March 06, 2007


For a while I have held off judgement on Mr Cameron, there has simply not been enough substance to make a judgement on. This peice on the EU gives one definite answer, he is absolutely clueless about the EU.

Cameron wants the EU to be an outward looking free trade area. However the EU is a customs union it is not and never has been about free trade or reducing tarrif barriers. It is a protectionist bloc, it always has been and always will be, this is intrinsic to the structures it was constructed from.

Cameron wants the EU to work with the USA, but the EU wants to be a counterweight to the USA.

Cameron wants the EU to be an intergovernmental organisation of freely cooperating nation states. Unfortunately this is basically what every single Prime Minister since Heath has wanted to do to the EU, they all tried and failed. It is was every single Prime Minister since Churchill, except Heath, wanted instead of the EU. Britain and others made several attempts to create this kind of intergovernmental stucture of which NATO is the most sucessful example but there where others such as the OEEC, EFTA, and WEU. That is one of the reasons why the likes of Atlee, Churchill, and Jean Monnet was only too happy that Britain was out, they all knew that the whole point of what was to become the EU was that it was supranational rather than intergovernmental. They also knew that the British view was that intergovenmenal was better than supranational. To shift from being a supranational institution to a intergovernmental one would require such dramatic structural changes at every single level of the EU, not least the elimination of the EU's holy writ that nothing can be removed from the Aquis Communitaire, that the only way of getting there would be to rip up everything that has gone before and replace it all with a new system utterly different than that that has gone before. The treaties needed to do this would be far more ambitious than the current EU Constitution and that is never going to be ratified (even if the EU Constitution is being implemented anyway), so the chance of it getting through even in a highly diluted form is basically zero.

Not that this deck chair shuffling in the European Parliament as to which transnational party the Conservatives sit with would be able acheive any of what he talks about anyway since the European Parliament is nothing more than a (just about) democratic fig leaf, a purely revising chamber with no power to initiate or kill legislation merely suggest revisions, and even then they can be overruled.


Thinking about it it is actually funny in a strange sort of way. The biggest barrier to a future more intergovernmental EU is the major intergovernmental component of the present one, that all the member states have to agree to ratify any treaty changes.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its the OECD.

And the EU, is many things, not one.
It is what its member states want it to be.
The funny thing is that by making it more 'democratic' you would weaken the the power of the national excecutives to determine the agenda of the EU.

But that suits national governments. They get to pass unpopular legislation which they want while at the same time blaming it on 'Brussels'.

The EU is far from perfect, and is in need of reform, but pulling out aint an option. We would end up in the same situation as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, having to pass EU legislation to ensure open access to our largest market but not actually having any input into the development of said legistlation.

5:17 pm  
Blogger chris said...

Actually it was the OEEC, this was supercided by the OECD with its more global scope in 1961 after the marshall aid money had run out and the US shifted its focus to NATO.

Anyway any treaty (and these kind of reforms will need a treaty) requires ratification in every country, this is a major problem for any reforms. Maastrict, Nice and the Constitution all ran into problems with this being voted down in a referendum by at least one state. The chances of any new treaty, let alone one radical enough to do what Cameron wants, not getting rejected in at least one country (with these moted reforms would probably be France) would have been miniscule in a community of 15, but now with what will soon be 27 members it is just not going to happen.

3:36 pm  

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