A daily blog on the thrills, spills, and frequent absurdities of the world's one and only 'non-imperial empire' - as Barroso himself called it - the European Union.

Anything to say? Contact me at europeandisunion@yahoo.co.uk

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Britain Has Lost Economic Sovereignty

The only openly Eurosceptic newspaper in the United Kingdom finally speaks out: the Daily Express has stuck its head above the parapet to report the final destruction of British economic sovereignty. Congratulations to the Independent for being, well, independent the other day, and telling us of the 74% increase in our net contribution to Brussels in the space of one year, but, in my opinion, that is of little cause for concern compared to this.

Herman van Rompuy, the first permanent President of the European Council - i.e. the man that 'presides' over the assemblies of our elected heads of state - has proposed a new 'growth survey' to be carried out solely by European institutions. This will give EU officials the unquestionable right to see statistics and details relating to the British economy, including the Budget. It comes almost a year after David Cameron warned Merkel that he would veto any proposals to give the EU power to examine and revise national budgets, as reported in the Times, and is yet another example of the EU doing through unelected officials what it could not do through democratic means.

That veto has now been overruled; a clear display of the power of the President if ever there was one, that he personally can override the collective decision of twenty-seven European heads of state. Not only will this new step pave the way for the EU gaining the powers which David Cameron vetoed at the European Council, it is also suspected - by Eurosceptics, admittedly - that it will enhance Brussel's powers to impose taxes on British citizens. It also gives them control over the economic affairs of our Parliament. 'Ministers insist,' says the Daily Express, 'the move will have little effect on the UK because most of its recommendations are already carried out by parliament.' But that's for this year. What about next year, or the year after that, or the year after that? As the money we give to the EU every year increases exponentially, so does their control over our national budget.

And there's more to this spectacularly undemocratic presidential decree that meets the eye. Not only is it against the will of the European Council, it was also waved through without a vote in our own parliament. David Cameron, who used no uncertain terms when threatening to veto the proposals in 2010, has now signed them off without a Commons debate. We not only have an unelected and unaccountable president riding roughshod over our heads of government; we have a head of government that seems unaware that parliament exists. Perhaps he has no need of it, if so many crucial decisions are now made by invisible officials in Brussels. The actions of van Rompuy and David Cameron show only too well their contempt for the separation of powers and unaccountability, the two key pillars of democratic government. As ultimate control over Britain's economic affairs is cheerfully handed over to unelected commissioners and beaurocrats, the British people - and the European peoples, given van Rompuy's involvement - can mourn the loss of their democracy in the truest sense of the word.

The Eurosceptics who opposed the Lisbon Treaty were right; the president's role is one of truly awesome power, and he has used it, by decree, to steal the last remnants of fiscal independence from the UK. Don't bother voting for MPs based on how they'll spend your taxes, what they'll fund, or what they'll cut. It will only happen if Brussels allows it.

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