March 20, 2006


There is a split in the Eurosceptic community. Yes I know that that is not exactly anything out of the ordinary, most of it seems to enjoy attacking itself even more than attacking the EU. But this one has shown up a few more interesting things.

Eurosceptic Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan writes in the Telegraph about the continuing implementation of the EU Constitution despite being rejected by referendums in both France and Holland, and by substantial amounts. He then goes on to point out how this is utterly predictable from the EU (and it's predecessor organisations) actions, such as forcing Denmark and Ireland to continue having referenda until the 'correct' answer was supplied.

Unable to argue with any of that Dr Richard North of EU Referendum was forced to have a go at why Mr Hannan thinks the EU is anti-democratic. Mr Hannan was saying that the project that became the EU was formed as a rejection of the plebiscitary democracies that gave rise to Fascism and plunged Europe into World War 2. Dr North however pushes the birth of the ideas that formed the EU back even further to Monnet's experiences as a bureaucrat in World War 1. The anti-democratic elements coming because he knew, correctly, that where the populations actually given a say then inevitably some would refuse and the single polity he wanted would never be completed.

He also goes on to argue about who is currently running the show, Mr Hannan implies that it is the Commission as before, but Dr North has other ideas:
with the rejection of the constitution by the Dutch and the French, the "pillars" stand intact. While policies named in the constitution are being added to the Union’s brief, the power is not going to the commission, but the European Council, with the council of ministers increasingly acting as subordinate structures to the Council.

In other words, there has been a fundamental shift in the nature of the EU, with member state governments re-asserting their authority, giving the Council more power. On the other hand, the political power and the authority of the commission is ebbing away. What we are seeing, therefore, is the antithesis of Monnet's supranational integration and a reversion to intergovernmentalism.
The Council being even less transparent than the Commission, but also potentially less structurally stable, which is why Monnet rejected inter-govermentalism in the first place.
As Monnet observed, the rule of unanimity does not work on the serious decisions, when national priorities reassert themselves. Already, as we have seen this with the Lisbon process, and much else besides, so that little constructive can be expected from the new intergovernmentalism. More likely, the friction engendered by high expectations combined with the inability to deliver, will hasten the demise of the Union.
So will it be able to react to large shocks in this new form? Well with the Commission at the heart of thing it was not, and so if the new structures are even less responsive then certainly not. Since another major economic shock will come eventually, this could well mark the beginning of the end of the EU.


Post a Comment

<< Home