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Sunday, December 29, 2013

CSU calls for devolution of EU powers and new subsidiarity safeguards

Der Spiegel this morning reports that the CSU has started an "anti-Brussels election campaign" citing an internal CSU strategy paper which will form the basis of the party's campaign for the 2014 European elections entitled "Europas Zukunft: Freiheit, Sicherheit, Regionalität und Bürgernähe" (which translates as Europe's future: Freedom, Security, Localism and closeness to the citizens). The paper is certainly highly critical of many aspects of the EU but it also sets out concrete reform proposals which include:

The return of certain competencies to member states: The possibility of this was already hinted at by Angela Merkel during the recent election campaign but the CSU are going one step further by providing some additional details by specifying regional policy (as recommended by Open Europe and Open Europe Berlin) and "parts of the over-regulated single market". It is not clear what exactly would come under the latter category but it is possible that it could include areas like social and employment law which are not strictly part of the single market but which have come to be seen as ancillary to it.

A new EU "subsidiarity" or "competences" Court: Der Spiegel quotes the paper as saying that "We need a form of withdrawal therapy for Commissioners intoxicated by regulation". The antidote it would seem will be a new EU subsidiarity or competences Court - composed of national constitutional judges/legal experts - which would mediate in cases where the Commission has allegedly overstepped its limits. This option has been voiced in Germany before but it looks like the CSU will give it a serious push. If combined with new powers for national parliaments, such as binding 'red card', this could be an effective way of keeping the Commission's desire to accrue new powers in check.

The paper also strongly reiterates the party's support for referenda to be held on EU issues in Germany and for shrinking the EU Commission.

Given that Cameron has not enjoyed the best headlines in Europe recently this late Christmas present will be very welcome at Number 10.


Anonymous said...

Is it not time that someone in a position of responsibility mentioned the fact that the UK is - an ISLAND. As a result we should be treated to a different EU policy regardless of race or religion. This style of thinking is called 'common sense'. Something that the EU is magnificently missing.

Rik said...

One of the main issues in getting the EU back to an acceptable organisation for a lot of Europeans is its Courts.
As long as it will remain reading laws with 'further integration glasses' that will remain an issue.

Hard to bring something back in an organisation where the opposite has got into its genes, like here.
Always will be a substantial risk that the Courts will 'return to normal', that is their normal, which is pro-integration.

Therefor a second line of court next to the present ones looks like a pretty good idea.
Abolishing the present courts hardly seems acceptable for most other EU countries and with so much legislation, even if it were only freetrade issues, you need one top court decising on issues.

One could think about the set up of a sort of constitutional court next to a supreme court (which would be the current ECJ.
Several countries have such a set up.
Prefereble with as first mandate subsidiarity. But also other things could be included like say the complete treaty itself.

Rik said...

On Cameron support.
This is unlikely an issue that is high on the CSUs agenda. One has to bear that in mind.

Therefor things should be kept into the media eye and not only for Germany. Cameron&Co imho should do more to bring funny EU stuff to the attention of the international media.
If so,very likely locals will bring it further up. LePen in France or Wilders in Holland always like their EU-scandal.
In Germany every EU or Euro issue gives AfD an opportunity to get in the spotlight. Which simply increases the change they get a good election result in next EP elections.
When they do it will put the whole German political system under pressure. Keep in mind that the present cabinet hardly looks stable. Which means German parties need to have a plan B when it would fall apart.
Anyway the EP elections could give a clear sign.

Say AfD would get 5%.
First of all it would be clear on the map as a party and alternative for the traditional ones. Which makes it falling apart much more unlikely. Seen the trend in France, UK and Holland it could as well have serious growth potential.
Assume the rest remains equal.
The right would have a majority then in parliament. No chance of red-red-green.
Merkel could go over her right.

But also CSU might lose their absolute majority in Bayern. It now structurally is in the balance, trend most likely declining. Another rightwing party will take mainly voters away from them. Especially as the CSU is in for a big hit when Merky goes (or she is found out as a leader unable to make the big strategic decisions (buying time doesnot work for ever)).

Johnlandseer said...

Laudable though the aspiration is, I think it highly likely that this idea will be pretty much killed at birth - it runs counter to everything the EU stands for which is greater integration combined with less democratic accountability.

The current patrons of the EU have spent their entire lives creating what is proving to be a monster - why would such an idea such as curbing their power be in the EU's interests.

Apologies for such negativity - just trying to be a bit of a Euro realist at this early start to the New Year.

happy new year all.

Anonymous said...

It seems that merkel is learning from cameron, make vague promises about reforming the eussr, and you will not lose as many voters from your party.

Denis Cooper said...

"The antidote it would seem will be a new EU subsidiarity or competences Court"

No thanks, I'm no more interested in having such decisions taken by a new transnational court than in having our Parliament involved in a new form of transnational majority voting under the "red card" nonsense; what we need is for our national Parliament to be able to exercise its own national veto over any EU decision.

That is, after all, what we were promised at the time of the 1975 referendum, and nothing less than that would do.

Anonymous said...

Memo to Rik - the European Court of Justice is only interpreting EU obligations in the light of Treaty goals, and the overriding goal is 'ever closer union'.

Or as the EU's own website put it - “The main goal of the EU is the progressive integration of Member States' economic and political systems...”

Those who fail to read the Treaties fail to understand that the EU is a one-way ratchet towards this.

Talk of 'new courts' is just rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic.

The CSU might enjoy a bit of posturing (like Cameron) but their senior coalition partner, Merkel's CDU, is committed to a federal Europe. Geli reaffirmed this commitment with Hollande last year, and there is no way that powers will come back to member state level until Britain leaves the EU.