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.

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Thursday, 9 June 2011

The UK Has Lost Economic Sovereignty

EU flags displayed in Brussels. Picture by Lemonc.

Take a look at these two articles. One is from the Guardian, and was written in June 2010. It states that the UK has vetoed the proposals by the unelected Commission to examine and scrutinise national budgets before their respective parliaments get to vote on them. The idea was 'flatly rejected' by the British government. Now take a look at this article, from January 2011. The EU, obviously not happy about being contradicted, went back to try to push the proposals through a second time.

British ministers warned that this would effectively end Britain's fiscal independence, and, by removing parliament's right to see and vote on the budget before the unelected European executive and other member states unaccountable to the national electorate, would end our democratic control over the finances of this country. But, no, there was no resistance a second time around: the proposals got through, and now the EU can remark on our national expenditure with impunity.

Note how I had to go to the Filipino site to find out the details of what the EU actually said: British and European papers never said anything about most of the information on that page. If it wasn't for the foreign media, we wouldn't know what our elected representatives were doing, or what the unelected officials were telling them to do.

Note, also, how they describe it - quite correctly - as an EU 'report card.' The EU may be quite correct in its analysis of the UK economy - it might not be. But who gave it the right to intervene in matters that should be the sole preserve of a democratically-elected government? The idea of an elected Chancellor making decisions on the economy, with full accountability to the general public, is a good one. At least, it is superior to the idea of unelected people controlling a nation's economy.

The more power that unelected officials have over our economy, the less power we, as individuals, have over the economy, and, by extension, our own finances. What happens when the EU advises the government to increase taxes or raise VAT? It may well be incredibly unpopular with the people and economically damaging - but there's nothing that we could do about it.

These unelected officials can tell the elected government what to do. The elected elements of this review of the UK's budget may include other elected heads of government, and MEPs, but neither of them are actually elected by the people that their decisions affect, being the representatives of other EU nations or European constituencies in other countries. Their legitimacy to comment on UK affairs is equally questionable. Basically, an elected government of a country should have the right to govern the country that elected them, and the new Brussels powers over budgets - which the UK actually rejected once - is a clear violation of that basic principle of democratic and statehood. And this isn't standardising safety requirements or banning imperial units; this is the economy, one of the most important aspects of government, and the one that should, above all, be ultimately in the control of the people.

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