"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Are We Being Threatened?

While we're all concentrating on domestic problems thrown up by this hung parliament the EU is still pushing towards economic and political union.

Former French Europe Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet told Europe 1 Radio this morning: "There is not a two-speed Europe but a three-speed Europe. You have Europe of the euro, Europe of the countries that understand the euro ... and you have the English. The English are very certainly going to be targeted given the political difficulties they have. Help yourself and heaven will help you. If you don't want to show solidarity to the eurozone, then let's see what happens to the United Kingdom."

That doesn't sound particularly neighbourly to me, especially considering the billions we've thrown at the IMF and EU bailout funds over the past two years.

EU Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn will also be proposing new eurozone rules on Wednesday, including a plan for eurozone members to examine each others' budgets before they go to national parliaments. They could reject the budgets on the basis of some kind of majority vote, with the country whose budget is being examined unable to vote.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, when asked whether the European stabilisation fund could be seen as "an ounce of federalism", replied: "It's more than just an ounce of federalism, since the European fund will buy bonds and propose loans".

The EP's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) has also been busy on our behalf.  Yesterday it voted to toughen up a controversial proposal which would see the creation of three new EU authorities to supervise the banking, insurance & securities sector - going well beyond measures proposed by member states and the European Commission. Unlike previous proposals, MEPs voted to base the three authorities in Frankfurt, operating under a single "quasi-umbrella authority". The proposal gives the EU authorities substantial new powers, such as the possibility of drawing up financial rules which could then be made legally binding by Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier.

The authorities would have the power to override national supervisors, such as the FSA, and would be given the means to directly supervise cross-border financial institutions. In these instances, national supervisors "would act as agents of the EU authority", according to the MEPs' proposals. The authorities would also be given the power to ban a financial product if it is "felt to pose too much risk".   Institutions directly supervised at EU level would also be obliged to contribute to a "European deposit guarantee fund" and a "European stability fund".

All these new initiatives increasing the power of the EU should trigger a re-writing of the Lisbon Treaty, thereby giving the opportunity for referenda across all the countries but the powers that be are more likely to try and pass them off within a protocol attached to the Treaty and so avoid, once again, giving the people a say.  Let's hope the Conservatives are busy working on their UK Parliamentary Sovereignty Bill.

H/t:  Open Europe

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