Britain Could Lose Its Economic Sovereignty Tomorrow


by guest
17th May, 2010 at 10:01 pm    

This is a guest post by Shamit Ghosh

Britain can now be forced by ECOFIN to change its own budget and we do not have a veto – thanks to the Lisbon Treaty. In effect, we have lost our economic sovereignty – thanks to the former Labour Government and Lib Dems who refused us a referendum.

Tomorrow Spain and Portugal Governments would be presenting their national accounts to EU’s Council of Economics and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) to highlight that both countries have taken appropriate fiscal measures to reduce their deficit. This was a requirement set out by the ECOFIN last week before it approved the 750 Billion Euros to bolster the Euro. In other words, fiscal policies of EU member states are in effect now under the control of the European Union.

Last Wednesday, the President of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, announced plans to integrate European economies further. He said “In the end, we cannot have a monetary union without an economic union,” and this was reiterated by the unelected President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, when he told the media ““We can’t have a monetary union without some form of economic and – er – political union.”

The European Commission proposals have three key elements:

Firstly the national budgets of EU member states would have to be open to supervision & scrutiny from all other EU nations operating under the direction of the European Institutions.

Secondly, the European Commission would be monitoring macroeconomic imbalances and can recommend to the ECOFIN to require changes in a member states budget as ECOFIN operates under a qualified majority vote – no member state would have veto powers over its own budget. In other words, even if the UK Government feels it is important not to cut certain public expenditures, under these proposals it would have to comply.

Third, if a member state refuses to comply with the directives of the ECOFIN, then it would be penalised and the payments it receives from the European Union.

Fourth and finally, Europe would be creating a European Monetary Fund (EMF) similar to IMF which would be the lender of the last resort – Ollie Rehn, the European Commissioner for Monetary Affairs made it clear that the terms of the loans from would be so drastic that no member state would be voluntarily seeking assistance from this body.

While these proposals are primarily aimed at those 16 members of the Eurozone, the European Commission has made it clear that this would be applicable to all 27 member states in the European Union.

There have been protests against these measures from France, Germany as well as Sweden however these protests have been mostly related to the review of budgets by other member states. However, no member state has objected to these measures based on the erosion of national sovereignty and signing over economic independence to Brussels and unelected European Union institutions. Except for the United Kingdom, where governments past and present object to the European Institutions usurping power of democratically elected governments.

These measures, like the Lisbon Treaty are grossly undemocratic where a democratically elected government of a member state can be overruled on its own budget by other members of the European Union. This is a travesty of democracy and accountability of elected officials and this would mean in all effect the creation of an European super state without receiving any approval from Europeans.

During the debate on Lisbon Treaty, those of us who were opposing this treaty being implemented through the back door were rightly highlighting how the United Kingdom by accepting this treaty would sign over sovereignty to the European Union.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his party were the cheerleaders of the Lisbon Treaty along with the discredited Labour Government who pushed through the treaty without giving us a voice in the matter. And, now we have no legal power to stop European Union dictating how we should run our own finances and when and where we should be cutting public expenditures.

The Deputy Prime Minister, over the past weeks have made people power his rallying cry yet when it came to action, his party along with Labour party forced this treaty upon us which is now undermining our democracy.

The British public was promised a referendum on the European Constitution, and when this publication and others, highlighted how the Lisbon Treaty was not much different from the Constitution, our concerns were pushed away saying this was not the Constitution and therefore we should not have a vote. All three main political parties at the 2005 election promised us a referendum and the only ones who were willing to keep their word on this were the Conservative Party. And today, our worst fears are being realised – EU member states can order the democratically elected British Government how to manage its own budget and Britain does not have a veto.

Who should we hold responsible for undermining our democracy?


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  1. Me Myself and I

    Well done Gordon Brown #ge10 #labour RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: Britain Could Lose Its Economic Sovereignty Tomorrow http://bit.ly/a5mPMP


  2. sunny hundal

    Blog post:: Britain Could Lose Its Economic Sovereignty Tomorrow http://bit.ly/a5mPMP


  3. Britain Could Lose Its Economic Sovereignty Tomorrow | EconomicReview Journal

    [...] Britain Could Lose Its Economic Sovereignty Tomorrow Posted on May 17, 2010 by theyenguy Britain Could Lose Its Economic Sovereignty Tomorrow [...]




  1. D-Notice — on 17th May, 2010 at 10:14 pm  

    Are there any references for the claims made in this article?

  2. Anthony Zacharzewski — on 17th May, 2010 at 10:23 pm  

    There are two problems with your argument. First, we don’t have any economic sovereignty. Second, what’s currently on the table in Europe wouldn’t take it away.

    Let’s start with the first one. Who bosses the British Government around? Not the European Commission, but the bankers and bond markets. Their economic doctrine says cut services, so we have to cut. If their economic doctrine is wrong, we don’t have the sovereignty to say “no, I don’t agree” – our economy gets a pounding.

    Then let’s turn to Europe. I don’t join in with the wild hatred for the Euro that’s around in the UK at the moment. The Euro is preventing Greece from collapsing into meltdown as much as it’s causing its current problems with austerity measures. Give it a year or two and if the eurozone economies sort themselves out, Britain (exposed with a huge banking sector) might find that an independent, attackable currency isn’t the panacea everyone seems to think it is.

    But be that as it may, what’s on the table is greater fiscal co-ordination within the Eurozone, and a bit of finger-wagging from the Commission if countries stray off the beaten track. Lots of people say that’s not enough, including Wolfgang Munchau at the FT this morning, but whether it is or not, we’re not part of it. Anything serious along the lines of fiscal unification will need a treaty change, and then you might get that referendum you want.

    But isn’t it a bit depressing that Europe is in the middle of its greatest crisis since the second world war, and all British bloggers can bleat about is the bloody Lisbon Treaty? It’s like having a boring bloke with a chunky-knit sweater hanging around the Cabinet War Room talking about the proper procedure in relation to quora for decision-making as clearly set down in section 5 subsection 4 of the rules.

    I think that Europe is in a really dangerous place, and we are right in the middle of it. I suspect a big leap towards fiscal unification is going to be part of the solution for the Eurozone, not for us, and that we’re in trouble whether it succeeds or fails. If it succeeds, the attention turns to us, on our own and having told the Eurozone to piss off when it came to us for help. If it fails, the Euro collapses and all of Europe descends into fiscal hell while British eurosceptics have multiple orgasms of self-righteousness.

    Because after all, the most important thing about being on a sinking ship is to feel that you can wrap yourself in the Union Jack, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

  3. Shamit — on 17th May, 2010 at 11:09 pm  

    http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/articles/euro/documents/2010-05-12-com%282010%29250_final.pdf

    ****************************************

    http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/561&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

    ****************************************

    Anthony Zacharzewski -

    “The Euro is preventing Greece from collapsing into meltdown as much as it’s causing its current problems with austerity measures.”

    Not really – Greece was taking Euro down with it along with the fiscal deficits of Spain and portugal. Further, ECOFIN had to come up with a 750 Billion Euro package to save the Euro

    And its not only the Brits – the Germans did not like the bail out and Merkel was initially against it. And German voters in the recently held elections gave Merkel a bloody nose.

    German Bundestag don’t like these proposals neither does Sarkozy. And, the whole concept of a single currency was driven by the Federal Europe concept – and now we are getting it by the back door.

    And, the whole Lisbon treaty and the Euro currency is partly the reason we are having these issues in Europe. Without the currency we would not have the crisis Europe is having now and for good reasons we stayed out of it.

    ************************

    I know Jouyet said that Britain would have no help from Europe and guess what he is probably right. Could we have our money back please then that we have paid as one of the largest contributors to the European Union.

    The concept of unfunded mandate does not apply here – we are a group of free sovereign nations that chose to create a free market area and not this federal europe.

    As far as Europe’s much hyped collective strength, Copenhagen proved its nothing but hogwash – the three big players, UK, France and Germany had influence while Barroso and Reinfeldt (the then EU president) were informed by text as to what agreements were in place.
    ********************************

  4. Shamit — on 17th May, 2010 at 11:26 pm  

    And Anthony – you obviously don’t understand qualified majority vote – and that ECOFIN did impose those measures before passing the 750 Billion bailout on 9th of May.

    Also have you heard about the protectionism measures the qualified majority was going to bring in about hedge funds until barnier went to the US.

    As I said I am not a blogger – don’t claim to be one – but I make my living from understanding how Governments work and operate in the UK and EU.

  5. earwicga — on 17th May, 2010 at 11:41 pm  

    Good. Thanks for posting this Shamit, it has cheered me up immensely.

  6. Anthony Zacharzewski — on 18th May, 2010 at 12:18 am  

    Here’s the thing, you’re a Eurosceptic, I’m not. We’re never going to agree, but here are a few points:

    1. The very communication you link to starts off with a quote that shows it’s mainly about euro-area rather than EU-wide issues.
    2. Of the three pillars of the approach the Commission is setting out, the only elements that touch on the UK are a slight hardening of the rules on the Stability and Convergence Pact and advice and surveillance of fiscal policies, no power to mandate at all. The enhanced co-operation in pillar two and the crisis management framework apply to the Euro area.
    3. Greece may have been hurting the Eurozone, but imagine what the consequences of the current crisis would have been without the Euro in place for the PIIGS, Ireland in particular. Not pretty.
    4. Yes, the Germans didn’t like the bailout – I’m not sure how that strengthens your point about the evil undemocratic EU. After all, it was agreed by heads of Government, who are elected, at a summit. The Commission didn’t get their hands on the SPV, either.
    5. “The whole Lisbon Treaty and the Euro currency is partly the reason we are having these issues in Europe”. Well the Lisbon Treaty and the Euro are two very different things, and while the Euro hasn’t been an unqualified success, countries are still keen to join, and Estonia is the latest. So unless everyone other than the Brits has been drinking magic Euro-potion, there must be something in it.
    6. “Can we have our money back please” is the worst sort of snivelling Daily Mail complaint. Seriously. It’s a club. There are fees. We get benefits out of it. Deal.
    7. Actually, if you read the Treaty of Rome, and much of the commentary from the 1950s, the concept of Ever Closer Union was always meant to mean more than a free trade area, and was in the first Treaty as well as the version passed by referendum here in 1975. Indeed, the ECSC was designed to get the state’s hands off coal and steel for military reasons, not for economic ones. The idea that this was IEA paradise until suddenly it turned bad without warning is just nonsense.
    8. You claim there’s no such thing as collective strength, using a bad process (Copenhagen) where the UK, France and Germany led the EU’s discussions. Let’s be honest, the UK France and Germany lead many of the EU’s discussions, but that doesn’t fit very well with your idea that the UK is so very hard done by and powerless.
    9. Thanks, yes, I do understand qualified majority vote, and the Luxembourg Compromise, and Costa v ENEL and the co-decision procedure, so please don’t patronise me.

    The other thing I understand is a clearly written Commission communication that says that the Commission will make a few changes to the way in which it handles its advisory functions, and draft legislation which it won’t be able to pass without member state agreement, to put in place a three-point plan which enhances co-operation principally within the Eurozone, and will contain no compulsory or mandatory powers over the UK or change in any way in which the UK handles its fiscal affairs. And yet you still crank up the hysteria on how it’s all going to end tomorrow. It’s just nonsensical.

  7. Vikrant — on 18th May, 2010 at 12:22 am  

    And today, our worst fears are being realised – EU member states can order the democratically elected British Government how to manage its own budget and Britain does not have a veto.

    Who should we hold responsible for undermining our democracy?

    Our internationalist liberal establishment. Now why do we need to be a part of the EU again? One reason why UKIP makes perfect sense!

  8. Shamit — on 18th May, 2010 at 12:51 am  

    Anthony,

    Apologies if I was patronising – not my style and I should not have questioned your knowledge on European mechanisms – you are of course more informed than most people.

    However, while as you said we would always disagree on the scope of Europe I think you are diluting a key point. While I was writing the article, I was on the phone with Ollie Rehn’s Office and I would not have put down a headline such as the one I put on eGov monitor without making sure I got it right.

    It does affect all 27 member states

    Sweden and UK are both out of Eurozone but both have protested and if you do not believe me – I hope you would believe the BBC

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/douglasfraser/2010/05/looking_over_the_european_hedg.html

    *******************************************

    This is what the Swedish Prime Minister (leading a nation which is out of Eurozone) had to say and this is from Business Week:

    http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/may2010/gb20100514_406640.htm

    ***********************************************

    Like I have given you the due credit you deserve – give myself and our team at eGov monitor some credit too. We would not publish stuff that is factually wrong as I said not only me but a few other people make their living out of it.

    So the budget rules do apply – and ECOFIN can force any member state to change its budget and if they don’t they lose a part or all of their EU funding.

    ************************************************
    Vikrant -

    I am for UK membership in the European Union – but I view EU as a free market area in the model of NAFTA and ASEAN – a bit more as we do really have freedom of movement of goods, services and people.

    I am against creating a supra national state as well as any unaccountable and unelected body to govern us.

    UKIP does make some valid points but more often than not they go to crazy extremes.

    hey has your deployment order come yet? Congratulations on graduation which I guess if not already over coming soon. – drink one for me from the keg!!

  9. Vikrant — on 18th May, 2010 at 1:17 am  

    I cant really talk about deployment for obvious reasons but I still have a year to go with school. Just got done with my junior year! This summer should actually be quite interesting with the imminent offensive on Kandahar and the southeast. As for EU, it has already become a super state. I think its high time the union is renegotiated to make it more like NAFTA than anything else! UK does need people, but we need Polish programmers not plumbers!

  10. theyenguy — on 18th May, 2010 at 6:29 am  

    I have a number of comments:

    The Lisbon Treaty was of such importance that only national ministers, that is national officers, voted on it.

    Yes there was a requirement, set out by the ECOFIN last week before it approved the 750 Billion Euros to bolster the Euro, that Eurozone members submit their budgets. Yes, fiscal policies of EU member states are in effect now under the control of the European Union. The reason being that at the May 2010 European Summit, the EU Finance Ministers announced a region of global governance, specifically a federal economic, political, and monetary government, with funding of a EU Treasury which has the authority to buy ailing sovereign debt and to exercise seigniorage. Mr. Trichet is tasked as the EU’s Treasurer and Chief Banker.

    Their announcement effected a bloodless coup de etat; a new era of global governance has commenced; the affect is that the age of national sovereignty is history; sovereign nations are a principal of a bygone age.

    In the 27 member european area, one is no longer a citizen of a nation; rather one is a resident of a region of global governance.

    While these proposals are primarily aimed at those 16 members of the Eurozone, the European Commission has made it clear that this would be applicable to all 27 member states in the European Union — the reason being the exceptional conditions clauses of treaty law.

    Yes many in the United Kingdom object. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is on his patriotic pulpit about every other day; like when will he get it — democracy died. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an European super state without receiving any approval from Europeans, as there was an economic crisis of epic proportions, that threatened the stability of the Euro, and the EU Finance Ministers and Leaders of State announced a European Economic Government.

    As we stand tonight, the European Economic Government, specifically ECOFIN, is the Sovereign of the 27 member european area ; and Mr. Trichet is its Seignior.

  11. cjcjc — on 18th May, 2010 at 6:55 am  

    Anthony – you conveniently ignore the fact that the PIGS wouldn’t be in this mess but for the euro.

  12. Rumbold — on 18th May, 2010 at 8:24 am  

    Great piece Shamit.

  13. Anthony Zacharzewski — on 18th May, 2010 at 8:45 am  

    Shamit, thanks for your response, didn’t mean to be chippy. The articles you link to are still not enough to say that economic sovereignty is threatened. The first is about hedge fund regulation, which is very different, and the second is about the Commission examining (not changing) members’ budget proposals.

    The fundamental point is that today, the EU has no mandate, discretion or control – no sovereignty – over the fiscal decisions of the UK Parliament, and under these proposals it still won’t have, even if there is more regulation of hedge funds under existing financial service regulation powers.

    Theyenguy and Vikrant – if you could point out one occasion on which the control of the UK Parliament over its fiscal decisions has been compromised by the EU, I’d be interested to hear it. Not regulation, since that’s not a matter of government spending except on the margins. Not the budget contribution to the EU, as that’s something we signed up to when we joined, and indeed we get a rebate on it. Some occasion when the government has wanted to spend money on, say, the NHS or social care, and the EU has overruled Parliament and said “no, you can’t spend that money there”. That’s what sovereignty means. Until you can find such an example, and I don’t think there’s one let alone many, then all this talk about the EU being a superstate is just hot air and paranoia.

    cjcjc – the PIIGS are not in this mess because of the Euro, they are in this mess for a range of reasons from governmental incompetence and corruption (Greece) to bad demographics and an overheated property market (Spain). Eurozone interest rates weren’t always a good fit, in the same way that UK interest rates aren’t a good fit for all parts of the UK, and it’s fair to say that the boom in Spain and Ireland was partly a result. Conversely, though, the Euro has shielded them from the worst effects of the fiscal bust, and although painful measures are being taken now, they are reforms that in some cases should have happened a long time ago. The most convincing argument for me is the number of economists in Ireland, Spain, etc., who are suggesting that their countries leave the Euro. I don’t know any that are – and that’s because they know that however bad it is inside the Euro, it would be worse outside.

  14. cjcjc — on 18th May, 2010 at 9:17 am  

    Wow – I’ve heard of denial, but you are in a different league!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/opinion/15krugman.html

    “It’s an ugly picture. But it’s important to understand the nature of Europe’s fatal flaw. Yes, some governments were irresponsible; but the fundamental problem was hubris, the arrogant belief that Europe could make a single currency work despite strong reasons to believe that it wasn’t ready.”

  15. cjcjc — on 18th May, 2010 at 9:31 am  

    Meanwhile:

    “The US Senate has voted 94:0 to block use of taxpayers’ money for IMF rescues that make no economic sense or bail-outs for countries like Greece that far are beyond the point of no return.”

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100005734/congress-blocks-indiscriminate-imf-aid-for-europe/

    Oh dear.

    And has the German Constitutional Court reached a definitive ruling?

  16. chairwoman — on 18th May, 2010 at 9:32 am  

    “I am for UK membership in the European Union – but I view EU as a free market area in the model of NAFTA and ASEAN – a bit more as we do really have freedom of movement of goods, services and people.

    I am against creating a supra national state as well as any unaccountable and unelected body to govern us.”

    When I stood in the polling booth at Algernon Road JMI back in 1975, that was what I, and millions like me, thought we were signing up to.

    Yes, with hindsight I could/should have actually read The Treaty of Rome (why on earth we trusted Edward Heath I really don’t know), but it was a hot summer, I was pregnant, and I believed, as I still do, that a free trade area was to our advantage.

    But I am relieved that we resisted the Euro, and would be even more relieved if we could go back to being trading partners, and leave the politics out of it as much as possible.

  17. Rumbold — on 18th May, 2010 at 10:03 am  

    I agree with Chairwoman. Sadly, given the unstoppable growth of Euro-federalism, we are left with two choices: accept it or get out. I would like to see the EU reformed, but since the centre control it and the centre don’t want reform, it will never happen.

  18. MaidMarian — on 18th May, 2010 at 10:57 am  

    Rumbold – I am always a bit cautious about that sort of line given that UK governments (of both parties) have a tendency to ‘gold-plate’ or bend what comes out of the EU.

    With the euro in particular the basic problem is that Germany is imposing deflation on the eurozone. The architecture of the euro is to fight inflation, whilst that is well and good it is a dragon that has probably been slain and unemployment is the bigger issue.

    It is also worth pointing out, in the spirit of your post, that prior to the euro, the EU had a perfectly serviceable single currency alongside national currencies – the ECU. It was never totally clear to me why it was necessary to replace the ECU.

  19. Shamit — on 18th May, 2010 at 11:35 am  

    I agree with Chairwoman too.

    We were taught in school that Parliament is Sovereign – and the Parliament cannot therefore enact any such laws that the following parliament cannot rescind. Lisbon Treaty does not allow us to do that and while we had referendums where power was devolved within the United Kingdom – here power was trasnferred to a foreign entity.

    Parliament derives its powers from the people and when you want the change the framework of goernance even in devolution you need approval from those who have loaned their power to you. And that’s where the previous Government failed – I am a fan of Blair but here Blair did a great disservice to the country.

    The argument that it is a club and it requires fees etc etc – hmm.

    1 – Its our money.

    2 – Tax and Spend decisions are for parliament to make alone – here by this ECOFIN decision that specific power is being usurped. That is a big deal. And ECOFIN would not have been able to make this decision before as we had a veto that was taken away by the Lison Treaty.

    3 – We voted to join a Common Market For Goods And Services – we did not seek a superstate and we definitely did not join to hand over powers of our parliament – shared sovereignty is no sovereignty when there is no democracy.

    4 – How many people voted for Barroso? 27 + he had to get his entire commission approved through EU parliament – but the parliament could not reject him
    How many people voted for Rompuy? 27

    How many people are in Europe? over 500 million

    How many times did the Constitution and its abridged version Lisbon Treaty get rejected? 3 Times

    So lets not kid ourselves – we handed over Sovereignty. Thank you Mr. Blair, Mr. Brown Mr. Miliband & how can we forget Mr. Cleggg )btw, he sacked his frontbench member because of wanting to give us a vote)

    Vox populi, vox dei is not always true but in some cases it must be true otherwise let us not call ourselves a democracy.

  20. MaidMarian — on 18th May, 2010 at 12:20 pm  

    Shamit – I realise you are probably going to give me a pasting here, but…

    The EU is based on a treaty, not a constitution so to an extent you are not comparing like with like. This is where the superstate argument does not quite work. Similarly, the referendums on devolution were about the Scotland Act. That Act can be repealed at any time, referendum or not.

    The problem you have here is that for all the throwing around the word, ‘democracy,’ referendums are not altogether democratic. The French voted for Maastricht on a 51:49 referendum – I would say that was a model of majoritarianism, not democracy. I think that the right-to-buy was undemocratic, can I have a referendum on retrospectively reversing that?

    Your complaints about the common market are not unreasonable. However at every British general election since 1970 (1974 apart, where the issues were fery different) the most pro-European of the main parties has won.

    Here is one for you. During the Iraq conflict, I was astounded at how many were willing to outsource desicions about war to the UN – is the UN a model of democracy? I don’t remember even getting a referendum on that.

    There are entirely good arguments against supra-national governance and against globalisation. There are even wider arguments about democracy/majoritarianism. But to be brutal, the hysterics and axe grinding on here are not really amongst them.

    I’ll sit back and let you flame me now.

  21. douglas clark — on 18th May, 2010 at 3:18 pm  

    Maidmarian,

    Similarly, the referendums on devolution were about the Scotland Act. That Act can be repealed at any time, referendum or not.

    I refer you to the Harry Callahan answer to that:

    “Go ahead, make my day.”

  22. MaidMarian — on 18th May, 2010 at 3:50 pm  

    douglas clark – I think that is one of the great film mis-quotes isn’t it?

    The Scotland Act is, as you rightly point out, not reversible in reality. It is a great example to those who like to gripe about the UK having no written constitution, we have a de facto written constitution, just not a de jure one.

  23. Shamit — on 18th May, 2010 at 6:04 pm  

    MaidMarian –

    Good points and while I have different views on the Scottish devolution I definitely agree on the UN.

    The very structure of the security council and its membership makes it obvious – it includes the following:

    1) US – the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons on civilian population

    2) Russia (soviet union) – well, there are not many worse examples of human rights, purges and ethnic cleansing.

    3) China – Occupying force in Tibet and have killed innocent peaceful protestors by smashing them under their tanks.

    And except for East Timor I can’t remember a single instance where the UN took decisive action that worked for the people of the country.

    So, no I do not subscribe to the view of UN having binding authority on nation states – and nation states acting without security council resolutions have saved lives and rebuilt countries and communities such as former yugoslavia

    ******************************

    Got to run now would address the other points later.

  24. earwicga — on 18th May, 2010 at 6:23 pm  

    So Shamit, did Britain lose it’s economic sovereignty today?

  25. MaidMarian — on 18th May, 2010 at 7:25 pm  

    Shamit – Thank you for your reply. You may also be interested to read ‘The European Rescue of the Nation State’ by Alan Milward. I can’t say I agree with all of it, but it is an interesting historical perspective.

    As with all government the question, to my mind is how best to do it. If the EU and the UN did not exist, there is an extent to which we would need to invent them. As I said earlier, the ECU was a doing a perfectly good job as a single currency and I can not for the life of me see why anyone though that the euro was a superior option.

  26. Rumbold — on 18th May, 2010 at 9:40 pm  

    MaidMarian:

    I agree that national governments ‘gold-plate’ laws/directives. But even if they didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to stop this tidal wave of regulation without withdrawing. Sadly there seems to be no middle ground.

  27. douglas clark — on 18th May, 2010 at 11:32 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Assuming you want to pass a law about something non controversial, safety standards for nail guns or summat, does it not make sense for the costs of drafting and auditing the legislation to be a shared cost?

    How much of the legislation that comes from the EU is, in fact, controversial?

    On the Euro, perhaps we need to look again at history. The origin of the US dollar took a while….

  28. douglas clark — on 18th May, 2010 at 11:36 pm  

    Shamit,

    What model of international co-operation are you advocating then, if any?

  29. Rumbold — on 19th May, 2010 at 8:27 am  

    Douglas:

    Assuming you want to pass a law about something non controversial, safety standards for nail guns or summat, does it not make sense for the costs of drafting and auditing the legislation to be a shared cost?

    How much of the legislation that comes from the EU is, in fact, controversial?

    Since 1997 the EU and the British government have brought thousands of laws into being. Over 66 different types of official now have the right to enter your home without your permission. Did we really need all of those laws? I take the view thar each and every law should be justified to the public before it is enacted. If that slows down the number of laws, good. The average citizen should be able to have a good grasp of law and tax, yetwe have tens of thousands of laws and the tax code tops 11,000 pages. This means that the disconnect between citizen and state is far too large.

  30. cjcjc — on 19th May, 2010 at 8:28 am  

    How about the US – Canada model?

    That’ll do me.

  31. douglas clark — on 19th May, 2010 at 1:08 pm  

    Rumbold,

    I obviously agree with you about the amount of legislation, and indeed about the complexity of the tax structure. I would assume that every other EU state must be in the same pickle. It is as reasonable to argue for a slowing down of legislation at an EU level as it is at a national level.

  32. douglas clark — on 19th May, 2010 at 1:14 pm  

    cjcjc,

    That would be the NAFTA model would it? Which includes the NAALC whose aims establish a set of Objectives, Obligations and Labor Principles that all Parties are committed to promote; it also creates mechanisms for cooperative activities and intergovernmental consultations, as well as for independent evaluations and dispute settlement related to the enforcement of each nation’s labor laws.

    Jolly good stuff.

  33. cjcjc — on 19th May, 2010 at 1:27 pm  

    Absolutely – all jolly good stuff, principles, consultation, cooperation, dispute settlement, while no (pointless, corrupt and expensive) supranational body has legal supremacy over either US or Canadian law.

    Oh, and no single currency either.

    I’m amazed Canada is doing so well. Yet the EU-maniacs assure us that if we (somewhat larger relative to Europe than Canada is to the US) were to revert to such a relationship with the EU we would be doomed…

  34. tm — on 19th May, 2010 at 10:42 pm  

    I see.

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