Wednesday, December 14, 2011

House of Commons debate on EU veto

Debate starts 18:48:15 (Corrected from 16:48 originally posted - H/T Witterings from Witney.

Update: The contribution from Bill Cash, well worth reading and viewing, from Hansard was as follows:
8.26 pmMr William Cash (Stone) (Con): The reality is that the markets are already demonstrating that there is almost no chance of the euro being saved. In addition, it is way beyond legal devices for people to claim that they will be able to stitch together an arrangement through some method of enhanced co-operation, article 136 and all the rest of it, against the background of the implosion going on outside in the eurozone, and indeed
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in the European Union as a whole. I am disturbed by some of the language that I have been reading in the papers. As I indicated in an intervention on my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, legal advice has already been given, presumably by the Foreign Office, to the Government that they will be able to stitch together some kind of device that will enable the European Commission and the European Court of Justice to give a spurious authority—a spurious jurisdiction—to the deal between the 17 plus the others that wish to join in with them.
I would go further and say that, as has been said by a number of my hon. Friends, there are indications that some of the countries concerned are beginning to realise that when they go back to their Parliaments they will have to look also to their electors. The idea of unanimity in the confines of the euro establishment’s comfy offices is not quite the same as having to face the consequences of the austerity measures, and to face up to protests and riots in some of those countries. That is where the decisions will eventually be taken, because we are talking about people; we are not talking about machines. We are not just talking about jurisdiction. There is far too much talk of trying to stitch up arrangements for the sake of convenience.
Mr Stewart Jackson: Is my hon. Friend not as incredulous as I am that those on the left in this country and across Europe are willing to be complicit in support for these fiscal policies? Working people in Europe will be subject to social discord, stagflation, unemployment and depression for the sake of the continuation of the European Union’s policies.
Mr Cash: Yes. This fantasy of a European Union and how it has developed through the existing treaties is the reason why we have the crisis in Europe as a whole. That is why we need fundamental change: the existing treaties are the cause of the crisis. It is not just a question of the single markets or, for that matter, the single market—
Ian Paisley rose
Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and East Falkirk) (Lab) rose
Mr Cash: I will give way one more time, to the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Michael Connarty) who is a member of the European Scrutiny Committee.
Michael Connarty: I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman but I think he is perhaps getting carried away by his own conclusions before using logic. Clearly, the crisis that faces all the countries in Europe, and most other developed countries, comes from the profligate madness of the casino-based banking system that all the countries joined in with. The eurozone might be under greater pressure, but it is not in as bad a condition, in reality, as the US economy at this moment. It is just that, unlike the US, it is not united enough to deal with the crisis as one country.
Mr Cash: I understand what the hon. Gentleman is saying, but with about 47% youth unemployment in Spain and in Greece, for example, and 30% in Italy, and so on, youth unemployment is a really serious problem, and there is not the same problem in some of the other countries to which the hon. Gentleman referred.
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I am afraid that both the Opposition and the Liberal Democrats are completely out of their depth on this subject. For the Deputy Prime Minister to say that this historic vote, which will change the whole future of the European Union and our relationship with it, is bad for Britain is simply absurd. I do not want to go further than that, but I want to get on the record the fact that it is irresponsible of the Deputy Prime Minister to make such a statement. To claim that influence can be retained in a room when you know in advance not only that everyone will vote against you but that they all have the power to continue to do so involves living in a fantasy world not unlike that of Alice in Wonderland.
Let me turn briefly to the question of this attempt, this device, this spurious method that people are trying to stitch together to give the measure some degree of authority despite all the realities of the crisis in the eurozone and in the European Union as a whole. There is an attempt to give the European Court of Justice and the European Commission some jurisdiction over this so-called separate treaty. I am not at all sure that it will be a treaty—at best it will only be an agreement—but people are calling it a treaty. I am very worried about the looseness of the language; I want just to make that point on its own.
The main objection to reinforcing the eurozone by means of an intergovernmental agreement is that the rules agreed under the European Union treaties—by which I mean EU primary legislation—by the 27 member states for the operation of the eurozone are to be modified by a separate agreement that does not have primacy over EU treaty law, and so cannot modify or be in conflict with EU treaty law, and that has not been agreed to by all 27 member states. It is vital to stick to that principle, which is at the heart of how the European Union functions. I might be critical of how the European Union has developed under the existing treaties, but those who are against us cannot have it both ways.
As for the objective, the hope seems to be that the provisions of an international agreement can be incorporated
“into the treaties of the Union as soon as possible.”
That is in the statement on the agreement. In other words, the objective of getting the arrangement stitched up into the new treaty has already been set. I must advise the Government that it will not be in their interests to give effect to the proposal through a stitch-up or a device. The European Scrutiny Committee, of course, will be considering all those questions. In addition, the EU treaties require unanimity, so in order to make such a change unanimity would be required—unanimity that would have to include the United Kingdom. That would lead to a great deal of trouble for the Government if they were to attempt to achieve a stitch-up.



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