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Eurozone’s MEPs: Wake up!

, by Franco Spoltore

In the last issue of The European Letter (July 2012, n. 59, http://www.euraction.org/europeanletteren.htm), it was stressed that “it is no longer enough merely to expose the obvious limitations in the intergovernmental method of governance currently used in the EU and in the eurozone. It is necessary to address and overcome, on the one hand, the resistance that still exists in the euro area to the idea of transferring sovereignty from the states to Europe, and on the other, the institutional paradox that continues to prevent resolution of the issue of the democratic legitimacy of European decision-making (and thus, a definitive reconnecting of the citizens with the European setting on which their future wellbeing depends).

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We refer to the composition and mode of operation of the European Parliament and European Commission, and the fact that these institutions, which would be required to represent the interests of the citizens of a future federal eurozone, today include countries that have absolutely no intention of joining the single currency or of agreeing to any transfer of sovereignty.

Yesterday, European Central Bank board member Joerg Asmussen explained, “the ESM is a fiscal authority by definition, because it deals with taxpayers’ money,” adding that it would have to be put under the scrutiny of the European Parliament - or a subdivision of it pooling MEPs from eurozone countries only”.(http://euobserver.com/19/116999). It is a good start. Similar considerations were put forward by the former German Chancellor Gerard Schroder, a few weeks ago.

No news or political initiatives are coming in this direction from the MEPs, particualrly from the ones elected in the eurozone countries, How do they think the democratic legitimacy can be solved at the European level when fiscal, budgetary and economic issues are at stake for 17 countires on 27? They should remember that in 1994 the European Parliament adopted the so called Herman Report (Resolution on the Constitution of the European Union, 10 February 1994, http://www.cvce.eu/viewer/-/content/6b3f12d2-3309-4e04-8084-41d227432996/en), in which it was foreseen:

Article 46: Final provisions

Member States which so desire may adopt among themselves provisions enabling them to advance further and more quickly towards European integration, provided that this process remains open at all times to any Member State wishing to join it and that the provisions adopted remain compatible with the objectives of the Union and the principles of its Constitution.

In particular, with regard to matters coming under Titles V and VI of the Treaty on European Union, they may adopt other provisions which are binding only on themselves.

Members of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission from the other Member States shall abstain during discussions and votes on decisions adopted under these provisions (italics mine).

Article 47: Entry into force

The Constitution shall be considered adopted and shall come into force when it has been ratified by a majority of Member States representing four-fifths of the total population (art. 82 of the Spinelli Draft Treaty establishing the European Union foresaw in 1984 a two-thirds of the total population, e. n.). Member States which have not been able to deposit the instruments of ratification within the time limit established shall be obliged to choose between leaving the Union and remaining within the Union on the new basis”.

Eurozone’s MEPs, wake up!

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  • On 27 July 2012 at 13:24, by Iwantout Replying to: Eurozone’s MEPs: Wake up!

    For once we can agree.

    “The European Parliament and European Commission……….which would be required to represent the interests of the citizens of a future federal eurozone, today include countries that have absolutely no intention of joining the single currency or of agreeing to any transfer of sovereignty.” Absolutely, I cannot imagine a UK government of any political hue even putting membership of the Euro to the electorate. Indeed it is almost impossible now to find any senior politician that supports even theoretical UK membership of the currency. Given that, I can certainly appreciate how those states that want to move ahead and change structures (with or without their own electoral mandate) would find UK involvement with the Parliament etc. unreasonable. I would in their place.

    Following from that and the Herman Report :-

    “Member States which have not been able to deposit the instruments of ratification within the time limit established shall be obliged to choose between leaving the Union and remaining within the Union on the new basis”. I doubt anyone seriously believes that the UK would be able to ratify anything that smelt of further integration, especially given the legal requirement for a referendum now in place. Happily that then means the UK would realistically then only have the choice of leaving; an outcome which would doubtless please you as much as it would a majority in the UK.

    We can all then return to the original position of simply trading between the UK, the new US of E and any other countries that choose not to sign up for integration. Given the size of the deficit we run with the EU I cannot imagine for one minute that your business people would support any steps to erect trade barriers between us. Of course the £9Bn we give you each year would stop which would help to some extent to offset the trade imbalance.

    In short everyone wins. My sincerest good wishes to you in pushing this forward.

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