IanPJ on Politics posts today on two very important reports - and in this post I wish to concentrate on the first of those reports, namely the release by the European Commission of the Commission’s European Interoperability Strategy (EIS) and the European Interoperability Framework (EIF).
As both IanPJ and I are aware, readers are a tad averse to ploughing through EU documents, so I will just extract what I believe to be relevant sections, for consideration.
The introduction to the EIS states:
".....The EIS aims to provide guidance and to prioritise the actions needed to improve interaction, exchange and cooperation among European public administrations across borders and across sectors for the delivery of European public service......"
The definition of a European public service is:
"a cross-border public sector service supplied by public administrations, either to one another or to European businesses and citizens"
Note point 5:
"Without a comprehensive approach to interoperability, there is a risk that Member States might opt for mutually incompatible solutions that, rather than boosting efficiency and savings, will only build new barriers to the delivery of European public services in the internal market."
Note also point 7:
"Once fully adopted, the EIS will become the key driving force for the EU’s new ISA programme from 2010 to 2015 and possibly other EU initiatives. The EIS will also have an impact on interoperability activities undertaken by the Member States."
Note: the ISA programme is the Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations which came into force on 29th October 2009.
The EIF contains 25 'recommendations' in order to facilitate the 'interoperability' between member states because, as the EIF document states:
"...European public administrations must be ready to work together to deliver European public services to meet the needs of businesses and citizens."
Continuing, the EIF also states:
"It is important that interoperability frameworks used by public administrations, both national (NIFs) and European (EIF), are aligned as regards how to achieve interoperability so that Member States can agree on the concrete implementation of the EIF recommendations when establishing European public services. By their nature, NIFs are, in general, more detailed and often prescriptive than the EIF, which operates at a higher level of abstraction, as a ‘meta framework’ and, in line with the subsidiarity principle, does not impose specific choices or obligations on the Member States."
A footnote to the above states:
"The principle of subsidiarity applies not just to the EU vis-à-vis Member States, but in some cases within Member States themselves, at federal/national level or at other levels (e.g. regional, provincial, county and municipality)."
What all the above is leading up to is this, dear reader. Public Services will become an EU competence, no doubt with an EU Commissioner. Such a move will strengthen the control Brussels has on member states - and via the regionalisation programme (NUTS) - this control will reach right down the chain to District and County Councils, nay even Parish Councils.
And no doubt the government of the day will still insist that they govern our nation - although accepting that the EIS/EIF will take years to fully implement, hopefully by then the UK will have cast anchor and sailed off into the sunset!
Addendum: In the course of surfing the net I came across this 'tome', which whilst published in 2003, is basically a discourse on nationhood - and the perceptions of same - versus citizenship of the EU. Running to 333 pages, understandably readers will definitely not wish to read the entire document, however I would point you to pages 30/54 on the relationship of the UK with the EEC/EU, authored by Dr. Atsuko Ichijo (good British name) which may be of interest. Needless to say, in view of the fact it was published in 2003, some of the views are 'out of date' - but it is worth reading, just the same.
The section by Dr. Achijo highlights one aspect - and the aspect that I believe will be the downfall of the European Union. In this country we have a sense of nationhood, of heritage - as do the French, Germans, Dutch, Czechs etc - and that 'sense of nationhood' will never be obliterated from the peoples of the individual member states, however much Brussels tries.