Following my post yesterday "Making government services interoperable", an article in Euractiv 'brought home' something which seems to have escaped the notice of the vast majority, most noticeably our media - hence the slight alteration between the titles of that post and this.
"Despite opposition behind the scenes, plans to let Europeans seek medical treatment in other countries in the 27-country bloc surged forward Tuesday (21 December) when EU countries gave their stamp of approval. The deal, reached at ambassador level (Coreper), paves the way for a vote in Parliament on 19 January and increases the chances the cross-border healthcare directive could be in force as early as 2013."
(For the uninitiated, Coreper is the Committee of Permanent Representatives (whom some would say) are the most powerful body within the European Union.
Such a move as that reported in Euractiv is the forerunner to total control of healthcare passing to Brussels and, in effect, assuming the status of a competence - resulting in yet another loss of power. Not that should come as a surprise, if one considers Articles 4 and 6 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
1. The Union shall share competence with the Member States where the Treaties confer on it a competence which does not relate to the areas referred to in Articles 3 and 6.
2. Shared competence between the Union and the Member States applies in the following principal areas:
(a) internal market;
(b) social policy, for the aspects defined in this Treaty;
(c) economic, social and territorial cohesion;
(d) agriculture and fisheries, excluding the conservation of marine biological resources;
(f) consumer protection;
(h) trans-European networks;
(j) area of freedom, security and justice;
(k) common saafely concerns in public health matters, for the aspects defined in this Treaty.
The Union shall have competence to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States. The areas of such action shall, at European level, be:
(a) protection and improvement of human health;
(e) education, vocational training, youth and sport;
(f) civil protection;
(g) administrative cooperation."
The give-away - and the most worrying, when considering losses of power - is that word 'coordinate', which the Concise OED defines as:
"v tr: bring (various parts, movements, etc) into a proper or required relation to ensure harmony or effective operation etc" (my emphasis)
At some time in the future, when the European Union has completed coordinating each member states' healthcare system, industry, culture, education system and civil protection (law & order), has exhausted their shared competence in the matters detailed in Article 4 - and added that lot to the exclusive competences it has under Article 3, the joke that presently passes as our national parliament will most definitely become redundant, other than as an administration centre answerable to Brussels.
Of course, the comment about Westminster presently being no more than an administration centre, with the continual ceding of power, has been made previously - notably by Richard North, EU Referendum - and after careful thought it will be agreed that the present situation of our national parliament is but part of their training programme for when the EU assumes total control over every aspect of our governance.
It really is time for us to leave this madhouse - we have the chance of trading, unencumbered, with the rest of the world - which is far bigger than the European Union. A choice which, echoing the words of Vince Cable, could be summarised as a 'new clear' option?