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        « Europe's 'Chikelsconi' politicians | Main | From Springfield to Sellafield »


        James Hellyer


        We don't want people noticing the double standards. Remember they said that if Britain vote "No" it will be a disaster for Britain, while if France voted "Non" it would be a disaster for the EU...

        Someone's being told fibs.

        Passing through

        A less ambitious treaty - or series of treaties - may well succeed in gaining the consensus in the EU needed for adoption but there are fundamental contradictions to overcome among those who oppose the present treaty.

        It has been observed often enough that the "No" camp in France was an unholy alliance between Dirigiste Socialists and Ultra-nationalist Xenophobes who otherwise have little in common politically beyond authoritarian tendencies and their opposition to the present treaty.

        In Britain, the unifying theme of opposition is that the treaty could become the means of imposing a scale of unwanted dirigisme under the cloak of EU harmonisation that would undermine the many benefits to economic performance achieved through market liberalisation, some painfully.

        Besides that, a majority of Brits have no wish to be absorbed into a European state where important decisions are made in remote places and when there is little opportunity to reserve course after recognisably bad decisions were made - the claims being made about the "impossibility" of renegotiating the present treaty are an excellent example of just this.

        Tony Blair has recently said that already about half of UK legislation impacting on business derives from EU primary legislation and there are many here who, with reason, do not regard that as reassuring after they have seen the official statistics showing the higher rates of both unemployment and inflation in the Eurozone compared with Britain, as well as the slower rate of GDP growth.

        Data like that speak eloquently, sufficiently so to make many of the claims made about the European project look rather like over-selling. Many here have good cause to recall the terrible consequences that were supposed to befall Britain if we failed to join the Euro. As it is, it is starting to look as though we had a lucky escape. Some have noticed too that the Swiss economy, outside the EU and the Eurozone, is also doing relatively well.

        There is perhaps rather more hope for a constitutional treaty that leaves more scope for national decisions within a framework of abolishing trade barriers in Europe and the principles for making Europe-wide decisions when necessary.

        It is hugely significant that there is a broad agreement between many EU governments that Commission spending should not exceed 1% of the EU's combined GDP. It would also facilitate better public relations when the Commission manages to get the European Court of Auditors to approve the Commission's annual accounts - for a change.

        Vive subsidiarity!

        Passing through

        Apologies for silly typo in above message: please substitute "reverse" for "reserve" in the fourth para.

        A concerted push seems to be coming from several top-level UK sources early this Tuesday morning to declare the EU Constitution not only fatally stricken after the unequivocal "no" vote in France on Sunday but entirely beyond hope of resurrection if Netherlanders also vote "no" on Wednesday.

        "EU leaders were warned today by former commissioner Lord Kinnock to accept the French 'no' vote meant that its constitution was now dead. The former Labour leader said that any attempt to push the treaty through would cause a serious public backlash against the whole European project."

        "Senior British government figures have drawn two conclusions from France's outright rejection of the European constitution. First, they believe that if the Netherlands follows France and votes No to the treaty on Wednesday, then the constitution is, in effect, dead - and there is no point continuing with the ratification process across the European Union. In the event of a Dutch No, the British government will want to forge as wide a consensus as possible among EU partners that this is indeed the treaty's unhappy fate. . . "

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