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Monday, October 17, 2011

Hague can't ignore prospect of treaty change for much longer

Speaking on Andrew Marr's show yesterday, William Hague repeated his view that there is no "immediate prospect" of repatriating powers from Brussels. "The repatriation of powers, which is something I support by the way, is not an immediate prospect because no countries are proposing widespread treaty change," he said.

"That may change, but at the moment, that is not what they are proposing..."

But as we've said before, this is all moving much faster than the UK Government is letting on or perhaps would like. Contrast Hague with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle's rather more urgent tone in an interview with the FT last week. He said that Berlin wants to persuade other members of the EU to draft changes to the bloc’s founding treaties at a new 27-nation convention (or IGC) that would take place in 2012.

The Convention should be given a clear mandate and a one-year time limit to deliver results by mid-2013, when the eurozone’s permanent €500bn rescue fund – the European Stability Mechanism – is supposed to come into effect, he said. "We need treaty changes to overcome the shortcomings of (European) construction."

He added that the Convention should consider whether the European Court of Justice would be used to enforce budgetary discipline, and if a “stability commissioner” for the euro should be appointed, suggesting “Probably both are necessary.”

These are clearly "widespread treaty changes" that Hague seems to suggest are far off on the horizon but 2012 is less than two months away. Yes, the actual process of negotiating Treaty changes takes years. But, which the UK govenrment should know from experience, getting in early and getting with a clear agenda, is absolutely vital if a country wants to influence the outcome.

It's time the Government picked up the pace.


Rollo said...

Hague is right, that there is no forthcoming repatriation of powers from the EU; but he is trying to deceive us by trying to make believe that there will be in the future. The Acquis Communautaire means that we would need unanimous support from the Council of Ministers to repatriate powers and this is a false hope.
Hague is lying when he says a referendum on getting out of the EU is the wrong question: it is the most important, and right question. There is a nice cartoon with Haig saying 'your country needs you- like a hole in the head'. Now we have Hague sayin 'EU needs your country; and I'm going to give it to them.'

Peripatetic Scribe said...

I think "vague Hague" is living up to his name. In such a position as he occupies in government, surely he should be at the 'cutting-edge' of deep and intensive debate on this topic, ready to roll out a set of principled plans at the earliest opportunity..and his approach seems to be the level of political acumen in the country...(but then I'm not a politician - thanks God!)

Anonymous said...

How can Hague have the brass neck to say "no countries are proposing widespread treaty change", when only on Thursday he put a statement before Parliament about a major EU treaty change agreed on March 25th?


And he isn't denying us a referendum on that EU treaty change under the "significance" exemption of the "referendum lock" law, which he could have done if it was a trivial or technical amendment which did not merit a referendum.

sceptic3 said...

The politicians of all parties are opposed to repatriation any of powers let alone exit from the EU.

The only way we will get our country back is to take to the streets and bodily remove these treacherous dogs from Parliament.

Sheona said...

But the treaty change mentioned by Westerwelle should only apply to the eurozone countries. Let's not mention wihch one was the first to break the 3% government deficit rule. If the eurozone wants to tie itself up in more useless regulation, let it. There is no reason for those EU member states outside the single currency to get involved.

ppnn said...

sceptic3: Do you yourself actually think you made a serious comment that enriched the discussion, or do you also consider it a childish outburst?

I am fairly sceptic towards the EU (being Swedish, with actual work experience from the Brussels corridors), but vile comments are just stupid. To use the terms "treacherous dogs" and talk about violence is not democracy either. Democracy does not mean that you get your wishes through every time.

Peripatetic Scribe said...

Re ppnn comment. Whilst I agree with your sentiment I think even you must agree that within a democracy the author of such comments has a right to voice his views; if we are going to limit what is said, then we are striking at the very roots in which democracy stands.

Rollo said...

Further to ppnn: our politicians are voted in to represent us. They lie to us (Cameron: my cast iron pledge to have a referendum). They get into power and do what is best for their careers and do not give a toss what the people think. Look at Germany: 82% of the people do not want to add to the bail-out; 82% of their parliament vote for the bail-out. Unless the political class is stopped, it will end in civil war. I thnk the political classes in most European countries are guilty of treason.

Peripatetic Scribe said...

Rollo - in response to your last post: whilst a good rant and rave may be beneficial to the blood pressure, it does little to move the debate forwards. On re-reading your post, I feel you are conflating two different concepts; one is (financial) bail-outs and the other is political. One cannot fight on both fronts and the decision has to be made which to fight first. My view is that for the greatest good to the greatest number the financial aspects MUST be fought first. Only with the background of a solidly under-pinned financial sector can one fight on the other front. Additionally, I would propose that in order for change to be effective, it is an imperative to have in place a structure that is capable of taking over.

ppnn said...

Re Perip. etc: True, and I have no intention on blocking somebody's right of speech. Not even here, even though keeping one's own blog comments clean does not mean censorship in general (because the blocked person is in full freedom to start his own blog). But I think it is important that we do not call everybody that disagree with us traitors and dogs.

Re Rollo: I have worked in government. Politicians actually do care, or at least take into account the public will. Problem is that there is a lot going on where Joe Public could not give a toss, thus politicians are elected to follow their judgment and/or belief. It is not treason if they do wrong, as you have the opportunity to vote them out if they go against your views in something that came up after elections. Like this issue. The German parliamentarians now make a calculation: They think they stand a chance to get re-elected anyway. People never vote wrong, so we'll see if the parliamentarians will be right in their guesses.

weary soul said...

I don't believe that William Hague is lying when he says

"The repatriation of powers, which is something I support by the way

but I believe he is being blocked from doing more