - they will do so and for an EPP and his Office to be able to work, it will have to have jurisdiction in the entire EU. All of which means that rather makes Hague's pledge on the imposition of an EPP - and the other two matters - look a tad 'toothless'.

The fact that we all know the rules will be changed is what makes the Conservative Party look the idiots they are as eventually they will have to grant that referendum they have promised - and which logically will have to be one on an in/out question. It is this 'putting off the decision' to hold a referendum that also makes the Conservative Party look idiotic - especially as they would have us believe they are 'decisive'!

Come on Mr. Cameron - be a man, bite the bullet and make a decision.

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