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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Don't say MPs don't do detail on Europe


Too often the UK's political discussion of the European Union is conducted by politicians, on all sides of the debate, whose strong opinions are complemented by an absence of any real understanding of or willingness to engage with the detail of individual EU policy areas. A sterile and noisy debate that ends up characterising people as 'Pro' or 'Anti'. Well today we saw something different - a group of MPs actually engaging with the nitty gritty of the EU's individual policy areas and it makes for interesting reading.

Earlier today the EU Fresh Start Group of around 100 Conservative MPs launched their manifesto - and you can't accuse them of not dealing with the substance. The manifesto sets out a blueprint for a new relationship for Britain within the EU which the group hopes will be taken on as Government or Conservative Party policy. So what does it contain?

Much of what they wish to do can be done within the EU treaties. For instance they wish to see and list significant and specific reforms to areas such as the CAP, CFP, EU budget, regional policy as well as an end to the domestic 'gold-plating' of EU regulation. All this could be done without changing the EU's rulebook. In addition, they have identified five areas where EU treaty change would be required. These are:
  • An emergency brake on financial services.
  • Devolution of social and employment law to the national level.
  • A UK opt-out from policing and criminal justice measures not covered by block opt-out.
  • A single market safeguard.
  • The abolition of the second European Parliament seat.
There will be the usual refrain that 'none of this is achievable' and 'they will say no'. The truth is that we don't know how much of this will be picked up by the government or eventually accepted. But it's absolutely extraordinary that the same people who used to moan about MPs not engaging with policy on Europe, now complain about Fresh Start conducting the exercise.  

Let the best argument win.

What happens now? Well the publication and work is perfectly timed to feed into David Cameron's EU speech to end all EU speeches now due for 18 January in the Netherlands. No 10 today called the Fresh Start contribution "interesting." We will wait and see.

David Cameron with the "Fresh Start" MP Andrea Leadsom


Rik said...

Also from the viewpoint of the EU itself the eroding platform in many countries combined with the fact that properly adjusting it will take several years seen history, constitutes a real risk.
And means that adjustment has to be done before things run out of control. Because if they do adjustment in the legislation unlikely can take place in a timely fashion.

If present trends continue, which is, say the least, not unlikely with an Euro-crisis in which we effectively have only seen kicking the can at European level, there is a real risk of much larger problems than Mr Cameron going for a structured adjustment of the position of mainly the UK in the treaty.

It looks not only time for a rescue operation in the EZ, but also one in Europe/EU itself. The way this is going now, will possibly/likely lead to the voters of one or more EZ countries simply demanding that the theater is stopped one way or another. That would, as said, cause a lot more problems than Mr Cameron does now. Basically they should be happy with the way it is going with the UK issue. It simply looks totally unrealistic that this issue could have blown over in the way the EU would like to have seen it. It would have to be dealt with one way or another, better before it would have totally run out of control and with somebody like Mr Cameron (and eg not a LePen or Wilders clone).

One way or another the platform for the EU in the memberstates should be restored. And not only in the UK.
Imho either by getting back first to basically something Mr Cameron is proposing or make it real democratic and democratically credible. Or more likely a combination (on basis of what individual countries want).
The joke that is now the EP is simply nowhere near that, just look at a few of the last actions there, it is simply as said earlier beyond pathetic and nothing more and certainly no proper representative of the European people. Solve it or the issue is likely further on up the road solving itself.

Anonymous said...

NOT complImented, complEmented as derived from complEte

Anonymous said...

"nitty gritty" is no longer PC, being derived from the detritus in the holds of slave ships.