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Friday, December 14, 2012

In Europe, a commitment is for life (unless you're France)

Give the French credit, they have an amazing ability to convince others that whatever the French position is, is also the 'pro-European' position.

At times, this can become laughable. Like today for example, when a UK journalist asked French President François Hollande to comment on David Cameron's hints at the 'repatriation' of EU powers. 

Hollande's answer,
To repatriate? Listen, generally when a country commits it is for life. Therefore, I believe that treaties are meant to be complied with. For the moment, I haven’t heard Mr Cameron asking to get out of certain [EU] competences during a European Council [meeting]. This discussion could take place but Europe is not a Europe in which you can take back competences. 
Right. Contrast and compare to François Hollande, March 2012 (during the presidential campaign),
I will renegotiate the fiscal discipline treaty not just for France, but for Europe as a whole. 
The [fiscal] treaty has been signed, but not ratified. Therefore, there’s some room for negotiation…My determination will be total.
Fair enough, "signed but not ratified" but still, hardly a display of cohérence by the French President. And with regard to France's record on the "when a country commits it is for life" stuff, we can't help but to think of this...

Just saying...


Anonymous said...

If it is for life, then I demand a referendum given that there hasn't been one in my lifetime....

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone believe a word the French or Holland ever says? The French socialists have led Europe down a one way street to nowhere.

Hollande - when are you going to honour your deal for a complete and thorough review of CAP? A deal is for life remember? The UK has started to pay the extra GBP2Bn p.a. as part of the deal too. Can one of our useless politcians please stpp us paying this GBP2Bn p.a. as the EU has mot honoured the deal?

We need a Referendum as the politicians have broken Europe.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Américain à Paris said...

Quit making Europe your scape goat. Britain's problems are of its own making.

Anonymous said...

yes americain most are due to our incompetent politicians but eu gives them a get-out clause. we should stop our contributions until we get our way--personally i want out completely and then we can hold our politicians to account

Anonymous said...

This is just easy french bashing... I am sorry but i don't find all this very convincing.
(for your information, France left NATO in...1966)

Anonymous said...

Ah Cher Americain, why are you in Paris, when your American politicians are leading the world in one huge "PONZI à l'Americaine"?, go back 'ome Yankee and sort out your crumbling economic morals.

Rollo said...

Yes, Britain's problems are largely of our own making, thanks to the lunacy of Gordon Brown, who in ten years of boom, managed to increase our national debt from 36% of GDP to 56%. And to our own mistake in voting in a political class who knows of nothing but climbing the greasy pole. But we are certainly not helping ourselves out by staying shackled on to the sinking ship of Europe. Hollande's big idea: retire earlier, nationalise industries, borrow more, let the Germans pay; it will only hasten France's trip to the periphery and the S-Euro.

Open Europe blog team said...

Thanks for your comments

@Anonymous (11:19am) Not to meant to be French-bashing at all, which we tend to stay clear of. We merely wish to illustrate the point that all EU countries have their national interests that they promote, and that France has in the past not hesitated to renegotiate "commitments", when it has suited a particular French government's agenda. Therefore, Hollande's "a commitment is for life" comment needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Denis Cooper said...

Maybe Hollande has forgotten that his predecessor Sarkozy agreed that future EU treaty changes could run against the general trend of "ever closer union".

The last paragraph of Declaration 18 that the representatives of the EU member state governments attached to the Final Act of their amending Lisbon Treaty:


"Equally, the representatives of the governments of the Member States, meeting in an Intergovernmental Conference, in accordance with the ordinary revision procedure provided for in Article 48(2) to (5) of the Treaty on European Union, may decide to amend the Treaties upon which the Union is founded, including either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the said Treaties."

Like all such Declarations that Declaration 18 is not itself legally binding, but the relevant treaty articles are legally binding, and Sarkozy had agreed to the insertion of the new sentence:

"These proposals may, inter alia, serve either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties."

into Article 48 TEU on revision of the EU treaties.

Rik said...

It looks to ge getting on the agenda. And from other remarks by Hollande it appears that he understands (referring to a necessary treaty change) that he will not get away with it that easy.
Merkel V
Hollande V
Norths V
South and Brussels burocrats getting less and less important as they donot have money.

christina speight said...

If Hollande were actually right life would be very different.

Firstly The Vienna Convention on Treaties [date 18??] provides the format and procedures for countries no longer being bound by a treaty Secondly the EU Treaty has Articles 48 and 50 to allow for withdrawal or changes.

He's a lightweight politician who when riled tries bullying as his prime tactic.
ANOTHER PLEA on 'Anonymity ' here. Please choose a pen-name as we have on idea if "anonymous" no 1 is the same as the second and third posters using that hiding place!
Make them much more worth reading!

C.B.Ross said...

@ christina speight

Well said, re anonymity. However, I am with all of the "Anonymous"s who are for getting out of this discredited, devious, débacle known as the E "Union"!

Rik said...

Probably legally the way is 48-50. As EU law is considered senior over 'normal' treaty law.

Anyway it looks like a much safer way to do it. There are enough legal Frankensteins with the EU at the moment and now they will add likley again another one with the Bankingunion.

Denis Cooper said...

As far as withdrawal from the EU under Article 50 TEU is concerned Rik must be correct, because the insertion of that provision into the EU treaties has made the process of withdrawal a matter of specifically EU law rather than general international law, plus of course it is still a matter of national law insofar as all the countries involved would have to ratify the withdrawal agreement.

This is one way in which Article 50 is double-edged: because withdrawal has been made a matter of EU law and the ECJ has not been excluded from having jurisdiction, as it could have been, it would be possible for a malign force, let us say clandestine operatives of one of the other EU member state governments, let us further say for example the German government, to arrange for a complaint to the ECJ in order to impede the process of withdrawal of the UK.

It wouldn't be necessary for there to be any real substance to the complaint, as the primary purpose would only be to delay conclusion of the withdrawal process until there was a change of government and the new government rescinded the UK's notice of its intention to leave the EU.

If this seems far-fetched, cast your mind back to the autumn of 2009 and recall the strenuous and at times vile efforts the German government made to force President Klaus of the Czech Republic to sign off the Lisbon Treaty to make sure that it would come into force BEFORE the British general election, so providing Cameron with his specious excuse for not putting it to a referendum.