David Cameron promised the UK Electorate a referendum lock should the EU seek the transfer of any more powers to the EU. Is he a man of his word?
France and Germany have signed an accord that means they will be seeking changes to the the Treaty of Rome as amended by subsequent treaties including the Treaty of Lisbon. The translated Accord is as follows:
France and the Germany agree on the need to strengthen European economic governance. To this end, they agree on the following points:
(1) France and the Germany underline that procedures to ensure the budgetary surveillance and coordination of economic policies should be strengthened and accelerated. This involves the following elements:
A wider range of sanctions should be progressively applicable in the preventive arm of the Pact in the fix pane [sic]. These sanctions should be automatic, while respecting the role of the various institutions and the institutional balance.
In the implementation of the preventive arm of the Pact, the Council must decide, through qualified majority, to impose sanctions in the form of deposits bearing interest when the path of fiscal consolidation of a Member State deviates in particularly significant way to the adjustment path planned on the basis of the Covenant in a progressive manner.
Regarding the patch of the Covenant, pane[sic] when the Council decides to open an excessive deficit procedure, there should be automatic sanctions that the Council, acting by a qualified majority, decide that a Member State did not take the necessary corrective measures within a period of 6 months.
To complete the legislative framework for monitoring of macroeconomic imbalances, the case of a Member State affected persistent imbalance and placed under the supervision of the Council shall be discussed at the European Council.
(2) The France and the Germany consider it necessary to revise the Treaty and that it should be put before the President of the European Council to present, in close contact with the members of the European Council, concrete options for the establishment of a robust mechanism for resolution of crises before the meeting of March 2011.
The revision of the treaties will be limited to the following points:
-The establishment of a permanent mechanism robust to ensure ordered treatment of crises in the future, including the necessary arrangements for adequate participation of the private sector and allowing Member States to take appropriate coordinated measures to preserve financial stability in the euro area.
-In the case of a violation serious principles based on the Economic Union and currency, and following proper procedures, the suspension of the right to vote of the State concerned.
The necessary amendments should be adopted and ratified by the Member States in agreement with their respective constitutional rules in a timely manner before 2013.
This accord intrinsically transfers more powers to the EU and gives the EU power to punish Member States should they decide to breach EU Rules regarding fiscal control. When I last looked fiscal control was a sovereign matter for the UK Westminster Government to manage and UK Parliament to endorse.
It looks to me like David Cameron either accedes to the Franco-German initiatives and loses ‘face’ or he has to put the matter to the British Electorate to agree to such a change … it is a can of worms for the Conservatives who are, rightfully, sceptical of the EU having more and more powers transferred to them which is exactly what this accord seeks to do.
Next step should be for David Cameron to meet with the other Heads of Government in March 2010 and say that the British will not accede to the proposed changes to EU Treaties without the mandate of the British people … the British have been promised a referendum and the British keep their promises!