The Telegraph reports that Janusz Lewandowski, the European budget commissioner, has said that his recent proposals to finance the EU through VAT, carbon, aviation or financial transaction taxes would touch on "holy" elements of national sovereignty.The article quotes Lewandowski:
"It needs ratification because it is prerogative of a national state to set its own taxes. No taxation without representation – it must be ratified......This is a sacred prerogative of national parliaments."
To a certain extent this is a spurious point to raise as besides taxation it must be a condition of any nation which wishes to be classified as a democracy that that nation decides any matter which affects it - be that taxation, defence, foreign policy, law & the judiciary, environment, transport or employment, as examples.
Again, the Telegraph falls into the trap of quoting Cameron's promise of a "Referendum Lock" which would prevent the future transfer of power as if this 'lock' were in place - which it is not. Logically, how can Cameron be held to his promise of a referendum on any future transfer of power if there is no Act of Parliament?
Still on the subject of prerogatives of nation states it is also worth remembering that not one of the 27 Member States is any longer a nation. With the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1st December 2009, members of the European Parliament, who previously had been "representatives of the peoples of the States brought together in the Community" (Art 189 TEC), became "representatives of the union's citizens (Art 14 TEU). This change in the legal status of MEPs is but one illustration of the constitutional revolution brought about by the Lisbon Treaty. Lisbon, like the EU Constitution before it, established for the first time a European Union which is constitutionally separate from and superior to its Member States. As a result the 27 Member States thereby lost their character as true sovereign States - constitutionally they became nothing more than regional states in a multinational Federation.
For Tory backbenchers to demand that the Prime Minister "repatriate" powers from Brussels in return for going along with German and French requests to change the EU's Lisbon Treaty in order to prevent future euro zone debt crises, is again irresponsible reporting in that there is no 'procedure' for repatriating powers - and in any event the EU will not return powers to Member States as it would be in direct contradiction of the EU's stated aim of "ever closer union".
Whatever the outcome of Cameron's summit meeting in three days time, there is one point on which you can bet your last penny. The British people will, as has happened on every occasion previously, be 'stitched-up' and told they have won a famous victory!