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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sarko drops a bomb: At least half of EU powers should return to member states

Three days ahead of the European Parliament elections in France, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has written a bombshell piece on Europe for French weekly Le Point and German daily Die Welt - calling for "at least half" of current EU powers to be handed back to member states.

Here are the key bits:
We need to look at today's European Union with lucidity. It can't work at 28 as it did at six, nine, or even twelve [member states]. I sincerely believe that there will be no alternative to a drastic reduction of the extent of [the EU's] competences. The situation today borders on the ridiculous and condemns us to powerlessness. 

[...]
Europe has ended up creating an administrative labyrinth, with the Commission and its departments, which indeed need to keep themselves busy. The result: hundreds of directives about the most various and often the most pointless issues. 
Today, we need to scrap at least half of [the EU's] current competences - which will have to be taken on by member states tomorrow. We need to regroup Europe's competences into less than ten basic priority policy areas: industry, agriculture, competition, trade negotiations, energy, research...

It would be unfair to use the Commission and its President as convenient scapegoats for our difficulties...That said, the [European] Commission should no longer have legislative competences because there’s a European Parliament, and it is only for it to legislate. 
On the eurozone vs EU-28 issue, Sarko writes:
Let's have the frankness to say that the myth of one Europe fell to pieces after the adoption of the euro by 18 of 28 [EU] countries. There's not one Europe anymore, but two. Furthermore, these two Europes today need to revise their strategies in different directions. More integration for the 18 [member states] that share their monetary sovereignty. 

[...]
At the same time, we need to stop believing the myth of equality of rights and responsibilities among all member states.
That means Sarkozy envisages a eurozone where bigger countries (especially France and Germany, ça va sans dire) have greater decision-making powers.

Finally, on immigration:
It is evident that we need to immediately suspend Schengen I [the EU's passport-free travel area] and replace it with a Schengen II, which member states could only join after they have previously adopted the same immigration policy.
On this blog, we've argued several times (see here and here) that the rise of Front National has pushed part of France's UMP, the main centre-right party, towards a more critical stance on the 'Europe' issue. It should be clear by now that David Cameron could find allies in France who could back his plan for an EU that does less, but does it better. 

However, the French presidential election is still three years away and, as we have said before, Cameron's biggest potential weakness is his 2017 deadline, which means some of his natural allies will not be in power to help him.

7 comments:

Rik said...

Europe in general has had it traditional political parties getting more and more disconnected from their traditional voters.
This could run completely out of control because the systems the countries have/had makes the rise of new parties very difficult to nearly impossible.
So now we have ended up in a situation where policies are seen as universal (by the present elite) while they are effectively not supported by a majority of the voters. On top of that they are often not accepted anywhere else as in Europe and a few similar countries.

As the current legal systems make the rise of newcomers very difficult it took some time before alternatives could arise. The so called populists.

When they arose the traditional parties acted like a bunch of headless chickens and still do.

Well at the end of the day a new 'Contract' is required now.
Which simply means populist become part of the governing political system and/or traditional parties moving back into the direction of a lot of their traditional voters.

Sarkozy was probably one of the first who grasped that process.
His problem was he acted like a bit of a prat and subsequently big parts of the electorate saw him as such.
Imho the ideal candidate for traditional parties on the right is something like a moderate Farage or a Cameron without all the metrosexual bagage, but starting right away with the policies required not first after they were forced upon him.

Anyway the French now probably regret the fact that they didnot give him a second round.
At the same time there is not really a leader on the right that could unite the right.
So it looks like Sarko is back in play and even has a real good opportunity to beat the left next election that made a complete mess of it. All their candidates will have the left mess sticked to them, or if not will be complete outsiders. Neither makes even a decent candidate.

Might as well be a good candidate as Commission president. One of the few who could press change through. Few easy going Brusselers will want to have a conflict with him.
Of course he is French (as in dodgy mainly focussed on the advantages for his own country).

Jesper said...

"Cameron's biggest potential weakness is his 2017 deadline, which means some of his natural allies will not be in power to help him. " might be open for interpretation. My personal interpretation is that his 2017 deadline would have been easier to meet if he had started to work on the issue on time.

He seems to have started late so unless he picks up speed he might not finish on time.

The big disconnect between the elite and the population is reflected on the time it takes for the elite to notice the concerns and opinions of the population. Some elites, like in this case Sarkozy, seem to finally have taken notice of the population. Took years for him and sadly it is quicker than for most of the 'elite'.

The anonymity of some decision-makers should make it possible for them to do the 'undercover boss' ploy and learn something. Sadly I don't think they have the courage to do so.

Anonymous said...

Sarko and the French were the biggest drivers of the centralisation of sovereign powers to the EU.

How can anyone trust this man and what he says?

I clearly remember him telling everyone that he had solved the MananaZone crisis! I also remember the FTT.

If he were a CEO of a company he would have been disbarred by now.

SC

christhai said...

Missing the point - as usual.

Just WHY does the EU Commission or its play-play Parliament need ANY powers.

It is and should be a Trading Club.

Fine let there be "Rules" for members but absolutely NOTHING which touches upon decisions made by National Governments.

It is not and never should be the self-acquired "Right" of a Trading Club's "Committee" to even discuss, Energy, Defence, Law, Justice, Economics.

What is needed is NO Europe. Definitely NO Commission.

No Single Currency.

It hasn't done any good. The EU continues to do more and more harm.

Scrap it.

Jesper said...

If it is wished that the leader of another country is to be an ally it is possible to:
-deal with that leader and his/her concerns
-support the replacement of that leader and hope that the new leader is more amicable
-wait and hope for the best

The first is about dealing with reality as it is and taking action based on how it is.
The second is the default strategy of imperialists. Sometimes it is the best strategy but there are some obvious dangers...
The third is the default strategy of the wait and see brigade. No leadership ability needed, no courage needed and many politicians love it as they lack both.

Can we get to see some leadership or should we just wait and hope for the best?

ANTONY STAFFS said...

It is truly amazing how politicians (such as ex-President Sarkozy) who have done the most to avoid any discussion on the intrusiveness of the EU into the people’s lifestyle are suddenly saying change in the rules is now urgent. Regrettably this new attitude has not reached England yet. In their explanations overnight for the UKIP support in the UK election the LIB/LAB/CON political class elite continue to refuse to accept that power belongs with the people. This essentially London-based and Oxbridge-influenced hegemony is still convinced that they possess a unique vision and exclusive authority on the future for England. This caste regards a substantial section of the English electorate that disagree with them as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” (Prime Minister Cameron), or “bigotist” (Prime Minister Brown).

But the Constitutional freedoms and liberties that did make England unique were hard-won by the sweat and blood of the indigenous English family. This once great democracy is now governed by an unelected foreign oligarchy.

“That gift from Kohima, the debt to the Few,
Has led to Our England being just plain EU.”

The people are objecting to the unilateral way that LIB/LAB/CON (as part of the EU vision) is changing the character of England by sleight-of-hand. We are told that the rate of immigration equals the rate of emigration (so that’s alright then?). What the ruling caste fail to mention is emigration is composed of a quarter of a million, each year, of the economically-active indigenous English, disenchanted by the cultural changes in their homeland. It is forecast that by 2050 the indigenous English will be a minority in these islands. But until recently to say this was described as racist.

The English do not object to people of other lands (that wellspring of rejuvenation) coming to live in England. The objection is that these immigrants insist on retaining their native culture and have no intention of integrating into the English way-of-life, and accepting its’ rule of law.

Until the arrival of UKIP there was no voice to express this national dissatisfaction. There was a racist-charge restraint on official discussion, in media and parliament, of these matters. We do not know, at this time, if UKIP will become a party of the House of Commons. But without any MPs they are certainly dictating the debate.

Anonymous said...

Sarkozy got his power initially by telling lies.

Now, he's trying to get his power back by telling lies.

The man is a racist weasel and a walking disaster.