EU – ON LEAVING
EU – ON LEAVING
Sunday 8 July 2012
Putting together our best assessment of a fluid situation, Booker asserts that, whatever David Cameron and Lord Mandelson may say, the referendum is not something that can simply be pushed away into the indefinite future.
On the Continent, the talk is that, despite the fiasco of the recent “summit”, there urgently needs to be another major treaty, which would be so far-reaching in its moves towards political union. Should this come to fruition, thanks to Cameron’s “referendum lock”, Britain would be one of many countries obliged to hold a referendum.
Meanwhile, in Britain all the relentless chatter has only demonstrated, again, the astonishing ignorance on this side of the Channel about the real nature of the “European project”.
Two arguments in particular are often heard – each based on a fundamental misconception. One is that we need a referendum because today’s “Europe” is so different from the one we joined in 1973. The other, encouraged by Cameron himself, is that in due course we can negotiate a new relationship with it, involving a “repatriation of powers”.
The Common Market we joined was never intended to be anything but a staging post on the way to eventual political union, as the politicians who led us into it were fully aware.
When Booker and I were researching our history of the project, some years ago, we were able to document in detail how, as far back as 1961, Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath were left in no doubt that political union was the ultimate goal.
But, as Cabinet papers of the time reveal, Macmillan was convinced that the British people would not accept this, and that it must therefore be sold to them as no more than a trading arrangement.
This was one reason why we called our book The Great Deception – an epithet that is even more appropriate to the time, a decade later, when Heath finally secured Britain’s membership, assuring us that it would involve “no essential loss of sovereignty”.
Many people did indeed fondly imagine that we were merely joining a “free trade area” – but only because they were being deliberately deceived. Heath knew full well that the Common Market (in fact a tightly regulated customs union) was only a preliminary step towards the “ever closer union” that we have seen taking shape since – of which the euro was designed to be the supreme symbol.
The project’s core doctrine has always been the acquis communautaire: the rule that once powers are handed over to Brussels they can never be given back. That is why it is futile to talk of Britain negotiating a “new relationship” with Brussels involving repatriation of powers. It cannot happen, because it would be in breach of the project’s most sacred principle.
There is only one way in which we could force the other EU states into negotiating a new relationship for Britain. If our politicians, led by Cameron, were actually to read the treaty, they would find this power under Article 50, inserted at Lisbon: such a negotiation can only be triggered if we notify the EU that we wish to leave it.
Then, and only then, would our EU colleagues be compelled (rather than “persuaded”) to enter into the negotiations necessary to establish our “future relationship with the Union”.
As we have said before, the very last thing Cameron could countenance is notifying the EU that we wish to leave it – even though the alternative is that, under a new treaty, we would remain impotently in the second tier of an EU wholly controlled by the eurozone.
But unless all the Tory MPs clamouring for the “repatriation of powers” grasp the crucial importance of Article 50, talk of a referendum on a “new relationship” with the EU is just self-deceiving fluff.
Either we go for Article 50, or we are doomed to become second-class European citizens – that is, until the EU itself disintegrates, because it is incapable of finding a rational solution to the stupendous shambles that its reckless ambition has led it into.
That is Booker’s conclusion but, so deeply embedded is the self-deception and ignorance within the Conservative party, that it is hard to see any immediate changes or better understanding of the situation. Cameron, therefore, is condemned to surrender the initiative and to react to situations over which he has no control.
We have no idea when (or if) the “colleagues” will succeed in finalising their new treaty, but the best estimate is that it will come about at roughly the same time the British general election is under way. Thus, Cameron will be forced to hold a referendum, on the “wrong” issues at the wrong time, under circumstances which could be electorally damaging unless managed with a great deal more skill than he has so far shown.
For reasons I explored earlier, this early referendum cannot be an “in/out” referendum, and could have to be so framed that Cameron is forced (or wishes to) support the EU position.
The more I think of this, the more impossible the position seems to become. The best way is to invoke an early Article 50 notification and opt out of the new treaty negotiations and ratification.
To do so, though, would require political courage and clarity, two attributes for which Cameron is not famous. But, for want of action, he risks allowing himself to be trapped in a position from which there is no escape.
Perversely, then, the escape route lies in the Lisbon treaty, the very treaty on which he promised a referendum and then resiled. How ironic it will be if ignoring that same treaty proves to be his downfall.
For the record here is ARTICLE 50 of The Treaty of Lisbon:
50. Declaration concerning Article 10 of the Protocol on transitional provisions The Conference invites the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, within their respective powers, to seek to adopt, in appropriate cases and as far as possible within the five-year period referred to in Article 10(3) of the Protocol on transitional provisions, legal acts amending or replacing the acts referred to in Article 10(1) of that Protocol.
Obtained from The EU .pdf of The Treaty of Lisbon which can be dowloaded free at: CLICK HERE
Now there will be those amongst you who realise that due to what would seem to be deliberate obfuscation on the part of the ENARCS & Bureaucrats of The EU – Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty IS NOT relevant 😉
Here we go with EUroSpeak!
The Consolidated Treaty of the Functioning of The EU as amended by The Lisbon Treaty is something entirely different as you will see when you read it, and do note it is officially called:
‘Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union’
Article 50 – as on page 44 – as follows:
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.
In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking
account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.
That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European
It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
30.3.2010 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 83/43
Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union 43
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the
procedure referred to in Article 49.
Should you wish to read this in the ‘official’ text in context you can do so by downloading the entire 410 pages FREE – Just CLICK HERE
For your further confusion and obfuscation there is a further Article 50 on page 69 and possibly others! They are not however those that you are looking for!
Article 48 would seem to have some VERY unpleasant authorities for the new supra national state to alter much in the Treaty based on little more than its own choice – a self ammending treaty which is binding on the signators would surely render it null and void under any form of ‘principled’ law to whit British Law as it was untill debased and debunked by EU ‘Corpus Juris’ – read the article and see what YOU make of it or implications and promises by corrupt politicians to put future changes to their people if they are additions to The Treaty terms (Now the Treaty states there are no additions possible but it can be added to at any time in accord with the treaty terms – A Blank Cheque!!):
(ex Article 48 TEU)
1. The Treaties may be amended in accordance with an ordinary revision procedure. They may also be amended in accordance with simplified revision procedures.
30.3.2010 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 83/41
Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union 41 Ordinary revision procedure
2. The Government of any Member State, the European Parliament or the Commission may submit to the Council proposals for the amendment of the Treaties. These proposals may, inter alia, serve either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties.
These proposals shall be submitted to the European Council by the Council and the national Parliaments shall be notified.
3. If the European Council, after consulting the European Parliament and the Commission, adopts
by a simple majority a decision in favour of examining the proposed amendments, the President of
the European Council shall convene a Convention composed of representatives of the national
Parliaments, of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, of the European
Parliament and of the Commission. The European Central Bank shall also be consulted in the
case of institutional changes in the monetary area. The Convention shall examine the proposals
for amendments and shall adopt by consensus a recommendation to a conference of representatives
of the governments of the Member States as provided for in paragraph 4.
The European Council may decide by a simple majority, after obtaining the consent of the European
Parliament, not to convene a Convention should this not be justified by the extent of the proposed
amendments. In the latter case, the European Council shall define the terms of reference for a
conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States.
4. A conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States shall be convened by
the President of the Council for the purpose of determining by common accord the amendments to
be made to the Treaties.
The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance
with their respective constitutional requirements.
5. If, two years after the signature of a treaty amending the Treaties, four fifths of the Member
States have ratified it and one or more Member States have encountered difficulties in proceeding
with ratification, the matter shall be referred to the European Council.
Simplified revision procedures
6. The Government of any Member State, the European Parliament or the Commission may
submit to the European Council proposals for revising all or part of the provisions of Part Three
of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union relating to the internal policies and action of
The European Council may adopt a decision amending all or part of the provisions of Part Three of
the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The European Council shall act by unanimity
after consulting the European Parliament and the Commission, and the European Central Bank in the
case of institutional changes in the monetary area. That decision shall not enter into force until it is
approved by the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.
The decision referred to in the second subparagraph shall not increase the competences conferred on
the Union in the Treaties.
C 83/42 EN Official Journal of the European Union 30.3.2010
42 Consolidated Treaties
7. Where the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union or Title V of this Treaty provides
for the Council to act by unanimity in a given area or case, the European Council may adopt a
decision authorising the Council to act by a qualified majority in that area or in that case. This
subparagraph shall not apply to decisions with military implications or those in the area of defence.
Where the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for legislative acts to be
adopted by the Council in accordance with a special legislative procedure, the European Council may
adopt a decision allowing for the adoption of such acts in accordance with the ordinary legislative
Any initiative taken by the European Council on the basis of the first or the second subparagraph
shall be notified to the national Parliaments. If a national Parliament makes known its opposition
within six months of the date of such notification, the decision referred to in the first or the second
subparagraph shall not be adopted. In the absence of opposition, the European Council may adopt
For the adoption of the decisions referred to in the first and second subparagraphs, the European
Council shall act by unanimity after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, which shall
be given by a majority of its component members.
I do however stress a very major caveat:
To overlook negotiation, in detail, of Britain’s, now seemingly inevitable, exit from The EU under the terms of Article 50, as explained above would not only be a breech of The Vienna Convention on international treaties but gross and irresponsible folly.
Many advocate that Briatin merely repeals The EUropean Communities Act and then thus Leave-The-EU based upon a variety of simplistic statements along the lines of:
“Any such discrimination against Britain when we Leave-The-EU would be illegal under the provisions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), of whose predecessor the UK was a founder member in 1948”.
As I recall amongst others who have fallen into this trap are Neil Kinnok and Nigel Farage and thus it has become something of a mantra amongst the less well informed members of the EUroSceptic movement!
Referring to the WTO website, which can reasonably be taken as an authority on this issue, it does tell us that, under the WTO agreements, countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners.
To grant someone a special favour (such as a lower customs duty rate for one of their products), the WTO site states, and you are obliged to do the same for all other WTO members.
The WTO site goes on to say, “some exceptions are allowed”. Such as, “countries can set up a free trade agreement that applies only to goods traded within the group — discriminating against goods from outside”.
Thus it could not be clearer that the simplistic mantra of the less informed EUroSceptics and even those in Government, who should know better, does beyond any reasonable doubt give the lie to the simplistic exit plan! – Countries within a free trade area (for instance) can have preferential arrangements between themselves, which are not available to countries outside the area.
This, the WTO site tells us, is accommodated by an updated “understanding” to the original GATT Article XXIV, agreed in 1994, a provision which covers “Regional Trade Unions”, of which the EU’s customs union is clearly one.
What this means is that the EU can – and does – have preferential arrangements which apply only to member states, and which do not apply to countries outside the EU – unless they too have a free trade arrangement with the EU.
The simplistic mantra about the EU and Britain’s exit simply isn’t true.
Should the UK leave the EU, without negotiating a new agreement, for which there is very clear guidance under Article 50, we would no longer be part of the customs union, nor part of any free trade agreement. Thus, the UK would no longer benefit from any of the preferential arrangements which applied to members of the respective “clubs”.
Outside the EU, the UK could, and most likely would, be treated exactly the same as any other country which was not part of the customs union, or member of a free trade agreement. Our exports would be subject to stringent controls at the point of entry to the EU (and the EEA generally), tariffs would be payable, where applicable, and non-conforming products would be rejected.
In June 2013 you will have noted the imposition of tarriffs by the EU against China, over their supply of relatively inexpensive solar panels, a protectionist move which risks a full blown trade war!
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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