Friday, 17 December 2010

Ah, but the facts are somewhat different.......

At 19:27 yesterday evening Paul Waugh 'tweeted': "Cameron gets EU deal to protect UK from future bailouts.", the tweet including this link which leads to a report on Politics Home. Mark Wadsworth posts on this story and links to a report in the Evening Standard and the BBC.

What all three reports are doing is confusing and conflating two entirely different aspects. First, the reason the UK had to provide £7billion, via the EU, to help bail-out Ireland was that that particular bail-out was carried out under Article 122 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This clause was intended to provide a fund to assist a member state in the event of natural disaster or exceptional circumstances beyond its control. In its entirety Clause 122 states:
"1. Without prejudice to any other procedures provided for in the Treaties, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may decide, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States, upon the measure appropriate to the economic situation, in particular if severe difficulties arise in the supply of certain products, notably in the area of energy.

2. Where a Member State is in difficulties or is seriously threatened with severe difficulties cause by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences beyond its control, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may grant, under certain conditions, Union financial assistance to the Member State concerned. The President of the Council shall inform the European Parliament of the decision taken."
What the Politics Home report does not state is that whilst Cameron may have got agreement that Article 122 should no longer be used for bail-out purposes, what it does not tell readers is that because Article 122 cannot be altered, this 'agreement' is not legally binding. One should note that the phrase used in the Politics Home report is "need not and should not" and is therefore just a political commitment - and we all know that political commitments, like cast-iron guarantees, can be broken at will.

In this report from the BBC Cameron may laud the fact that the 2.9% increase in the EU budget was maintained, but he does not mention that in June next year the EU Commission is to introduce proposals for a tax to be levied - one which the Commission call "own resources", for which the UK will be liable - 5.1 in this document. The introduction of an "own resources" tax is no more than a compromise with the EU Parliament in order that the budget can be 'topped-up'.

Incidentally, David Lidington, Europe Minister, has a letter in the Times(£) in which he writes:
"While no Parliament can bind its successor, I question why any future Government would want to take away the people’s right to have their say"
to which the question Lidington - and Cameron - should answer is: why does the present Government wish to take away the people's right to have their say, today, on membership of the European Union? This yet again demonstrates that it is not what politicians say, but what politicians do not say - and in this particular case, Lidington's statement may well come back to haunt him and his government.

On this subject - and in relation to the European Union in general - it is worth quoting Ron Paul, who on 25th March 2004 said:
"We need to understand that the more government spends, the more freedom is lost.....Instead of simply debating spending levels, we ought to be debating whether the departments, agencies and programmes funded by the budget should exist at all." 
But hey, this would mean a cost/benefit analysis and a discussion on sovereignty - neither of which our Europhile political elite want.


Katabasis said...

Excellent breakdown!

Were that our ever useful media capable of ever doing such analysis. It's why they fear us, and the likes of Wikileaks, so much.

Witterings From Witney said...

Katabasis: Thank you, kind Sir!