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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Foreign Affairs Select Committee welcomes "Double Majority" voting at the EBA as concrete example of UK influence in Europe

Double majority lock voting at the EBA was a
significant and valuable use of UK influence
In a report published today the influential cross-party House of Commons Foreign Select Affairs Committee commended David Cameron "for launching an ambitious agenda for EU reform". The full report, including evidence presented by Open Europe, also makes a number of sensible observations such as:
"the point of a Member State having influence in the EU is to achieve EU policy outcomes that realise its interests and objectives."
We agree - too often the EU is described by politicians in terms of "influence" and being "at the table" something that looks (and often is) of more benefit to politicians than those they serve - something we pointed out in our evidence:
"Open Europe contended that 'influence’ is a term too often used in a rather lazy and undefined way”. Open Europe argued that the debate on UK influence in the EU should focus on identifying the concrete cases where the UK should exercise influence and had or had not done so."
One case made of very tough concrete we brought to the MPs attention is the tricky issue of EU voting weights:
"Open Europe reminded us that from 2014 the Eurozone states will command sufficient weighted votes in the Council of the EU to muster the qualified majority required to take Single Market decisions alone."
For this reason we have argued consistently that the UK needs a new safeguard to protect itself from Eurozone caucusing. The test case for this was the adoption of "Double majority" voting in the EBA - originally proposed by Open Europe.

The achievement of this new "double majority" was therefore a genuine success for UK diplomacy and has a significance well beyond that of the EBA. We are therefore glad the Committee picked up on it. As they conclude:
"The agreement on the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) which was struck among EU Finance Ministers in December 2012 was significant on several grounds. It shows what the UK can achieve, in terms of protecting its position in the Single Market, through close and constructive engagement and innovative policy solutions."
"We note that the deal went some way towards entrenching the kind of safeguard against discrimination in the Single Market that the Government failed to secure in the December 2011 negotiations on the ‘fiscal compact’. We also note that the arrangements that were agreed to protect non-Eurozone states—on this occasion, for ‘double majority’ voting in the European Banking Authority—responded directly to a concrete proposal (in this case, one which gave rise directly to a risk of caucusing)."
They could not have put it better.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

i dont believe it--just a sop

Anonymous said...

More pro-Eurofascist pablum from Open Europe and their friends in government.

Nothing to see here ...

Freedom Lover said...

All this effort could so easily be saved by the UK just leaving the EU! But to protect our currently favourable trade position in the Single Market, we do have to leave by the EU-approved means - ie by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

If we just go, however tempting that is, we will immediately become in EU terminology a GSP (General System of Preferences) country (like the USA, Hong Kong, Australia etc) subject to unavoidable EU tariffs & mandatory inspection of our goods - & probable rejection of some of them by EU staff. That's why the UK's departure has to be done via Article 50 & its 2-year negotiation period, to iron out any complications that may arise - & I suspect there will be many!

Otherwise if we just exit without negotiations, when as a result the EU (because its own law requires it to do so) holds up or rejects our EU-destined exports, our only resort would be to reject our own EU-sourced imports, which we might well need urgently. Putting high retaliatory tariffs on them would only cause us to end up paying these tariffs ourselves on those imports we could not get easily elsewhere, & would also be in breach of WTO rules unless applied to ALL countries rather than just those EU ones which had particularly irritated us (did anyone say France?).

So let's save ourselves the bother of any more EU contortionism which is what this Double Majority business is, by leaving. But our exit must be via the EU's Article 50, otherwise we will be the only one suffering - & initially suffering considerably!

Anonymous said...

The real point which is simply not considered is not the 'influence' UK has in new regulations, but that we don't want the damned regulations at all 'influenced' or not.

UK 'influence' just means regulations have got one more input to make them even more intrusive.