Trouble Viewing this email? Go to website
 

REPUBLICAN PARTY NEWSLETTER

For a Civic and Constitutional Republic

www.republicanparty.org.uk 

 

Issue No 87 Sunday 11 December 2011


This Week

  • Q. When is a Veto is Not a Veto?  
    A. When a Union Becomes a Pact Overnight

  • The Lisbon Treaty - A Giant Step Towards Federalism.

  • The End of Capitalism As We Know It - on Positive Money Blog


News Stories

Highlighting news stories important to the Civic Republican view, particularly those that are overlooked or little covered in the main media.

Read more latest Republican stories on Republican Party Facebook Page


EUROPE

  • Q. When is a Veto is Not a Veto?  
    A. When a Union Becomes a Pact Overnight

Peter Kellow writes

The United Nations is an example of a supranational organization. Its Security Council is made of up nine member states and this body cannot adopt a policy to do anything if one, just one, of the nine is votes against it. It is called a “veto”. Supranational bodies usually have to operate unanimously or not at all. Imagine if there was a vote on an action, say, a military action in the Security Council and Russia voted against. Then the other eight say: fine, you have your opinion, but we will go and do it anyway.

What would be the result? It is clear and obvious. The UN would be finished. It could not hold together when eight nations chose to form a “pact” in opposition to one member state and carry out an action against one isolated member. The maths of the EU may be different but the principle is exactly the same.



Sunnier Times

David Cameron at 2pm on Friday night used his supposed right of veto in the European Council (the European Council consists of the 27 Heads of State or Government of the Member States ) as a member of the European Union to block the proposed moves to greater fiscal union designed to “save” the euro. So that should be the end of it, right? After all, it says in the treaty that any member state has the right of veto. Ah, but we find it does not quite work like. There is something called qualified majority voting – although it is rather difficult to pin down when it should be applied

The EU’s own explanatory site on the European Council has this to say

How does [the European Council] take its decisions? Except where the Treaties provide otherwise, decisions of the European Council are taken by consensus. In some cases, it adopts decisions by unanimity or by qualified majority (see article on the Lisbon Treaty below), depending on what the Treaty provides for.

This is hardly very explicit, but however this is interpreted it is clear that the nations of the EU have decided to ignore Britain and go their own way. Reuters correctly describe this as a “pact” (others have called it a "caucus") within the EU and this loose term is appropriate for the grouping has no status within the EU constitution.

So now instead of a European Union, we have, it seems a Euro Pact - a pact, furthermore, of which Britain is not a member.

Nadeem Walayat writing in his Market Oracle set things out as follows

David Cameron unfortunately miscalculated the degree to which Merkozy [sic] had deployed arm twisting tactics not only on on-the-hook euro-zone members but also the other 9 EU countries outside the Eurozone such as Poland that David Cameron had hoped would add to the UK's weight in negotiating opt outs for the UK's financial sector. … these countries … fell under the financial spell of the Merkozy under the promise of eventual ECB funding of their budget deficits, which left Britain and David Cameron totally isolated as the only country to vote against the proposed EU treaty changes, instead now the Euro-zone will go it alone with the effective Germanification of the Euro-zone.

What's Planned for the EU 26?

  • Give up control of national budgets
  • Sanctions for Budget Deficits Greater than 3% of GDP
  • Provide Euro 200 Billion for IMF to Loan to Euro-zone members to re-finance debt during Q1 2012.

Britain's veto has effectively delayed implementation of the amended Treaty for several months as lawyers try to construct a legal framework for the treaty that excludes Britain, however it effectively means that Germany by probably March 2012 will take economic control of all euro-zone members, with the possibility that the other 9 none eurozone countries will also join and thus totally excluding Britain from all decision making meetings.”

To take the second plan the idea of sanctions for nations that do not meet the fiscal requirements is absurd and really just there to please the markets. The Maastricht Treaty of 1993 included the provision of fines on countries that deviated from the laid down fiscal targets, but this proved to be a farce as those propelling the euro project was all too happy to fudge the figures to get more nations to join it. The new “sanctions” will be just as illusory. They will never work. The idea that you fine nations that are already broke is mad.

Cameron was right to try the veto. We should now challenge under EU law the decision by the others to ignore his veto with the clear threat of withdrawal if we do not like the decision. If the Euro Pact agreement is not chucked out as illegal then Britain’s position in the EU will be untenable. We cannot suffer isolation within the club – the ostracizing would be too humiliating and damaging. If the Europe we signed up to no longer exists, we can quit without a referendum.

If Germany and France are claiming victory then it is a pyrrhic one. There is plenty of unfolding to happen. The Euro Pact leaders have not only ratted on the treaty, they have also ratted on their electorates. In the heat of trying to sort out an impossible problem they have forgotten where their first duty lies. The Presidential elections in France are in 2012 and if the National Front (a bit like the BNP but more polite and much more popular) get a lot of votes no one will be in any doubt why

Cameron certainly had his paymasters in the City of London as prominent in his mind in trying the veto tactic but a bad motive does not necessarily mean a wrong decision. But if the Euro Pact countries think they can spoil the City of London’s pre eminence as the European financial centre they are in deeply misguided. The threat to do this is as old as our membership of Europe, but the City has three big advantages that no European city will ever seriously challenge.

  1. It has the inertia of being long established
  2. It has the English language
  3. London is and will remain outside the eurozone with an independent currency
  4. It has the flexibility to modify itself as the accepted economic model changes. The EU suffers like any complex supranational body on finding itself unable to adapt. It is based on the principles of the discredited neoliberal economic model and this is the fallacious theory that is underpinning the proposed new treaty with its impossible fiscal straightjacket. This newsletter is no admirer of the City of London as it is, but at least it has the possibility of moving with the times.
  5. London is a great place for high earners to live. No one would live in Frankfurt out of choice. (Last time I was there by 11.30 in the evening the whole placed was closed down.)

Cameron may have undermined Britain’s already tenuous position in the EU but in the medium term he will strengthen our position in respect of the rest of the world. The Euro crisis and the continuing Great Crisis worldwide mean that the stakes are high and the game will be unpredictable and is far from over. We must at all costs preserve our room for manoeuvre.

We are better out of the Euro Pact than in.


EUROPE

  • The Lisbon Treaty. A Giant Step Towards Federalism.

Peter Kellow writes

John Pinder wrote of the European Community in 1993 in Comparative Federalism and Federations: “… it is reasonable to regard the Community’s progress as a series of federal steps.” That is now more true than ever and with the proposed new Euro Pact the process has taken yet another step forward. But what of the Lisbon Treaty already signed by all the members including Britain?

In the above article I referred to the question of unanimous and “qualified majority voting”. If a decision in the EU is subject to a unanimous vote, then the EU is operating more like a normal supranational organisation (like the UN or the Commonwealth) and less like a federation. Once majority voting of any kind is introduced that means some states, who are against a decision, will have to accept the majority will. That is how democracy within a federation (like the United States) works. In a federation, states accept majority decisions by the totality of member states, as they judge that there is a payback in other ways from membership of the federation.

.

Gordon's lonely signing of the Lisbon Treaty

But non-federal organisations have to work with unanimity for the major decisions. So the question of whether an organisation arrives at decisions unanimously or by majority voting is key to determining its character – federal or non-federal.

The Lisbon Treaty, which was signed by the EU member states on 13 December 2007, and entered into force on 1 December 2009, changes some of what were unanimous voting policy areas on the European Council to majority voting.

Not only that, because of changes in the voting system, the possibility of a decision being passed by the majority was made considerably easier. As the EUs own website explains:  

Since the 2007 enlargement [of the EU membership] a qualified majority is ...74.8%. 

The Treaty of Lisbon ... changed these rules for qualified majority voting. The present system will continue until November 2014. From then on, the definition of the qualified majority will be different. It will be a double majority so that, in order to be adopted, an act must have the support of at least 55 % of the EU Member States (i.e. 15 Member States in a Union of 27) and at least 65 % of the population of the EU.

Clearly however you look at it 55%, or 65%, is a lot easier to achieve than 74.8%

So what are the areas of policy that under the Lisbon Treaty will no longer be subject to unanimous voting and will pass in 2014 to the much more federalized majority voting system?

Previously the Treaty of Nice defined these areas and this was signed by European leaders on 26 February 2001 and came into force on 1 February 2003. The Wikipedia tells us that that under Lisbon

qualified majority voting (QMV) was extended to policy areas that required unanimity according to the Nice Treaty.

The new areas of QMV are:

Area

Nice

Lisbon

Reference

Initiatives of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs

Unanimity

QMV following unanimous request

15b TEU

Rules concerning the Armaments Agency

Unanimity

QMV

28D§2 TEU

Freedom to establish a business

Unanimity

QMV

47§2 TFEU

Self-employment access rights

Unanimity

QMV

47§2 TFEU

Freedom, security and justice – cooperation and evaluation

Unanimity

QMV

70 TFEU

Border controls

Unanimity

QMV

77 TFEU

Asylum

Unanimity

QMV

78 TFEU

Immigration

Unanimity

QMV

79 TFEU

Crime prevention incentives

Unanimity

QMV

69c TFEU

Eurojust

Unanimity

QMV

69d TFEU

Police cooperation

Unanimity

QMV

69f TFEU

Europol

Unanimity

QMV

69g TFEU

Transport

Unanimity

QMV

71§2 TFEU

European Central Bank

Unanimity

QMV

107§3, 245b TFEU

Culture

Unanimity

QMV

151 TFEU

Structural and Cohesion Funds

Unanimity

QMV

161 TFEU

Organisation of the Council of the European Union

Unanimity

QMV

201b TFEU

European Court of Justice

Unanimity

QMV

245, 224a, 225a TFEU

Freedom of movement for workers

Unanimity

QMV

42 TFEU

Social security

Unanimity

QMV

42 TFEU

Criminal judicial cooperation

Unanimity

QMV

69a TFEU

Criminal law

Unanimity

QMV

69b TFEU

President of the European Council election

(New item)

QMV

9b§5 TEU

Foreign Affairs High Representative election

(New item)

QMV

9e§1 TEU

Funding the Common Foreign and Security Policy

Unanimity

QMV

28 TEU

Common defence policy

Unanimity

QMV

28e TEU

Withdrawal of a member state

(new item)

QMV

49a TEU

General economic interest services

Unanimity

QMV

16 TFEU

Diplomatic and consular protection

Unanimity

QMV

20 TFEU

Citizens initiative regulations

Unanimity

QMV

21 TFEU

Intellectual property

Unanimity

QMV

97a TFEU

Eurozone external representation

Unanimity

QMV

115c TFEU

Sport

Unanimity

QMV

149 TFEU

Space

Unanimity

QMV

172a TFEU

Energy

Unanimity

QMV

176a TFEU

Tourism

Unanimity

QMV

176b TFEU

Civil protection

Unanimity

QMV

176c TFEU

Administrative cooperation

Unanimity

QMV

176d TFEU

Emergency international aid

Unanimity

QMV

188i TFEU

Humanitarian aid

Unanimity

QMV

188j TFEU

Response to natural disasters or terrorism

(new item)

QMV

188R§3 TFEU

Economic and Social Committee

QMV

QMV

256a TFEU

Committee of the Regions

Unanimity

QMV

256a TFEU

Economic and Social Committee

Unanimity

QMV

256a TFEU

The EU budget

Unanimity

QMV

269 TFEU

Quite a shopping list!

But everyone remembers that Gordon Brown assured us that the changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty were so insignificant as to make a referendum unnecessary. The British people had no choice about surrendering considerable powers to Brussels on these areas and it was certainly not explained by the government that this is what was going to happen. All was apparently too complicated for the people to understand and nothing was really changing in any case

We may also remember Brown furtively arriving at Lisbon, after all the other leaders had left, skulking in to sign the treaty on his own - the ghastly muzak that accompanies such EU events still eerily playing.

Ultimately EU membership must be up to the British people to decide in a referendum. The longer that referendum is delayed the continuing antics of the new Euro Pact, not to mention the new Lisbon Treaty voting that arrives in 2014, will make a rejection of membership more and more of a racing certainty.


READER'S COMMENT

From Ben Dyson, founder and head of Positive Money commenting on Newsletter No 86, The End of Capitalism as We Know It.

Excellent article, Peter. Spot on.

I subsequently posted a shortened version of the article on the Positive Money Blog. It has attracted 229 "likes" and 30 comments so far. You can read the article and comments here on the blog.


Leave a Comment for Posting

You may use the online form.

You may also email Peter Kellow at peterkellow@republicanparty.org.uk


You are receiving this Newsletter either because you signed up to receive it on the Republican Party of Great Britain website or because you subscribed to the party. To unsubscribe click button below